Loss of hair and periods after anorexia

Q I am 16 years old and was anorexic from the end of 2011 to mid-2012.

I am now fully recovered but I have stopped having periods and have lost my thick hair.

I have tried seeking help from traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. But it has not worked. Is there a way to get both my menstruation and thick hair back fast?

A I am glad that you have fully recovered from anorexia.

Due to the malnutrition and weight loss, it is very common for the female hormones to dwindle and, therefore, result in amenorrhoea or a lack of menses.

You should start to exercise regularly and maintain a normal body mass index.

Also, try to have a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet.

In this way, your female hormones would kick-start again, prompting ovulation to recommence and your menses would regulate to normal cycles.

Your hair-loss condition could also be due to malnutrition as a result of anorexia.

I would suggest supplementing your diet by taking essential vitamins such as biotin, niacin (vitamin B3) and vitamin C, and minerals such as zinc and iron. These vitamins and minerals would help to provide key hair nutrients to nourish healthy hair growth.

However, do be patient as hair may take up to three to six months to regenerate.

Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye

Head and senior consultant, inpatient service, division of obstetrics and gynaecology at KK Women's and Children's Hospital

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2015, with the headline 'Loss of hair and periods after anorexia'. Print Edition | Subscribe