A reality TV star has told how the pressure to stay slim has left her infertile at 27.
Chantelle Houghton, winner of Celebrity Big Brother in 2006, said doctors have informed her she will never be able to conceive naturally because of her extreme eating patterns.
She was the first ‘non-celebrity’ to feature in the Channel 4 reality TV show and found her showbusiness lifestyle after her appearance difficult.
Miss Houghton said: ‘I’ve punished my body, and now it’s punishing me. Ultimately it’s my fault. I hate myself and can never forgive myself.
‘Because of my obsession with food and my crash dieting when I had bulimia, I’ve ruined my chances of having a baby naturally.
‘All the time I was making myself sick, I was thinking: “Yes, I’m getting skinnier.” I thought I was winning, but I was losing. It’s cost me the chance of a family.’
Miss Houghton has told how she struggled with bulimia from the age of 14.
At one point, she revealed that she drank up to eight 1.5 litre bottles of water a day to fill her stomach and that her periods once stopped for a year.
In the wake of her split from musician husband Samuel Preston in 2007, the 5ft7in star’s weight plummeted to just eight stone.
Later, in 2009, she admitted: ‘It’s a constant battle with my weight, and I’ll always have an issue with it.
‘I have tried every diet there is, from body wraps and the Special K diet to just drinking water, but I know I have to eat healthily and go to the gym, because that’s the only thing that works.’
She added that, at her thinnest: ‘I was making myself sick a lot, so food was just coming straight back out of me. I was obsessed from the minute I woke up in the morning until the minute I went to bed.
‘I was constantly watching what I was eating.’
But Miss Houghton has only recently been told of the damage she was doing to her body after going to the doctor complaining of stomach pain.
She told Heat magazine that she visited fertility expert Dr Amin Gorgy.
She said: ‘He told me that I’d never be able to conceive naturally. Dr Gorgy told me that I had low fertility and that if I wanted to have a baby, I’d have to have IVF.
He said that if I’d waited another three years, I would never be able to have children at all. I wouldn’t have any eggs left.’
Miss Houghton hopes her experience will warn other women of the effect that eating disorders and extreme dieting can have on their fertility.
She added: ‘I hope they’ll see what’s happened to me and realise what they’re doing – the long-term effects. I’m 27 and I can’t have children naturally. Being stick-thin – is it worth that?’
Article: 19th July 2011 www.dailymail.co.uk
Read more about fertility and IVF at www.prideangel.com