What Eating Disorder Causes Hair Loss?



Overview of Eating Disorders and Hair Loss

Many people think that genetics, age-related factors, or certain medications are the only possible causes of hair loss but that’s not actually quite right. Eating disorders can be added to that list of causes for severe hair loss. Yes, you heard that right, malnutrition and excessive eating are considered key players in hair thinning, shedding, and permanent hair loss as well if the root cause is not treated properly.

In this blog, we’re going to discuss some of the eating disorders that can cause hair loss and how to treat these eating disorders. So, stick around.


What Is an Eating Disorder?

The term ”eating disorders” represents a complex group of mental health conditions that can seriously impact physical health, social functioning, relationships, and productivity levels. Certain psychological factors like powerful emotions, beliefs, and behaviors around food and weight often lead to serious health conditions including organ failure, kidney failure, and in severe cases even death. This mental disorder has the highest mortality rate among all mental disorders.


eating disorders


What Are the Types of Eating Disorders?

Anorexia nervosa:

It is characterized by an intense fear of gaining weight and self-starvation. Symptoms of this disorder include:

  • Insufficient food intake
  • Persistent behavior to limit weight gain
  • Denial of illness
  • Disturbed self-image


Bulimia nervosa:

It is characterized by recurring episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviors (an attempt to make up for the calories consumed). These behaviors include vomiting, extreme fasting, excessive exercise, and the use of laxatives. Symptoms can include:

  • Eating large amounts of food consistently
  • Emotionally upset and sense of lost control
  • Obsession regarding body weight and shape
  • Use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors


Binge eating disorder:

It is characterized by repeated cycles of overeating without purging afterward. Symptoms can include:

  • Frequently eating large quantities of food over short intervals
  • Feeling out of control while eating
  • Post-binge feelings of shame, guilt, and upset


eating unhealthily


Some other eating orders include the following.

  • Night eating syndrome: excessive eating at night time
  • Purging disorder: a person purges to influence body shape or weight but doesn’t binge.
  • Pica: consumption of unusual substances that are not considered edible such as soaps, dirt, ice, uncooked rice or pasta, etc.


Why Do Eating Disorders Cause Hair Loss?

Our hair is made of a protein called keratin. When a person’s body is malnourished due to these psychological behaviors, the protein stores of the body get depleted. When this happens, the human body prioritizes the protein for other essential functions and away from hair growth which leads to stalled growth, and weak and brittle hair. This lack of keratin along with other nutrients like iron, vitamins, and minerals results in hair loss.

The medical term for eating disorder-related hair loss is telogen effluvium, marked by the excessive shedding of hair at the telogen phase after the body goes through a sudden trauma or change. The severe changes in eating patterns put your body under a lot of stress which pushes large numbers of hair follicles into a resting phase. This ultimately results in your hair falling out. Hair loss caused by eating disorders can range from mild shedding and hair thinning to losing clumps and leaving bald patches on the scalp.


What Are the Mental Effects of Eating Disorder-Related Hair Loss?

Losing hair can harm your physical as well as mental health. Some of them are discussed below.

  • Low-self esteem: it’s a very traumatic experience that can lose your confidence in yourself and your appearance
  • Avoiding social interactions: the fear of what people will think of you makes you avoid social gatherings and situations
  • Isolation: the feeling that no one understands what you’re going through makes you isolated and lonely
  • Comparison: you may feel like you’re the only one with this problem and hence you start to compare yourself with other people
  • Depression: you start to feel depressed all the time because you think that you’re losing control of your life
  • Loss of appetite: you may be afraid to gain weight that’s why you start to lose your appetite


What Are the Physical Problems of Eating Disorder-Related Hair Loss?

Numerous health problems can be caused by eating disorders. Some of them are mentioned below.


  • Anemia: a medical condition in which lack of iron in your diet leads to a decrease in the number of red blood cells in your body
  • Brittle nails: nails are also composed of keratin protein. So when there is not enough keratin, the nails also get brittle and weak
  • Dry skin: dry skin can be caused by the deficiency of vitamin A in your diet
  • Digestive issues: as you’re not getting enough nutrients for your body so you may start to experience digestive problems
  • Muscle and bone loss: the deficiency of essential nutrients may lead to muscle mass and bone density
  • Heart problems: your heart is not getting nutrients to function properly so you may start to experience heart problems


Learn how keratin can treat thin hair


It's crucial to seek help if you’re experiencing any kind of these problems because these effects can take a huge toll on your mental and physical health.


How to Prevent Eating Disorder-Related Hair Loss

Hair loss caused by eating disorders is reversible if you take proper consultation timely. A therapist can support the person with mental health problems, a dietitian can make a meal plan for you to overcome the nutritional deficiencies, a psychiatrist can give you psychotropic medication if the condition is severe, and a medical doctor can provide any medical treatment by keeping the track of your vitals and blood levels. Hair will begin to grow back once the essential nutrients and minerals are incorporated back into your diet.

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Eating Disorders and Hair Loss: Final Words

Recovery from an eating disorder can be difficult but it's not impossible. If the illness is triggered by societal pressures and unrealistic beauty ideals, it's better to first talk to your loved ones for emotional support and then speak with your doctor. Once the balance has been restored into your diet, hair begins to regrow.

If your hair loss is becoming an issue then know that at Lordhair, we have the solution for you so please just contact us at support@lordhair.com or by any of the ways listed below as our friendly team is on hand and waiting to help you.



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