A new study to be published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology reaffirms a controversial link: Despite the fact that eating disorders frequently induce menstrual irregularities, women with eating disorders are far more likely to experience unplanned pregnancies than women who do not suffer from eating disorders
The original study, published in the November 2010 issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that fully half of the women studied who self-identified either as anorexic or bulimic had become pregnant without intending to do so.
Anorexia and bulimia are eating disorders. People with anorexia nervosa frequently starve themselves in order to maintain a weight that is far below normal for their body type. People with bulimia may eat normally but they frequently purge, either by taking laxatives or inducing vomiting, thus keeping their body weight down.
Eating disorders are associated with infertility. The hormones responsible for ovulation are fat-soluble. Even when a woman’s weight falls below 15 percent of her ideal weight, she often experiences irregularities in her menstrual cycle. But women can still ovulate even if they are not menstruating.
The new study, performed by scientists at King’s College in London, looks at 11,088 pregnant women in the U.K.