Monday, July 1, 2013

Ask Us Anything: How Can I Get My Period Back on Track After an Eating Disorder?

"I have not menstrated in almost 3 years due to anorexia and bulimia. I have now reached a pretty healthy body weight, between 127 and 130, and I'm about 5 feet and 6 inches. I like to exercise. I do 20 to 40-minute walks regularly. And sometimes I do zumba, pilates or yoga (1 to 2 times per week) when I don't take a walk. I want to get my period back and sometimes worry if the amount of exercise and or my diet can be tweaked to hurry the process up. If you can shed any light on this, please let me know."

Dr. Diane Sutter Responds:

It is not necessarily your weight that is the issue but rather your percentage of body fat.

Most women need to have at least 17% body fat to initiate menstruation and approximately 22% body fat to maintain or restore menstruation.

You need to change your diet and exercise routine around so that you have a normal amount of body fat necessary to menstruate. A registered dietician can help you to evaluate your diet.

Ginny Lyons, RN Adds:

With proper diet, moderate exercise and weight gain, your cycles should begin and stabilize.

However, not knowing all the medical facts and the duration of anorexia and excessive exercise regimen, I would like you to see a gynecologist for evaluation. You may need some hormonal therapy to "kick start" your cycles and get you back on regular menstruation.

About Our Experts

Diane Sutter, MD

Dr. Sutter is a gynecologist whose interests include menopausal transition, osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment, and PMS. She sees patients at her office in Kenmore, NY.

Ginny Lyons, RN

Ginny Lyons, RN is a coordinator for Catholic Health's women's service line, WomenCare, a nurse clinician in women's health, a community health educator and a public health speaker for Catholic Health on wellness and prevention seminars.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

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