ZocdocAnswersI suffered from eating disorders for a long time; can I ever have children?

Question

I suffered from eating disorders for a long time; can I ever have children?

I've had bulimia and anorexia since I was in my early teens, and it's been a worry of mine that this might affect my fertility. Will I ever be able to have children?

Answer

As with any medical questions, there are many details that need to be clarified before a simple yes or no answer can be given, so you’ll definitely want to discuss your concerns with your primary care doctor or OB/GYN. In the vast majority of cases, the answer would be that eating disorders in the past should not prevent being able to have children in the future. The key factor that would determine the answer to that question is whether or not you have been able to change your health behaviors and improve your overall health. Malnutrition that is often caused by anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorders can cause long term changes in health. They will often affect the menstrual cycle and other hormonal factors, as well as more long term issues such as bone density. Provided that the deficits and changes can be reversed, having children in the future should be possible. If you are planning on having children in the future, meeting with your primary care doctor or an OB/GYN would be an important first step, to make sure that you are in optimal medical condition and to answer this question definitively. Please speak to your doctor. Family, psychiatric, or other support in making healthy changes can also be important to make sure that you maintain your health during pregnancy, which can also be a trying time for anyone. Start by booking an appointment today! Good luck!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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