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  • Writer's pictureEmma Carpenter

Do your periods return after your eating disorder recovery?

What I would say to my younger self…

This needs to be spoken about more, as periods, hormones and eating disorders can come hand in hand. Back when I was in the mix of my eating disorder I couldn’t care less when the doctors told me of the consequences of starving my body for long periods of time. In my eyes I wasn’t going to have a family, heck I didnt even know if I would be around in a year or so. It never crossed my mind if one day I wanted to start a family and if I was recovered that decision may be taken away from me because my younger self couldn’t care less.

Periods on average start from the age of 12 for young girls and normally they become regular between the ages of 16 to 18. I was 10 when my eating disorder started. When your body is fighting to stay alive, as you are not providing it the nutritions it needs to function, your body has other things to worry about than starting its periods to prepare to have children. Your body will think hmmm how can I save energy, yes that’s it, we will shut the reproductive system down as we don’t need that right now.

Luckily for me my periods did return however not till the age of 18 nearly 19. Doctors back then told me of the consequences and how I need to think of the harm I am doing to my body for when I was older. Like I said above I couldn’t care less, I didn‘t want to be alive anymore. I was one of the lucky ones who got their periods back. Unfortunately for some it is too late and their periods don’t return. If this happens there is no way you can start a family naturally and for boys they can become infertile.

Now I am nearly 30 and thinking of starting a family it is always in the back of my mind “can I have children naturally.” It makes me nervous to the point I track my periods as any sign of an unnatural cycle I start to think is this because I am infertile. Unfortunately you need to be trying for 2 years before you can have fertility

checks on the NHS however I could pay privately to check. It does cross my mind whether I should pay to put my worries to rest.

As well as periods, I have had a list as long as my arm on medical conditions I suffer with. These include under active thyroid, heart murmur, high cholesterol, had my gall bladder removed and don’t get me started on stomach issues. However I can deal with those, what I can’t deal with is the idea of not being able to provide my partner Tom with a family. I know there is other options however once you recover you want to be ‘normal’ however my younger self took a lot of that away from me.

If your reading this blog and your in the mix of an eating disorder or know someone who is then listen to what I would say to my younger self.

  1. The doctors may say it but I am telling you once you get through this (even if you don’t feel like you will) you will regret your decisions especially regarding hormones and fertility.

  2. Does your eating disorder deserve to take your choices away.

  3. What did you want before your eating disorder? As that is the real you, not your eating disorder

  4. I don’t want you to have the hard talk like I have had to with my partner about why their could be a possibility we can’t have children naturally.

  5. You deserve happiness, your body deserves to be nourished, stop abusing your body as you deserve love and you deserve to live a normal life.

This needs to be spoken about more as this is a grey area when it comes to eating disorders. People sugar coat this question a lot and as this blog is about keeping it real I am going to answer this question myself. Do your periods return after your eating disorder? The answer I will give you is “No, in a lot of cases periods do not return, you can become infertile. In cases where they do return or start again there is the uncertainty of if their has been irreversible damage and you can’t have children naturally. In some cases you can go on to have a family and live a complete normal life.“ Back when I was younger I couldn’t care less, I was all about the control and making my own choices, my eating disorder may have taken an option from me thus winning again. What I would say to you as my readers, listen to someone who has lived experience, you don’t want this choice taken from you as one day you may want that option available. You are enough, you are loved and you are worth the fight.

Like I do with every blog I am going to leave you with a few questions. Have you experienced an eating disorder and your periods returned? Have they not returned? What would you say to your younger self? But remember guys ’Let’s keep it real”

12. What I would say to my younger self
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