November 4, 2005

Longitudinal Research studies on eating disorders


This week I was interviewed by a journalist, Trisha Gura, who is writing a book about the long term effects of eating disorders on health and social issues, etc., specifically dealing with women in their 30s who have been bulimic since their teens. I'm 38 and have been bulimic since I was 15. I haven't been regularly binging and purging for several years but I do still consider myself bulimic, like alcoholics always consider themselves alcoholics.

This is an important because there really hasn't been enough of this. And she REALLY has an understanding of Bulimia which is something, as we all know, not many people have a real understanding of.

Trisha gave me some great info on current research studies. Lately I've been having some serious gynecological issues. I've had many gynecological issues over the years including (which I've made no secret of in my columns on the site), four miscarriages. All gynecologists tell me the same thing--there's no connection between these problems and your eating disorder.

Guess what, they're WRONG--which I always suspected. The most recent studies suggest that women who have had long term eating disorders or who have an eating disorder when trying to get pregnant are at a much higher risk of miscarriage. Now, for all of us with EDs who are sucked into the guilt thing, that's not info. for you to take and feel that you're ED is to blame for having a miscarriage. It's just info. for you to be aware of. It didn't make me feel guilty to find this information out, it validated my feelings and made me feel less crazy for wondering what the source was for all the problems I've had--which are not exclusive to miscarriages. I'm also dealing with severe endometriosis.

We know that there are many health issues that are a result of long term EDs. But getting to the bottom of the gynecological issues has been important to me. If anyone has info on recent studies, please post it here!

The more we know about our disease, the more we can do to help ourselves. Trisha Gura's book will most likely be out in about a year. It's being published by Harper Collins. I'll keep you updated on dates.



  1. As I mentioned to you earlier, I'm certainly interested in her research.

    Although I haven't tried to have children yet, I fear that I too, will face similar problems. I imagine its hard not to get into the cycle of guilt/blame knowing there is a connection between your eating disorder and subsequent miscarriages.

    I also find it fascinating that while I was actively purging multiple times per day for years, I never experienced effects at the time other than lack of energy and headaches.

    Now, 2 years into solid recovery, I am faced with a range of health problems that can be linked to the eating disorder.

  2. I also have had many gynological problems. I was able to have kids, but filled with fibroid tumors and now a hysterectomy.
    I recently saw a cardiologist and she said their is a corrilation between people with eating disorders (she pointed out anorexia ) had heart mummer and mitrol valve prolapses (both of which I have). Althought I consider myself healthy for the most part, currently I am facing many health issues that I believe all have some connection to the years of abuse.

  3. Sarah,
    I disagree that your history of bulima is the cause of your miscarriages. Unless you are actively engaging in behaviors that affect the ability of an embryo to implant and grow. At 38, with a history of endo, you really need to look at the big picture of day 3 FSH and what endo means for you. If you ever hope to have a biological child, now is the time to turn away from the ED and seek out the opinion of a good reproductive endocrinologist. Good luck.

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  5. Thank you to everyone for their comments.

    Just to be clear with my intentions on this piece. I'm not saying that my ED is the total cause for reproductive problems. I'm saying, it needs to be investigated more andnot discounted as a possible contributor.

    I have moved on from the eating disorder. However, I still deal with the effects of having had one for so many years.

    I don't want to have a biological child. But I do want to try to better understand how this disease has affected my health.


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