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Thread: Question about anorexia and loss of period

  1. #1

    Question about anorexia and loss of period

    Hello. I am a new member. I'm a 21 year old female college student. I was anorexic as a teenager and completely recovered but over the summer I had a relapse. Now, back in college, I am trying to eat healthier. I have not had my period since the begining of June and I was wondering if, in addition to eating enough food, there is treatment/medication that will help. I have spoken with the campus doctor but I found him very difficult to talk to. I am going to return for another appointment, but I'd like to know ahead of time what the options are. So far, he's given me a multivitamin and set up an appointment with a nutritionist, but considering how weak I feel I'm wondering if there is something else I should be doing or if I should just wait for the increase in food intake to fix the health problems.

    Also, it is very difficult to digest food right now. Mostly, I eat jello and toast because most other food I've tried makes me sick. Can anyone recommend other easy to digest foods?

    Thank you for your help.

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  3. #2

    Question about anorexia and loss of period

    Welcome to the forum, cbz.

    Your menstrual cycle is of course hormonally based, and your body requires a minimum level of body fat in order to produce and store adequate amounts of strogen to support the cycle. That is why anorexic-bulimic individuals or extreme athletes often cease menstruating.

    You indicate that because of nausea you are having difficulty eating, which leads me to suspect that your body fat is low, which could lead to cessation of menstruation. I would suggest that your doctor is on the right track by referring you to a nutritionist. You might also see if you can be evaluated for an anxiety disorder and/or mood disorder -- those are not uncommon as correlates of eating disorders and all seem to be based on serotonin-norepinephrine-dopamine imbalances or insufficiencies. If so, you might find some benefit from a short period of time on some medication to address this.

  4. #3

    Re: Question about anorexia and loss of period

    Hi cbz,

    Seeing a nutritionist sounds like a very good idea. Eating mostly jello and toast is not likely to bring your period back! A nutritionist would be able to help you with this. In the meantime, I can offer some suggestions.

    Eat frequently. 5 or 6 small meals per day is ideal.
    Fruit is easy for your body to digest. I would suggest bananas, because they contain more nutrients that you may be lacking.
    Peanut butter or other nut butters are your friend. (Try almond butter, YUMMM!)-- they are calorie dense, but try not to let that scare you. It's a good thing! A spoonful provides you with needed calories and nutrients, without having to put a large amount of food into your system.
    Speaking of bananas and nut butter.... OATMEAL. Plain oatmeal with sliced bananas and peanut or almond butter, plus your sweetener of choice if desired = heaven! It's filling so it's ok of you can't eat a super large serving right away.
    At the very beginning of my recovery, I bought some digestive enzymes to take whenever I ate, and they really helped.
    Feeling very weak could be a sign of an iron deficiency (which is also commonly seen in eating disorders). However, taking iron supplements are probably going to make you feel even more nauseous! I would recommend trying Flinstones Complete chewable vitamins (yes, the children's vitamin!). This is what my nutritionist recommended for me, and other doctors I've seen have all approved. Take one in the morning with food, and one in the evening with food. If you can't stomach two per day, just take one... but two is ideal!

    The more you eat, the easier it will get. I promise you this. I've been through it myself. It might take a long time, but keep pushing through. You will feel sick and miserable after you eat and it's likely a combination of physical discomfort and emotional distress. This is normal and it will get better. That being said, if you are physically unable to keep food in your system (are unintentionally vomiting what you eat), you need to talk to your doctor about this because it could be a sign of a serious condition.

    You mentioned finding your campus physician difficult to talk to.... You might also consider seeing a different doctor-- one who has experience with eating disorders. In fact, I would reallyreally recommend doing this ASAP. This website may have listings in your area: Eating Disorders Counselors, Therapists, Psychologists, Specialists Directory List | Eating Disorder Hope
    I am a member of several professional networks, so feel free to send me a private message if you need help finding someone and I would be more than happy to help.

    Finally, to address your original question.... I will again recommend you get in to see a doc with ED experience as soon as possible. They will be able to help you with this. I can tell you that when I began recovery from anorexia, my period did not come back right away either. My doctor put me on a birth control pill for that reason, and I got it back shortly after I began taking it.

    Again, feel free to message me in a Forum post anytime
    Last edited by Steve; May 22nd, 2014 at 04:02 PM. Reason: minor edit: terms

  5. #4

    Re: Question about anorexia and loss of period

    Hi
    I am new here but wanted to answer. I totally commend you in working on this. I agree with what both people above said. cwhitchurch recommended talking with someone. Especially considering you find it difficult to talk with the doctor. I so agree with that. I think it would be important to find someone who you really can talk with and work with.

    As you likely know so well, this is a very difficult thing to deal with. And how I admire you for taking the initiative to have power over the ed rather than it having total control over you. What a tricky thing anorexia is. It makes people believe they have the power. When the ano has the power. But you are taking your power back. And that is so commendable.

    You sound like such a good person. You deserve to have true power over your body. And it sounds like you are back on the road to that journey. Believe me, if its scary, I understand all too well. First hand. But with work and dedication and good support in this journey, healing will happen.

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