It can cause permanent damage, depending on the person, and length of the absence of periods. You can't have periods unless you reach a minimum level of body fat. Each woman needs a certain amount of body fat (not BEING fat, but having enough to support hormone functioning) to ovulate and menstruate.
The longer you go without periods, the greater your odds of developing osteoporosis. I'm sure it depends on the individual how long without periods is serious enough to develop a problem and how long you were starving your body before losing your periods. I lost my periods for just over a year, and I'm not sure how much damage did or did not result as I never did have a bone scan afterwards. Hopefully, it was not too much damage. I haven't had bone problems, but that doesn't mean they're not there. For a long time, I was without health insurance and so couldn't get checked and now I'm just a bit scared to although I'll look into it after my baby is born.
Your periods will return once you begin eating well and gain some weight. For me, they returned after about 3 months at the weight I was when I lost them. This was also pretty close to the weight I was when I began menstruating (for some women, periods correspond more with a specific weight and for others, it's more healthy eating habits and no longer starving your body). Of course, at this point, I was in recovery and gaining weight and no longer depriving my body of nutrients so it could be either the eating habits or the weight. But for me, it was interesting that I started menstruating at this specific weight, lost my periods once I went below the same weight, and got them back after getting back to that weight again.
what about primary ammenorhea?!?!? i get so scared sometimes! im 16 and ive never gotten a period. i developed anorexia at 13 and have always been extremely active. I'm not severely underweight anymore, I dont even think im underweight...im maybe like 2 pounds under an ideal weight...but im so scared. will i ever get my period? sometimes i get so scared becuase i worry that i may never get it. Now and then i may eat under my calorie needs but not nearly as much or as often as i used to. can that contribute? what can i do?!? please help me
Some girls, especially those who have been underweight, don't get their first periods until 17-19 years old.....still have to have the minimum amount of body fat (to support a pregnancy- even if that's not what you're looking for!) for the body to allow menstruation.....it's a survival thing.
I'm curious how a "very underweight socialite" became pregnant recently. I didn't think it was possible. Well, hopefully this will help her fight her ED.
I read that anorexics often break bones due to calcium depletion, etc. There are so many physical ways EDs can hurt you. Maybe the worst is how you don't think clearly without enough food in your system.
When I quit starving, I was amazed at how I had been thinking before getting some nutrition in my body. It was like night and day. The obsession stopped just by getting nutrition in. Bulimia is starving as well- just a different form.