Irregular periods? PMS? Look into your diet to see if you have some type of eating disorder, because it could be the reason behind your menstrual disharmoines.
If your periods are irregular and you wonder why, you may want to examine your relationship with foods because there’s an intimate connection between various eating disorders and reproductive health.
Eating Disorders Are Fairly Common Among Women
We all worry about our weight from time to time. But some people take such concerns to extremes.
By focusing too much on their weight and body shape, they can develop dangerous eating behaviors, ranging from binge eating, self-induced vomiting (Bulimia Nervosa), to self-starvation (Anorexia Nervosa).
The National Eating Disorders Association estimates that 10 million American women suffer from some type of eating disorder.
So this could be someone you know – a friend, lover, sister, daughter, or even yourself.
I myself developed a type of eating disorder called Bulimia Nervosa when I was in college. Even though I didn’t know it at the time, it profoundly affected my menstrual cycles (in negative ways).
An Eating Disorder May Be What Causes Irregular Periods
Eating disorders can cause serious health issues such as rotten teeth, depression, rickets, osteoporosis, and chronic vitamin deficiency.
According to recent studies, they can also increase the chances of a woman having irregular periods.
Anorexia and Amenorrhea
While any eating disorder can result in the disruption of the menstrual cycle, Anorexia, in particular, has been linked to low levels of reproductive hormones. This is fairly easy to understand.
When you are starved, your body reacts to the lack of nutrition by trying to conserve energy as much as possible.
It’ll only maintain the most important functions of the body to keep you alive, while shutting off less critical ones such as manufacturing reproductive hormones to make a baby.
If the reproductive hormones become lower than what’s required to regulate a monthly cycle, the period will stop all together. When the cession of menstrual cycles lasts for three consecutive months, it’s called amenorrhea (which simply means no period).
Amenorrhea and Bulimia Nervosa
Amenorrhea can happen to people with other eating disorders as well. In my own case, I was so thin that my periods stopped for 6 months. Even though my cycle returned after I went back to eating normally, I suffered from severe menstrual cramps and PMS in my later years.
During puberty, when a girl’s reproductive system is still developing, the negative effects of eating disorders can be especially significant and long-lasting – and unfortunately, this is the time when eating disorders are most common.
What to Do When You Have an Eating Disorder
Eating disorders are serious conditions that can even be life threatening. If you suspect you’re suffering from an eating disorder, you need to talk to a doctor and seek professional help.
You may also want to educate yourself and learn more about the causes, effects, and how you can create a healthier relationship with your body and foods.
P.S. There is an interesting book titled “Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too.” It’s worth checking it out.
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