If you spend a little bit of time doing your research on hair loss on the internet, you will be able to come up with a list of all the major causes of hair loss. In that list, the prime suspects would be genetics, poor diet, stress and scalp infections such as folliculitis. All of these are valid reasons for losing your hair. However, the loss of hair is not restricted to these few causes. There are several other reasons for which a person can experience hair loss. The reason why people talk about genetics and nutritional deficiency so much when addressing hair loss problems is because these are the most common causes. In fact, if you are going through hair loss right now, then there is about a 90% chance of it being a result of heredity. However, this does not mean that we are going to ignore the other minor causes of hair loss. Losing your hair is not just a cosmetic problem. It could be the difference between leading a moderately happy life and a completely miserable life. The latter is what many people who suffer from bulimia go through. Indeed, the connection between bulimia and hair loss is a subject that has hardly ever been explored, let alone discussed openly.
Understanding Bulimia Nervosa
Bulimia is referred to as bulimia nervosa in the scientific world. Although there are a few different variations in the type of bulimia a person can suffer from, all experts agree that this medical condition can be best defined as an eating disorder in which people eat and then “purge” their food. If you have never heard of bulimia before, then you might find this disorder outrageously strange. It makes sense for a person to “binge” eat, i.e. eat an excess amount of food in a very short period of time. That is what we do with a bowl of ice cream when our favourite TV character dies unexpectedly. Purging on the other hand is pretty much the opposite of binge eating. A purge happens when people come up with unorthodox (more like extremely bizarre) ways of getting rid of the food that they have consumed or burning off the calories.
The Bizarre Ways in Which Food is “Purged”
Normally, we get rid of the food that we have eaten by taking a 10 minute trip to the washroom. People who suffer from bulimia are not interested in doing that. Instead of excreting waste food naturally, they force themselves to vomit in order to empty their bowels. You now have our permission to look away in disgust. But voluntary vomiting is not the only despicable action they resort to. People with bulimia have been known to use an excessive amount of laxatives, fast for prolonged periods of time, exercise compulsively and use diuretics in an effort to keep their body as free from food as possible.
Bulimia Vs Anorexia
Bulimia should not be mistaken for anorexia. An anorexic person looks thin, bony and pale. People with bulimia generally look normal and can maintain an average body weight. This makes it very difficult for any person to pick out a victim of bulimia. Your friends or family might have bulimia and you may never know about it till they fall extremely ill. That being said, there are some similarities between bulimia and anorexia. Both are psychological disorders where the patients have a severe case of low self esteem and self respect. The food is purged out by the bulimics in an effort to seek comfort and enjoy an unconventional form of temporary relief. It is a very serious health problem and requires immediate medical attention.
The Bulimia and Hair Loss Connection
Since very little is known about bulimia itself, it has been difficult for researchers to identify a strong connection between this psychological disorder and the medical condition of hair loss. However, experts believe that the psychological stress that ensues from bulimia can lead to significant hair loss in a person. Remember, sustained stress and abrupt stress in the form of a shocking mental trauma can both lead to varying types of hair loss. When a person undergoes stress, the amount of blood that is channelled to the hair follicles is reduced considerably as the blood vessels become constricted. The hair follicles are deprived of mineral salts and nutrients that are required to maintain a healthy rate of growth.
Bulimia and hair loss together is a nightmare combination. Bulimics already suffer from low self esteem and have very little confidence in their abilities. The loss of hair from their heads would only serve to make their life even more difficult. It would crush their spirits, alienate them from the society and force them to lead a reclusive life of incessant purging in privacy.
The only good way of treating hair loss induced bulimia is by addressing the psychological issues that cause the eating disorder and eliminating ill habits that lead to increased instances of purging.