Bulimia Hair Loss
Hair loss is a common symptom of bulimia. Constant binging and purging results in malnourishment which affects the ability of the hair to regenerate and maintain healthy growth. Vital nutrients are lost when a person purges food they have consumed. Under normal circumstances, hair falls out at a rate of approximately 50 to 100 strands per day, and must be replaced on a regular basis. Without adequate nutrition this cycle is broken, resulting in thinning hair or actual hair loss.
Dehydration also plays a role in bulimia since fluid is lost in the binge and purge process. This causes dry, brittle hair which can break or fall out. In addition to this, frequent vomiting and/or the misuse of laxatives leads to disruption of the natural pH of the body. Metabolic balance is necessary for the body to function effectively, and for healthy hair growth to occur.
Other health concerns which impact bulimics include heart problems and impaired circulation. In order to promote healthy hair growth, the scalp requires adequate blood flow so that necessary oxygen transfer on a cellular level can take place.
Lastly, it is well documented that stress can have a negative effect on the health of a person’s hair. Bulimia is an extremely stressful condition, both physically and psychologically. Stress can cause hormonal imbalances and overall tension throughout the body, resulting in hair loss.
Hair loss does not have to be permanent if the person with bulimia receives adequate treatment. Recovery time may vary, but once the eating disorder is addressed and healthy eating patterns resume, the normal cycle of hair growth should return.