How I Recovered From Anorexia and Got My Period Back

Photo by Frida Aguilar Estrada on Unsplash

I started anorexia when I was 14. My BMI dropped from 18.9 to 14.7 in a few months. I remember I was obsessing with getting rid of all pinchable body fat and trying to survive on minimal energy.

Following the weight loss, my hair fell, it began to hurt when I sat on any hard surface as there was no fat padding on my bum, and my menstruation disappeared too.

At 17, I started to concern about not having a period. I tried different things and my weighted went up and down a few times. I got my period back at 21.

Now that I have a normal weight and period, I want to share with you what worked and what didn’t.

What Didn’t Work

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine didn’t start my period when I was underweight. I wanted to see if I could get my period without eating more. I had Chinese medicine every day and had an acupuncture treatment every week for a year. It didn’t work.

My period returned after I took birth control pills but it only lasted a few months. I took a blood test and it said I was low on oestrogen. My doctor then prescribed me birth control pills, which contains the female sex hormones that were supposed to help me. My period did start after the pills. But it got lighter and lighter in the following months and stopped all together soon after.

What Worked

What Helped Me Gain Weight

I first wanted to restore weight because I realised that the skeleton in the mirror was not attractive at all. And also I started to concern about the long term health effect.

Once I started to eat more I had more energy and things became easier and more enjoyable. I used to hate doing housework but they didn’t seem to be a big deal any more when I had more energy. Also socialising became more fun. I was able to make jokes and enjoy others’ jokes. I was excited when I made people laugh. This positive feedback encouraged my recovery.

My biggest challenge is managing overeating behaviours.

When I started to ease my food restriction I experienced this uncontrollable urge to keep eating after the first bite. I would go to a party and kept eating until everyone’s full and still felt unsatisfied. I could only stop when there is physically no space in my stomach.

The uncontrollable overeating shocked me so I went back to restrictive eating. And then there was a period of alternating between overeating and restricting. Gradually I developed coping strategies and now I was able to eat more gracefully and thankfully, still be invited to a dinner party.

How I Get My Period Back

I restored my BMI to 19.3 in but still, there was no sign of menstruation for around a year.

Back then I was desperately googling “how to get back period after anorexia”. I didn’t find it mentioned anywhere but what actually helped me is being exposed to a romantic partner or a potential romantic partner.

My period started a few months after I started a relationship. It stopped when the relationship ended. And it started again when I had romantic feelings towards someone, and stopped when the feelings went away. And started again when I started another relationship.

It is fascinating to me.

If you are reading this, I guess you had been anorexic and lost your period. I want to give you a big hug for what you have gone through. Hopefully my experience is helpful to you. And I wish you all the best on your recovery journey.

I write about investing and other stuff. @fightthesorrow

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