WEDNESDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Women with anorexia
nervosa are much more likely to have unplanned pregnancies and
abortions than women without the eating disorder, a study of
Norwegian women has found.
This may be due to the mistaken belief that women with anorexia
can't get pregnant because they have irregular menstrual periods or
no periods at all, said study lead author Cynthia M. Bulik,
director of the eating disorders program at the University of North
"Anorexia is not a good contraceptive. Just because you're not menstruating, or because you're menstruating irregularly, doesn't mean you're not at risk for becoming pregnant," she said in a UNC news release.
Bulik and colleagues analyzed data on 62,060 women included in
the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study and identified 62 who
reported having anorexia nervosa. Unplanned pregnancies were
reported by 50 percent of women with anorexia and 18.9 percent of
The study also found that 24.2 percent of women with anorexia
said they had a prior abortion, compared with 14.6 percent of other
The findings are published in the November issue of the journal
Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Physicians and other health care providers "need to make sure
that they have the conversation about sexuality and contraception
as clearly with patients with anorexia as they do with all other
girls and women," Bulik said.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about