Unfortunately, many women are suffering from the effects of eating disorders. Every day, they are faced with the symptoms and impact of anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and other types of eating disorders. These issues often lead to serious emotional disturbances. Eating disorders can also be contributing factors in developing substance use disorders (SUDs). Finally, eating disorders can lead to severe health problems, affecting various areas of women’s’ lives. These health complications include menstrual issues.
Amenorrhea is one of the menstrual issues that can occur. Possible causes of amenorrhea include eating disorders and other mental or physical health challenges. So, it’s important for those who suffer from these issues to receive professional help as soon as possible.
A Brief Overview of Eating Disorders
Contrary to what many people think, there are multiple types of eating disorders. Since this is the case, each person who is diagnosed with an eating disorder may have a unique experience. Still, there are some symptoms and effects that occur in most cases.
A woman who suffers from anorexia nervosa may struggle with an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction with her body. She may feel an intense need to become thinner or weigh less. This leads to extreme eating restrictions and unhealthy weight loss. Some individuals who have anorexia nervosa may forcibly vomit after eating because of their fear of gaining weight. Certain obsessions may occur, such as frequent weight checking and calorie counting.
Another type of eating disorder that affects people is binge eating disorder (BED). It’s characterized by periods of excessive eating followed by a sense of guilt or shame. Some women who have BED will eat secretly or in private. They may also eat when they’re not actually hungry or eat until they feel physically sick.
Some women suffer from bulimia nervosa, a condition that pairs binge eating with periods of purging. When a person has bulimia nervosa, she may eat excessively but vomit or exercise immediately afterward.
Anorexia: One of the Causes of Amenorrhea
Again, eating disorders often cause other mental, emotional, and physical complications to occur. Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders can cause problems in women’s hormones, menstrual cycles, and more. For instance, some women develop amenorrhea as a result of anorexia.
Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation. In other words, a woman who either has never menstruated before or does not have her period for 3 months or more may suffer from amenorrhea. (A woman who has never menstruated may be diagnosed with primary amenorrhea. Women who stop having a menstrual cycle may have secondary amenorrhea.) Anorexia often results in extreme weight loss and hormonal imbalances. These issues can alter the body’s functions, including menstrual cycles.
Also, even if an individual doesn’t develop amenorrhea due to anorexia, she may develop an irregular period. So, if a person shows signs of menstrual abnormalities along with extreme weight loss and eating restrictions, it’s possible that she is suffering from anorexia and the effects that accompany this eating disorder.
The Connection Between Eating Disorders and Other Menstrual Issues
Some women suffer from premenstrual syndrome, also known as PMS. This syndrome is characterized by irritability, moodiness, fatigue, and bloating. Often, women experience these symptoms shortly before the onset of their period. Although PMS is uncomfortable and can present challenges in everyday life, the symptoms usually end before, during, or after a woman’s period. Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD, is similar to PMS. But, it is actually a depressive disorder and its symptoms can be very intense. Women who experience this disorder often have symptoms such as anger, irritability, depression, and changes in appetite.
These appetite changes might cause individuals to overeat, or binge eat. Although this symptom may disappear with the onset of a menstrual cycle, it’s also possible for a woman to continue engaging in overeating and binge eating. This might happen if the individual associates excessive eating with “feeling good”. Eventually, this could lead to continued binge eating patterns. As a result, individuals may develop binge eating disorder.
Getting Help for Eating Disorders
If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, it’s important to seek help immediately. It can be difficult to reach out for help. But, please know that you are not alone and you do not have to feel ashamed. Other women who have had similar challenges have found hope through treatment. So, take the first step toward hope and freedom today; contact us here at Willow Place for Women. Allow our compassionate team to help you overcome your struggles and live a happier and healthier life. Just call 1-888-651-4212 today.