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Amenorrhea, weight loss, binges, (adrenal?) fatigue, brain fog ... help?

Answered on May 31, 2014
Created May 31, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Female, 24 years old.

SYMPTOMS:

Amenorrhea - started getting periods every 2-3 months (for about a year), then entire loss of menstruation last September. Nothing since.

IBS - IBS symptoms (inability to digest basically anything without pain, BMs every 4-5 days, bloating, nausea, etc, then went on Paleo/low-FODMAPS diet, helped significantly, digestion much better, esp. with probiotics, FCLO, occasional Swiss Kriss)

Weight loss - I'm 5'3', weighed about 125-130, now weigh about 100-102. Started in September, became dramatic in about December. I will sometimes exercise obsessively (taking two hot yoga classes a day, and walking a lot, for example), but I enjoy exercise and it's an important part of my life (yoga at least once a day, used to run but have stopped. lots of walking, and I love hiking), but not very restrictive eating. Eat mostly paleo, love vegetables, and quality meat.

Low libido - basically none.

Low energy at times. Will have lots of energy in the morning, afternoon crash. Feel like I can't stay awake. Mental clouding is very troubling. I'm generally very bright, but lately it's hard for me to remember things. I can figure things out if I have time, but my ability to focus is waning.

Breathing can be difficult for me at times. Tend to resort to yoga when this happens, but some days I feel like I can't breathe in all the way (can't get to the top of a breath, if that makes sense).

Obviously all these things are linked. Underwent lots of stress last Fall, but am now in a new place in my life, but can't seem to gain weight, get a period, etc. Libido still low but energy is better - can now stay up late. What is now my problem is binging, sometimes purging. When I was in a place where I could control food this was not an issue, but now I work a different job where there is free food, and when I take advantage of it, it is sometimes not Paleo and I will sort of binge and sometimes feel sick and throw up, or make myself throw up. I should probably stop eating non-Paleo grub, but free is hard to pass up. Also once I start eating non-Paleo, I am more likely to binge on other things at home, esp. sugar (which I usually don't want). Last night I went out drinking (usually don't), came home and ate an entire thing of ice cream (roommate's) for no reason, purged some of it, headache this morning. Ugh. Also now drinking more coffee, probably not great for adrenals/cortisol levels/stress, etc.

Doctors are very frustrating. Want me to take progesterone for amennorhea, and offer no advice on the other issues. Don't seem to think adrenal fatigue is a thing (I feel like that could be my problem?), just tell me to get sleep, gain weight somehow. Had blood tested, thyroid is fine (but history of Hashimotos), but white blood cell count is moderately low (though nothing is being sought to address this), and apparently there were trace amounts of blood in my urine (again, nothing being done here). I'm not really sure what to do. I feel like I need a new doctor but don't even know where to look... very interested in an East/West practitioner - but not sure if insurance will cover this.

Any help much appreciated.

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on May 31, 2014
at 04:44 PM

Matt hit the nail on the head. Your energy intake is far less than needed for maintaining, regulating, and repairing your body.

No periods or libido is a red flag -- it's your body's way of going in to "triage" mode. Since reproduction isn't a top life-sustaining priority, that part of your system is shutting down to preserve basic life-sustaining functions.

Please seek help. I recovered from anorexia three years ago. The process isn't quick or easy, but trust me, you can live in semi-starved limbo for the rest of your life or recover and experience life fully. I found youreatopia.com to the very helpful in the explaining the science behind eating disorders. It's nothing to be ashamed of.

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on May 31, 2014
at 03:10 PM

Not going to sugar-coat it: You starved/over-trained yourself to an unhealthy weight (i.e. eating disorder). You were at a healthy weight and then restricted your diet and trained like crazy to go south of normal BMI. You need to see out a doctor that has specific experience dealing with this type of behavior.

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