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Posted on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 12:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I was bulimic for 5 months. During that time I ate regular meals that I "kept down" but some nights I would also later binge on icecream and junk food and then purge it. I wasn't throwing up my regular meals, just "extra" on the side. I know this is still VERY tramatizing to the body. I took a daily multivitamin. I have had hairloss the entire time. Just recently I gave it up. I have half the hair I once had. I have been to the doctor and had all the tests and they couldn't figure out my hairloss. I know now it must be related to the bulimia. Anyways, my question is, how long after stopping binging and purging should my hairloss let up?

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 08:30 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


Bulimia and anorexia can both trigger telogen effluvium. This is a nonpermanent kind of hair loss that is characterized by a diffuse thinning of the hair. It is highly unlikely that you'll have bald spots.

Your question is how long does it take for hair loss to stop after the binging and purging is in the past. It is not big news that everyone responds differently. It may take eight months, a year, or over a year.

A good diet and a nonstressful mental attitude will help you to regain your hair and to stop the shedding. The multivitamin is OK but it is even better to get your nutrients from a sensible diet.

Posted on Friday, July 11, 2003 - 10:17 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks for answering my question Tom. I have one more...does this mean I could go completely bald then cause if i've lost over half my hair in 5 8 months I'll be more than bald! That's not sounding to good...will I go bald??

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 09:13 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


Women with telogen effluvium lose hair but do not go bald. The hair loss stabilizes eventually then new hair grows back. Be careful of your diet though. Be sure to get enough, but not too much, iron. An adequate intake of iron in premenopausal women seems to hasten recovery from telogen effluvium. Women who are vegetarians often take longer to recover their hair.

Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 08:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks!! That is makes me feel a lot better. I have one more question. Although my hair is still shedding alot, I can now see some short hairs growing back in. Is it possible for the new hairs to start growing back before the hair loss has stopped, and is it any sign the hairloss will be slowing down? Does age have anything to do with how quick I recover. Being 18, will my hair grow back any quicker then an older person? Thanks a ton for all your help!

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 02:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post


Hairs are always being shed and new hairs are always growing in. It's a question of the ratio of loss to gain. If you're losing more hairs than you're gaining, you won't like your image in the mirror. The way you describe you condition seems to indicate that you're making progress in restoring hair density.

Age always makes a difference. At 18 your body, which includes your scalp, responds fast to changes in your life style. A menopausal woman, for example, might lose 20% of her hair because of hormonal changes. It probably will take a long time for this woman to recover her lost hair because of her age. A young person like yourself has a lot going for her. You can be optimistic about your progress.

Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 - 10:30 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Good, I needed to hear that. Thanks!

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2004 - 04:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I was just curious if the same applied for men. My hair slowly started thining and now it is very noticalble. I however was doing this for eight years

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 11:17 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


I was associated with Thoroughbred horse racing for many years. The taller, larger-boned jockeys were almost all on an "enforced" bulimic regimen for many years in order to maintain their weight - 112 to 118 pounds. These jocks almost all have hair problems in their late twenties. After they retire from riding (or are forced to retire because of injury), they put on weight fast, but I've not seen any improvement in the condition of their hair.

This is just a small sample so I don't think a generalization from it is valid. Many more women are bulimic than men.

Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 02:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I am 21 and have been bulimic for about five and half months. As a result I have been losing my hair. There was a period where the amount that i was losing i thought was normal. Then two weeks ago my hair was coming out in bundles. The past week i have been eating lots of vegetables, nuts, and 3 oz of meat everyday. I also take vitamin b complex, multi-vitamin, fish oil, and flaxseed oil. Will all these things help to hasten the process of hair regrowth? What else can i do to help start regrowth? You can see my scalp through the side of my head and my ponytail isn't as thick as it used to be. It's making me really depressed and stressed out. I do have baby hair that grows near my hair line, but not anywhere else. With all the hairloss, the baby hair has yet to stop growing. Does the directly applied vitamins in haircare products like shampoo really work?

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 10:06 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Alana A:

If you have been bulimic for about six months, you probably have the temporary form of hair loss called telogen effluvium.

"The past week i have been eating lots of vegetables, nuts, and 3 oz of meat everyday. I also take vitamin b complex, multi-vitamin, fish oil, and flaxseed oil."

This is excellent but you will need to continue with this diet for more than one week in order to see results - the return of hair stability. Sometimes telogen effluvium can last a year or more. Take care of yourself and don't get lured back to your previous bulimic state.

" Does the directly applied vitamins in haircare products like shampoo really work?"

Vitamins, amino acids, minerals in shampoos do not "work." The molecules of these nutrients are too large to penetrate the skin and get into the capillaries. Antioxidants in some cosmetics do have a good effect on the skin though.

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2005 - 05:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thank you so much for answering my questions, it really helps. Because my hair is in a temporary form of hair loss does this mean i can continue to loose hair in the same amount? Does it ever stop? If it doesn't stop will i have any hair left?

Posted on Sunday, July 31, 2005 - 09:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I have been bulimic for almost 6 months now, but I finally have it under control now. I have also been addicted to Gravol for the last yaer. I would take up to 500mg a night just to get me through. I am now down to only 50-100mg a night and am weening off the drug completely. Can this drug dependancy cause hair thinning as well? And if so, can an organ or liver cleanse help rejuvinate these hair folicles? What about Rogaine for Women?

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2005 - 08:55 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


Gravol is the Canadian name for this antihistamine. There are quite a few potential side effects with this drug; hair loss is not one of them. The major "side effect" of bulimia, however, is hair loss. This hair loss is diffuse and is called telogen effluvium (TE). It is not a permanent condition if you get your diet back to normal - lots of nutritious food including sufficient iron.

Posted on Wednesday, August 03, 2005 - 10:33 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

What about Rogain or an organ/liver cleanse? Any recommendations?

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Thursday, August 04, 2005 - 08:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


Some dermatologists claim that Rogaine will stimulate regrowth of hair in people with telogen effluvium - that it might quicken the process of recovery. Then after recovery you will no longer have to use the Rogaine.

(With male pattern baldness, one has to continue to use Rogaine or all progress that many have been made will be lost.)

You'll read many advertisements (infomercials) on the Internet about liver and organ cleansing. There are pricey "dotox" camps that you can visit that will rid your body of all heavy metals, carginogens, general crud. My opinion is that most of these are scam operations run by fast-buck "nutrition gurus" who prey on naive people looking for an easy way to health.

Posted on Friday, August 05, 2005 - 02:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thank you so much for your quick response! I am going to start with the Rogaine and go from there. Do you recommend me using the Rogaine for Women or try the Men's formula? I have heard that the Women's formula is much weaker.I'm pretty sure it's 2% while the Men's is 5%.What is the difference and what do you suggest?

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Saturday, August 06, 2005 - 08:40 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


You'll have to make up your own mind about Rogaine. I don't make recommendations about drugs. I've never used any hair loss drugs so I'm not a good source of information on them.

If you have telogen effluvium, though, diet is the key factor, along with time, in restoring your hair to the way it was.

Hiba Malik
Posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 01:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I was just wondering how telogen effluvium in anorexics could be reversed?

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Username: Butternut

Post Number: 1
Registered: 02-2009
Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2009 - 07:48 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Ive been bulimic for 2 years..I am only now in recovery. I am eating healthy and working out to stay fit and have never been happier. I wish i had done this so long ago. But my hair has thinned out soo much....luckily i had a thick full head of hair to start...but unless i part it on the side you can see how thin it is on the top on the head. Also my hairline has receeded , it is further back on the forehead now.
After how long can i expect to at least STOP loosing so much hair? I am eating very healthy have whey protein shakes taking centrum forte, biotin, and silicea gel to help my body. How long will it take for me to see even the slightest result?? Will my hair line go back to normal once my hair starts growing back?It gets me so depressed everytime i look in the mirror.

Tom Hagerty
Username: Admin

Post Number: 3795
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2009 - 11:31 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


You're young and you have a new resolve to get healthy - exercise, good nutrition. But what is good nutrition. I don't think it is consuming whey protein shakes, taking centrum forte, biotin pills, or even silicea gel (whatever that is). These slickly-advertised highly-processed supplements are not going to hurt you; they might not deliver all the promised benefits though. Even Dr. Andrew Weil who sells a pricey line of supplements says that you should get at least 90 percent of your nutrition from real Food.

Read The Anti-inflammatory Diet for some of my ideas about what constitutes rational nutrition.

Just one more thing - Some young women who think they are really doing the right thing for their physical health and hair health go on a vegetarian diet. When they do this their serum ferritin number plummets. With serum ferritin in the single digits there is hardly any prospect of recovering from TE. With a sound healthy life style which includes a rational diet, TE should resolve itself in 12 to 18 months.

In other words, a good diet is not a radical formula some alternative nutrition guru pushes on uninformed potential true believers. The pill and supplement formula for good health just doesn't get the job done.

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