Isaac E. Sasson, M.D. discusses achieving a healthy pregnancy after an eating disorder with U.S. News & World Report in The Lasting Toll of an Eating Disorder: Fertility Issues.

Isaac E. Sasson, M.D., Ph.D.

For millions of Americans struggling to overcome eating disorders, it can take years of work to get their minds and bodies back to a healthy state. Once the psychological healing is complete, women who recover from eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia may face additional effects to their fertility. Last week U.S. News & World Report reached out to Dr. Isaac Sasson from Shady Grove Fertility’s Philadelphia area offices to discuss The Lasting Toll of an Eating Disorder: Fertility Issues. In the article, Dr. Sasson describes the potential effects eating disorders can have on a woman’s fertility and how they can often be completely reversed. He was sure to point out that many women  go on and have healthy pregnancies following an eating disorder.

How do eating disorders affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant?

Some studies estimate the consequences of eating disorders contribute to approximately 18 percent of patients at fertility centers around the country. Fortunately, reproductive endocrinologists like Dr. Sasson can often treat any lingering issues. “It makes sense that women with eating disorders like anorexia can have trouble getting pregnant. Their periods are usually irregular—if not absent—which often means they’re not ovulating, or releasing an egg, each month. It’s all a defense mechanism on the part of the brain, which reverts back to a prepubertal hormonal state,” states Dr. Sasson.

Recovery, both of the mind and the body, is crucial to restoring the brain’s communication to the ovaries to release the hormones necessary for ovulation. According to Dr. Sasson, “The overwhelming majority of women, when they resolve the eating disorder piece, their periods will become regular again and they should not have trouble getting pregnant.” For those women who still struggle with ovulation issues, there are common oral fertility drugs like clomiphene citrate (Clomid or Serophene) that a physician can prescribe to stimulate the hormones to produce ovulation.

It can be a long journey back to a healthy life after suffering from an eating disorder. However, as the article points out, there are tremendous resources available from organizations like the National Eating Disorder Association and numerous books on the topic authored by survivors themselves. Shady Grove Fertility offers holistic support from our renowned professional counseling team who work in close concert with our medical team with to provide guidance to women who are ready to begin their families.

To learn more about becoming pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy after overcoming an eating disorder, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sasson or any of our 34 reproductive endocrinologists, call 1-877-971-7755 or click to schedule an appointment.