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    Old 01-12-2008, 12:39 PM   #1
    Stigma
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    Menstruation, Pregnancy & Fertility

    I started binging and purging almost two years ago. Initially, I lost a lot of weight. At around the same time, I started taking birth control pills to protect myself against unwanted pregnancy. As soon as I stopped taking them, my periods ceased. I believe the reason for this was the weight loss. I had my last regular period in October, 2006, just when I stopped using the birth control. My next period, for some reason, came in February, 2007 (although my body fat was still well below normal). I have not menstruated since then and my bulimia has continued. Over the past few months, I stopped purging and have been having massive health food binges, but binges nevertheless. As a result, I know I have put on <weight> (all of which, I realize, were much needed). I also feel better overall and I'm sure my body fat is now around normal. In the past, my anorexic/bulimic approx. year-long episodes were always followed by my periods becoming resumed as soon as I would BEGIN to gain A FEW pounds. I am a little concerned that that does not seem to be happening this time.

    I have now been with my boyfriend for two years and we're engaged to be married soon. We both want children very much and would like to start working on this right away (especially since he's in his mid-thirties and I'm in my mid-late twenties); however, my amenorrhea represents a big challenge to this goal. I have heard that it is *possible* to get pregnant in the absence of periods (although, of course, for obvious reasons, it's not recommended to do so when their absence is caused by an ED).

    Have any of you experienced a similar problem? What has been the general experience with trying to conceive of those of you who have struggled with an eating disorder and sporadic menstrual cycles?

    Also, what would you recommend I do at this point? Should I go to my doctor and ask for hormone/BP pills to kick-start my periods or does using BP in general represent a greater risk to fertility down the road?

    Over the past few weeks, I've been feeling very strange - somewhat nauseous, dizzy, flushed in the face, a little bloated and constantly hungry. I took a home-pregnancy test today (12 days after I *could have* conceived, and it came back negative.

    What am I to do? I hope that I haven't done a number on my body over the years such that god would punish me in one of the worst possible ways - by making it very difficult/impossible to conceive...

    Please feel free to comment. Any input is much, much appreciated!

    Thank you and cheers,

    S.

    Last edited by mod-anon; 01-13-2008 at 12:22 AM. Reason: edited triggering words

     
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    Old 01-13-2008, 04:07 AM   #2
    Aurora
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    Re: Menstruation, Pregnancy & Fertility

    I can only offer advice based upon my own experiences, but I hope they help to provide you with some comfort that things can get better. I have not menstruated in over three years and I found out I am pregnant this December. My periods have been few and far between since 1994 when I first headed down the road of anorexia, and they have come and gone at different times and severity of my illness.

    Personally, I feel that it is too soon to expect your body to have recovered. Yes, you may consider your weight to be 'normal' now but an eating disorder can cause chaos in your body. I would recommend that you go and get your amenorrhea checked by your doctor. This is not just important because of wanting a baby, it is also important because amenorrhea often goes hand-in-hand with very low oestrogen levels which can in turn be a factor in early-onset osteoporosis.

    I would say that in all likelihood you can, and probably will, have a baby. But actively trying to conceive when you know you are still unwell is not really fair on you or your future baby. You need to seek recovery and wellness. Binging - health food or not, is a sign of things not being fully better yet. And your body will respond how it sees fit. Menstruation is not solely linked to your body fat percentage, it is linked to your health.

    I am sure that you and your partner will make great parents one day - but don't sacrifice your long-term health by rushing into it before your body is better recovered.

    I hope that some of that helps you. I am definitely convinced that you will be able to have a baby. I never thought I would, and now I am a regular on the pregnancy boards! And if you are fully recovered by the time you conceive then you are less likely to feel such panic that the ed habits might be harming your baby, than would someone who still is struggling with them.

    Take care of yourself and let us know how you get on.

    H
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    Last edited by Aurora; 01-13-2008 at 04:09 AM. Reason: left a word out...Doh!

     
    Old 01-13-2008, 06:23 PM   #3
    Stigma
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    Re: Menstruation, Pregnancy & Fertility

    Thanks so much for the reply. You are absolutely right about it not being a good idea to have a baby at this point, and I couldn't agree with you more as to the reasons behind that opinion. I suppose it is just the fear of not being able due to what I've been doing to my body that makes the desire even stronger and things now is better than never. When I think about it rationally, though, I realize that now is certainly not the time, for several reasons.

    Contratulations on your pregnancy! I hope you enjoy it and deliver a healthy and happy baby. The fact that you conceived while you were not even getting your periods for such a long time simply seems like a miracle.

    I'm curious as to what it was like - both emotionally and physically - when you found out you were pregnant. Also, how are you dealing with the pregnancy and the ED? Is your body recovered (I know it takes longer for the mind than the body to heal itself from all the abuse). I cannot even imagine how I would feel if I now found out that I'm pregnant. First of all, it is not something that I would expect in the absence of my periods. My fiance and I have not been using any protection since I got my ammenorhea, and yet nothing has happened so far, so I would certainly be surprised. I know that I would be ecstatic but also somewhat scared since I'm still dealing with the ED. I believe that would give up the purging type of abuse, but I'm not sure the binging would get any better.

    I wish you all the best. I'm sure you'll make a wonderful mom

    Good luck, and keep in touch.

    S.

     
    Old 01-14-2008, 11:10 PM   #4
    Stigma
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    Re: Menstruation, Pregnancy & Fertility

    I am actually now beginning to worry about the possibility of a pregnancy. I have not been feeling well - a little dizzy, somewhat nauseas, with headaches, higher blood pressure, feeling of being hot and sweating easily, sleepiness and an increased appetite. As much as I truly want to have children in the future - and sometimes even at the present time - in my rational mind, I know it's not what I need right now.

    I am getting married in a few months and have enough stress around that event as it is. I'm also in the midst of some career changes, all of which would make it pretty unfavourable to have a baby right now. But when I start to think about all the very, very weird changes my body has been experiencing, I begin to worry. I think I will wait another week or two and go see my family doctor for a pregnancy test. If we can rule that out, then I have to look further into the symptoms I've been having...

    If anyone has any input regarding pregnancy and an eating disorder, please feel free to share your experience. This topic is very much of interest to me. Also, can someone tell me how soon after conception can a pregnancy test be taken and yield accurate results???

    Thanks!

     
    Old 01-15-2008, 06:14 AM   #5
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    Re: Menstruation, Pregnancy & Fertility

    Your symptoms sound like you may be dealing with hyperthyroidism. Which could also be another explanation for the amenorrhea.

    A pg test can sometimes be positive as early as 10 days past ovulation but most of the time it won't show until after you've missed your period (2-4wks after ovulation). I recommend you get an HCG blood test done by your dr.

    I would <removed> have your thyroid levels tested by your dr.

    I have 6 kids and thyroid disease. Your symptoms may be pg related but it doesn't sound like it to me.

    I hope you get some answers soon!

    Love, Kelly

    Last edited by mod-anon; 01-15-2008 at 07:26 AM. Reason: do not instruct members to do outside searches

     
    Old 01-18-2008, 05:15 PM   #6
    Stigma
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    Re: Menstruation, Pregnancy & Fertility

    I actually suffer from hypothyroidism. I've been on medication for about ten years now and the last time I had bloodwork done, everything was OK... I've also been experiencing some strange tingling in my hands and feet, almost as though someone's sending electric shocks through them. Something very weird and scary is happening to my body. I'll be seeing my doctor next week.

    Thanks for the replies.

     
    Old 01-29-2008, 10:43 AM   #7
    Stigma
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    Re: Menstruation, Pregnancy & Fertility

    Actually, the intent of my original post was to ask the following:

    Once I have (hopefully) completely recovered from my eating disorder, *IF* my periods have not yet returned and I wish to to have a baby, what would my options be? What is the probability of conceiving while having amenorrhea? Does anyone have experience with that? I'm so worried as to how this will affect my fertility down the road...

    Please - any advice would be much appreciated.

    Thank you.

     
    Old 01-29-2008, 03:26 PM   #8
    ASDGRMama
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    Re: Menstruation, Pregnancy & Fertility

    I have a friend who has had anorexia induced amenorrhea throughout her marriage and has had 4 successful pgs. So it is possible but I don't think it's very common.

    Birth control doesn't pose a threat to future fertility and I think that would be a good route to go.

    When I was having irregular/anovulatory cycles my OB was going to give me a 10 day course of provera to encourage my body to have a period and hopefully ovulate within two weeks. It seems that's the typical protocol.

    I ended up going on the patch for 6 months instead and got pg in my first cycle after stopping it (holding my almost 9-month old now).

    I'm interested in hearing what your dr says. I have the symptoms you described but mine are thyroid related...I fluctuate between hyper and hypo. I have carpal, cubital, and tarsal tunnel syndromes because of the hypoT...it causes my hands and feet to tingle, go numb, ache, etc...

    Sorry to keep going back to that but I struggled for 2 1/2 yrs with miserable, incapacitating symptoms before they diagnosed my thyroid disease. Sometimes the symptoms begin prior to changes in the lab work. I really believe that thyroid disease is poorly understood.

    Hope you get some answers...let us know!

    Love, Kelly

     
    Old 01-29-2008, 08:16 PM   #9
    Stigma
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    Re: Menstruation, Pregnancy & Fertility

    Thank you so much, ASDGRMama. Your friend's (as well as your own) story is encouraging.

    It's interesting that you mention the problem with your hands and feet going numb and tingling because I have been experiencing that for a while now. I was diagnosed with thyroid disease back in 1998, yet I only developed this problem recently. If I stretch in a certain way, my feet will feel like there are electric shocks being sent right through them. It's all very frustrating.

    What I worry about most is my ability to get pregnant in the near future, when I'm ready for it. I have heard that it's possible to conceive in the absence of one's periods, but I'm not sure how that can be the case. Doesn't amenorrhea, by definition, imply the absence of not only periods but ovulation as well? Excuse my ignorance - I'm just a little confused and don't seem to be finding answers anywhere.

    I'm almost afraid to go to the doctor's and have tests done for what I may discover...

    Anyway, I appreciate all the replies and if there is anyone else reading this and has anything else to add, please do. It is always encouraging to see other people's responses, even if they are not what I want to hear...

     
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