Amenorrhea, sounds like a fancy word, huh? Well, to put it straight forward, it is the technical term meaning that you have stopped getting your period. This typically will occur following a drastic loss in weight in a short period of time. It can occur from excessive exercising or inadequate amount of fat on our bodies.
What is the first thing you’d do when you realize that your periods have stopped? I hope that you would go to the doctor. Assuming that pregnancy is ruled out, it is reason for concern when your periods have stopped. Most people associate getting your period with the ability to get pregnant and carry a baby. While this is true, that is not its only purpose. Getting regular periods are a sign that your body is working properly. When your periods that have normally been regular start to become irregular or stop altogether, your body is telling you that something is wrong.
While there may be other health reasons that a woman stops getting her period, this post will be geared toward the loss of one’s period due to her eating disordered behaviors. In my prior post, I explained how our blood maintains homeostasis, or balance, by drawing what it needs from other parts of the body. This includes drawing much needed calcium from the bones when the blood is not getting it through proper nutrition. Losing your period is a sign of this malnutrition and is an indication that your blood is not getting what it needs through nutrition. When your blood draws calcium from your bones, it causes them to become weak and brittle. What makes this even scarier? For women, we will only grow our bone density up until the young age of 25. After that, we begin to continuously lose bone density for the rest of our lives. This is the reason that women in their 70s and 80s may develop Osteroporosis. This is normal, however, if you struggle with an Eating Disorder before the age of 25 and lose your period, you not only are not building up that bone density, but you already are beginning to lose it. If you struggle with an Eating Disorder after the age of 25 and lose your period, you are losing it at a faster pace than normal. This will lead to pre-mature bone health issues including Osteopenia and early-onset Osteoporosis...and who wants either of those?
BEWARE of the following as a “fix” for the loss of your period. Some doctors may not be aware that the loss of your period was due to disordered eating, and may look to “fix” the issue by prescribing birth control. Birth control pills are an artificial means to bringing your period back. Simple fix, right? Wrong! Unfortunately, just as I had said, this is artificial. It does nothing more than give you your period back, but that does not mean that all the other issues that losing your period leads to, are fixed. Until the root issue is addressed and corrected, and your period NATURALLY comes back, the problems are still persisting.
If you suspect that you have an Eating Disorder or that you struggle with disordered eating behaviors and have lost your period, please make an appointment with your doctor and be honest about what you are experiencing. I would also encourage you to seek out an Eating Disorder therapist to help you address the root psychological issues that are barring you from recovery. Together, you and the professionals on your treatment team can work toward bringing you to a state of health, both mentally and physically.
Please leave a comment or message me privately if you have any questions or have a request for a future post!
I wish you wellness on your journey to finding your State Of Balance.
Binge And Restrict Cycle
Eating Disorder Specialist
Healthy Self Vs. Eating Disorder