does anorexia cause hair loss

Does Anorexia Cause Hair Loss: Signs, Effects, And Treatment

Hair loss is common, though the causes may vary. Some reasons known to many include a wrong choice of hair product (I have been a victim), cancer, and falling estrogen levels. Most people do not know that their diet significantly impacts their diet. Anorexia patients often see drastic weight loss. But does anorexia cause hair loss?

Indeed, anorexia, also known as anorexia nervosa, causes hair loss! Hair thinning and hair loss causes in anorexia patients are attributed to the lack of vital nutrients, such as protein and iron. Anorexia hair in newborns is incredibly soft. So, when you starve your body, you could make your hair fall or make the baby in your womb lack vital nutrients and suffer from anorexia. 

Anyone, male and female, young or old, great and small, can suffer from anorexia. You do not have to be one of those. Read this article to learn what anorexia is, the causes of hair loss, pattern baldness in anorexia patients, and more! 

Let us get started.

Does Anorexia Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, anorexia causes hair loss. Here is what happens. When you fail to eat a balanced diet, your body begins to look for vital nutrients to keep the essential organs functioning to keep you alive. 

Therefore, when your body gets malnourished, the protein that is reserved in your body becomes depleted. Consequently, to keep you alive, some organs stop growing to give crucial nutrients to the most vital organs, such as the kidneys and heart. 

Since your hair comprises a vital protein called keratin, it ceases to grow so that the most vital body organs can use this protein. As a result, your hair falls off or stops growing. 

Better said, hair loss occurs in anorexia because your hair follicles do not get the nutrients they need. As a result, your hair becomes weak and brittle, hence falling out after a few days. 

Your hair could resume growth once you start eating a balanced diet, but how soon that should be may depend on various factors, for example, genetic makeup, age, and current health status. 

For most people, it could take about 6 to 12 months before your hair starts to grow again. 

Which Is Considered To Be The Main Symptom Of Anorexia?

You might see many symptoms, signaling that you are suffering from anorexia. However, you cannot just conclude that you or someone else is suffering from anorexia because you noticed that their hair is shedding! 

At least, there should be a combination of these symptoms, and the main symptom of anorexia is massive weight loss. 

In addition to weight loss, other symptoms that show you suffer from anorexia include hair loss, dehydration, fatigue, intolerance to cold, lightheadedness, and others.

Let us look at these symptoms below.

Hair Loss

Significant hair loss can be a pain, mostly for women. But not just women; no one wants to see their head going bald, not even men! I experienced hair loss not so long ago, and I can tell you, I wanted to scream! 

Thank God, my hair is growing back. But was I suffering from anorexia? Not at all! Hair loss can be due to many reasons, such as the wrong choice of hair products (in my case), iron deficiency and other vital nutrients, cancer, and breastfeeding, which causes hormonal imbalance.  

So, what is the difference between hair loss caused by the above factors and that caused by anorexia? I have mentioned in this article that if your body lacks protein, it will try to draw it from your hair for survival. 

However, lack of protein is only one of the many hair loss causes; below are other nutrients that would cause hair fall if you do not include them in your diet.

  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Proteins and amino acids
  • Vitamin A
  • Folic acid
  • Iron
  • Fatty acids
  • Biotin
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

If your hair does not get these nutrients, it will fall out. So, once you notice that it is falling out massively and you are on a restricted diet, you will know that anorexia is causing your hair loss. 

Loss of lots of hair is an extreme indication that you are severely malnourished! So, seek medical advice immediately! 

Weight Loss

Coupled with hair loss is weight loss. If you have not been trying to lose weight by exercising but still notice massive weight loss and hair loss, you might be a victim of anorexia. 

Definitely, if you deny your body essential nutrients, you will shed weight ridiculously over time. Not only so, but your overall health could also be highly endangered! 

Therefore, if you have intentionally stopped eating, your weight is massively decreasing, and your hair is becoming thin and falling out, you are likely suffering from anorexia. 

Hair Growth On The Body

Though this mostly happens to newborns, body hair growth is expected in anorexia patients. This type of hair is often downy, soft hair.  

Babies develop body hair because their bodies are trying to conserve body heat. When a baby has extreme body hair, it means anorexia has affected him. It is vital to note that babies are born with baby hair, which is okay and healthy. 

Nevertheless, sometimes, this hair could signify a lack of vital nutrients while growing. 

Due to anorexia, you could see more body hair growth, even in adults, due to hormonal imbalances. While some people are born with a lot of body hair, especially men, body hair growth caused by anorexia differs. 

Withdrawal From Society

Whether you have withdrawn from food due to bullying or a desire to lose weight, once anorexia kicks in, you are likely to suffer from low self-esteem and withdraw from society. Not to mention, the fear of going bald could affect your self-esteem even further.

Since female hair loss could be traumatic, it could make attending school, working, playing, and church difficult for fear of what people might say about it and your massive weight loss. 

Since anorexia nervosa could also cause hair loss and eyelashes, facing relatives, colleagues, and society at large can be more challenging! This would further cause loss of weight, thereby causing more health problems.

What Is The Treatment Of Anorexia?

Since anorexia is caused by hair loss, it is not as hard to treat as other diseases. Your body only lacks key nutrients; all you need to do is give it those nutrients.

However, when dealing with a malnourished body, you must be careful with what you eat. Some foods could be too hard to digest because your digestive system could be weak. Hence, this could be the beginning of another health problem.

Therefore, you need a specialist’s help to advise and walk with you. A specialist can know your body’s nutrients and advise you on the proper meals. Not only will a specialist walk with you until you have gained back your weight, but will also point you in the right direction for mental and physical assessment. 

Consequently, you could be enrolled in a program that could change your thinking as you work on your diet. 

Parting Shot

Anorexia nervosa should never be ignored. As soon as you realize that you are beginning to lose hair, you should seek immediate help because that is a sign that more damage is occurring in your body. 

Though anorexia causes hair loss, you do not need hair transplant surgery; you only need to check your diet because it is an eating disorder. 

Also, since this eating disorder results from a psychological problem, you must see a counselor to walk you through mental healing. 

With the proper treatment, diet, and psychological problems, you could have a healthy body again, stimulate hair growth, strengthen your thinning hair, boost your self-confidence, and go anywhere you wish to go freely!

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