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Anorexia/Eating Disorders/could it be too late to get my period or sex drive back?


QUESTION: is there a possibility that one can be anorexic or "TOO-SKINNY" for too long to be able to get their sex drive or periods back. im an 18 year old female and i havent had my period for 3-4ish years and there is nothing i want more than kids but it is a struggle in fighting the fact that i love the way i look right now. i really love my body right now and i dont know what putting on weight would to do that but i want my sex drive and i want to be able to get pregnant.

And, as awkward as it is too say it, now it's like im always "too tight" to have sex or it hurts or i just dont get excited.

i hate it but i still have issues with gaining weight (mentally) although if it was gaining it through muscles i wouldnt mind as much but i really want it back as soon as i can!!!

ANSWER: Hi Jessica,

I am so sorry you are going through this. Know that what you are experiencing is not uncommon among women who suffer with anorexia.

Now, in answer to your question - yes and no. You can get your periods back, but not without gaining weight. When you starve yourself for as long as you have, your body reacts by eliminating everything it deems as unessential. There simply isn't enough energy (calories) there for you to produce the hormones you need for ovulation and sexual desire. In addition, reproductive hormones require the presence of fat in the diet and on the body as they cannot be produced without adequate fat.

I recommend that you take a two-tiered approach:

1) focus on healthy weight gain - you won't get your period back until you are at an appropriate weight for your height. Given that you want to add muscle mass, I recommend that you either join a gym and book a few sessions with a personal trainer or invest in a bodybuilding book that explains all the exercises and shows you proper form. I can recommend a few if you'd like. You also need to work on eating a healthy diet that will allow you to build muscle. There is great book called Power Nutrition by Susan Kleiner that discusses nutrition for building muscle mass. Let me know if you need help determining how many calories you need to take in each day.

2) get your hormone levels tested. Do you have a gynecologist that you see at least once a year? Have him or her run the full panel of hormone tests. If I had to guess, given your symptoms, I bet that your estrogen and testosterone levels are very low. Putting on weight will help raise them, but if you want to get pregnant soon, you may have to take hormones to make that happen.

Let me know if I can answer any further questions for you. Good luck!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thankyou so much for your answer, it was helpful. I have put on 7 pounds/3kgs since my episode and i want to put on about 3-4 more and i have been eating much more. I used to look unhealthily skinny before but i now have more to my body yet nothing has changed. If you have any knowledge of any good body building books or any thing along those lines it would be great.
It's also hard that i'm a vegetarian also but i have decided to include only tinned tuna and salmon into my diet to have some source of omega3s and protein.

I have attempted to find a gynecologist that bulk bills but have so far failed. I live in Australia and I am and was looking toward the best hormonal treatment but was clueless on the issue but i've just been trying so hard to get my system back to normal and it's just so much more difficult and i have the sinking feeling that its actually gone. if you know any treatments i could look into l that would also be wonderful. i find face to face consultations to be extremely daunting which is why i try to limit such...but right now i just REALLY need help to get it back because i've been trying and i dont want to give up but it's just not working naturally without such hormone treatments.

Thanks and i'm so sorry for the nagging messages!

ANSWER: Hi Jessica,

I am glad that you are gaining weight. I am a vegan, so I understand your pain at trying to find good sources of omega 3s and protein. Are you able to get hemp seed or hemp oil in Australia? That is a good vegan source of both of those. Other good sources of omega 3s and GLAs include: perilla oil, camelina oil, borage oil, black currant seed oil, evening primrose oil, and microalgae. These sources should also help with hormonal balance (and are the only non-prescription products I know of that will). Other good vegetarian protein sources include lentils, beans, quinoa, and any dairy products that you are able to tolerate (I don't do dairy as a vegan, but if you do, that's a good option for you).

Keep in mind that it can take months, sometimes years for your body to recover. You have to get back to a healthy weight for your body to realize it's not under siege anymore - the first step to recovering your hormonal balance really is being at a healthy weight for your height.

As for good bodybuilding plans, I suggest a website: You can enter your goals (like building muscle) and they will give you several program options to choose from. I suggest Jaime Eason and Lee Labrada's plans. If you are looking for a book instead, I recommend  Serious Strength Training-3rd Edition by Tudor Bompa, Mauro Di Pasquale, and Lorenzo Cornacchia. Finally, if you want a nutrition and training plan in one, I suggest Brendan Brazier's Thrive Fitness. He's a vegan and used to be a professional triathlete, so he knows all about diets that build muscle as well as training plans for a variety of sports including weight lifting.

Last but not least, I recommend that you take a prenatal multivitamin. It should help your body recover lost nutrients and help prepare for pregnancy, when the time comes.

Let me know if I missed anything or if there is anything else you'd like to know.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: i was just researching some supplements/herbs and i was wondering what would you recommend me to try/take?

THANKYOU so much!

Hi Jessica,

I am not sure what you have available in Australia, so I'll just give you a run down of what I suggest. The first thing I recommend you take is a prenatal multivitamin. I like food based vitamins like Rainbow Light. Second, I would add some omega 3 supplements. The easiest thing for you to get is likely going to be flax seed oil. I like Barleans. If you have extra money, I'd look into the other sources of omega 3s and GLAs. I like Nordic naturals omegas which contains micro algae. Barleans makes a good evening primrose oil. Last, I would look into hemp seed or brown rice protein powder.  I like Nutivas Natural hemp products. I like MLO brown rice protein powder.

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any further questions.

Anorexia/Eating Disorders

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Mary Pritchard


I can answer questions about the psychology of eating, disordered eating attitudes and behaviors such as drive for thinness, drive for muscularity, binge eating, body dysmorphia, dieting, excessive/obsessive exercise, and body dissatisfaction. I can also answer questions about anorexia and bulimia.


I have a PhD in Psychology and teach courses in the Psychology of Health and the Psychology of Eating. I have been conducting research on disordered eating and exercise behaviors for 15 years.

Midwestern psychological association, rocky mountain psychological association

Over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles in journals such as Eating Behaviors, Eating Disorders, and Eating and Weight Disorders

PhD in Psychology from the University of Denver

Awards and Honors
30 teaching awards, have received funding to conduct my research from academic institutions and state and local government

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