Fertility Infertility Issues

The two most common eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. People with anorexia strictly controls caloric intake, often to the point of near-starvation. Bulimics control calories through purging, or vomiting, after meals. Both the anorexics and bulimics often exercise to excess and use laxatives and diuretics inappropriately. Extreme exercise and dieting can cause hormonal problems in women, which can lead to a missed period or infertility. Luckily, these extreme behaviors are not permanent and with a slight adjustment or treatment the body can be back to normal. Eating disorders affect the hypothalamus, which is what causes estrogen shifts in the body.

In order for a woman to conceive, a woman needs to have a certain percentage of body fat. Body fat controls our monthly cycles, it’s what controls the onset of menstruation and once this cycle is established, it is body fat dependent. When a person diets, most of the weight loss is fat. As a result, a relatively small percentage of weight loss can represent a large percentage of total body fat. This loss of body fat causes the body to conserve energy in anyway it can. A person who is severely anorexic doesn’t have enough body fat to support their own needs through the calories they’re eating. Therefore, the body recognizes that a pregnancy cannot be supported, and ceases to menstruate because that’s not a necessary function.

A man’s fertility can also drop substantially, if they’re anorectic, the analog to the cessation of menses is their sperm count drops once their weight gets below 15 to 20 percent of body.

“Low-Carb” diets give off the impression it’s healthy for today’s women. Taking on this type of diet, can affect fertility and could cause genetic defects. A study was done on “Low-Carb” diets using mice, and the results did show a negative effect on conception and fetus genetics although not tested on humans. The fetus needs nutrition to grow. Extreme dieting has been known to cause low birth weights and increased risk for infant deaths and disabilities.

If a woman keeps a healthy moderate diet, it will not do any harm to her fertility. It’s okay to lower your carb intake but be sure not to cut it out completely or lower it too much. Carbs are found in foods rather than vitamins and they are needed for a healthy baby. Studies have shown what you eat before conception has a greater impact on a child than what you eat during pregnancy. When the body is shorted of nutrients it can cause heart disease, hypertension and diabetes in the child. Make a special effort to eat right three months prior to conception. If you’re are a woman who exercises, don’t over do it, and make sure you can still talk while you’re exercising…do not become breathless. Pregnant women should exercise at 50-60 percent of their maximal heart rate and exercise 3 times a week up to 30 minutes each. Be sure to keep hydrated while exercising as to not lose fluid.

Anorexia and Bulimia eating disorders affect the reproductive process, pregnancy, and health of the baby. Eating disorders affect pregnancy negatively in a number of ways. The following complications are associated with eating disorders during pregnancy:

* Premature labor
* Low birth weight
* Stillbirth or fetal death
* Intrauterine growth retardation
* Likelihood of Cesarean birth
* Delayed fetal growth
* Respiratory problems
* Gestational diabetes
* Low amniotic fluid

References Used & Studied:
(1) www.bellaonline.com/articles
(2) www.preconception.com/articles
(3) www.womenshealth.gov/body/image