Relationship Between Eating Disorder and Ectopic Pregnancy?

Last month I dropped from 114 to 108 pounds due to severe food restriction and purging. Recently, I found out that I am pregnant when my husband took me to the emergency room because I had a really bad backache in my lower left side. The doctor sent me for an ultrasound and told me I might have an ectopic pregnancy. I'm a little over four weeks pregnant, and no fetus was detected in my uterus. Can anorexia and bulimia cause an ectopic pregnancy?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Eating disorders have a great impact upon fertility and the entire childbearing process, but I've seen nothing in the literature to indicate that women who suffer from such conditions have a higher incidence of ectopic pregnancy.

Although some have unknown etiologies, ectopic pregnancies are most often caused by scarring in the tubes, which causes a narrowing of the lumen. The egg slows or stops and begins to develop in a space much too small to contain its development and provide nourishment. Such scarring can be caused by complications from sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. Unfortunately, women who go on to have pelvic inflammatory disease, which can affect fertility, may not experience any symptoms until they try to get pregnant.

In addition, the pain you described can be caused by a kidney infection, a stone, a severely retroverted uterus or many other conditions. It sounds as though you are getting good care.

I wish you the very best.


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