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no periods for three months and losing weight(25 Posts)
My daughter is 16 and is mostly happy and pretty well adjusted. However yesterday when out shopping for trousers with her I happened to notice that she's lost a lot of weight around her legs and stomach area. She's always been slight but it looks like she is currently thinner than she should be.
She has also had no periods for the last 3 months - which we put down to GCSE stress. her periods have always been a bit all over the place and so I wasn't overly concerned - but now I am putting it together with the weight loss...
The thing is that we eat really well at home and I would say that she has a healthy appetite. There's no chance she is being sick (our house is too small for that) and she usually finishes all of her meals. We also go out for meals at least once a week and she eats everything in sight (except desserts).
The only thing I would say is that neither of us eat sugar and we avoid white carbs. But I wonder if this is healthy for a growing teenager and if I should suggest she reintroduces these back into her diet. She also avoids dairy as it doesn't agree with her.
if you're wondering what she does eat, it is mainly meat, loads of vegetables, fats like Olive oil and avocado and some cereals. She snacks on fruit and we have a takeout or meal out once a week.
I truly don't think she has an eating disorder - just that the lack of junk food in our house doesn't suit a growing teenager who needs more calories. Possibly studying for her exams may have meant that she focused less on eating well. Now it is the holidays, it might come back on.
Regarding the no periods - I told her we would give it a couple of weeks after exams and then take her to the doctor. Hopefully the lack of stress will give her body a chance - but maybe it is actually the weight?
Anyone else seen period issues with teen daughters?
I would take her to be seen now due to the weight loss. It could well be that its the weight loss that has caused her periods to stop.
Okay, I'll go there. Are you completely sure she's not pregnant?
I almost posted the same kind of thread as my teen (turning 15 tomorrow) has missed her period for the last 3 months. She eats as you describe in your OP and the only difference with my DD is that she hasn't lost weight. Also Very Much Not Pregnant.
I'm not going to be helpful but just to say we're in the same boat and I'm giving her to the end of the month for it to appear and if not I'm off to the doctors.
How old was she when she started her periods? My DD started in June 16 and I'm hoping it's just a blip of hormones...but she's always been extremely regular so I'm trying to not let her know I'm secretly worried.
Could entirely be down to stress and anxiety. Was she stressed over exam time? Sleeping okay?
Maybe stress??Weight loss and missed periods can be stress related. I can eat like a pig but if I get stressed weight falls off of me regardless of how much I’m eating and it’s really noticeable as I’m all ready of a slight build. It can also make my periods a bit hit and miss.
I agree though with a PP, I would go to the Doctors with her as it could be something else like an overactive thyroid.
Also, yes, does she have a BF and could possibly be pregnant?
My best friend at high school was like this. No periods. Weight loss. Eating healthy. Turns out she was hiding food and not eating anything at all. Just filling up in water. Her mum & dad were in complete denial for ages.
I would get this checked out by your GP.
I’m a food scientist and there are a couple of red flags for me (as a 16 year old). She doesn’t eat desserts, she avoids white carbs (is she eating any wholemeal carbs)? She avoids sugar. It’s a bit concerning that at only 16 she’s already being selective with food.
At her age she should be consuming 1,800 - 2,400 calories a day. If she’s avoiding carbs she may struggle.
Can you carefully monitor what she is actually eating at home? I have a friend who makes a huge show of being 'starving' and says, 'Mmm - I love chips and dips,' or, 'Pizza - my favourite!' when I meet her socially but actually she nibbles three nacho chips the entire night, making a big fuss of how many she's eaten and how full she feels, and people think she's one of those lucky people who eats like a horse and is rake thin. She's not. She has an eating disorder.
Does your DD play with her food? Does she claim loudly that something is delicious and get everyone to notice how much she's enjoying it then steer their attention elsewhere? Does she fill her plate with lettuce leaves (you can fill a dinner plate and still only reach 12 calories) then eat those and leave the small amounts of richer foods she put on her plate, having chopped or mashed them, so they look like left overs?
Does she eat breakfast with you/in front of you or appear to have eaten breakfast (you can shake crumbs from the toaster, smear a bit of butter on the corner of a plate, leave a few grains of cereal in the base of a bowl and appear to have eaten without touching a thing.)
I must admit, I would be worried. However you frame it she is restricting her intake; avoiding sugar/ white carbs etc. Her weight has dropped to a point at which it isn't working properly ie lack of periods which is of course a worry.
It doesn't mean she definitely had an eating disorder but you should go with her to Dr to discuss. If she doesn't want to go that is even more of a worry.
To put the other side of the story ; I was a healthy but slim teenager. Exam worry would drop the few pounds that would mean the crucial difference to my periods happening quite easily. I had a healthy relationship with food and ate what I was given. My mother used to bulk up my diet if she thought I was looking thin with cream on a banana or cheese and biscuits after a meal. It always righted itself rapidly.it can be nothing to worry about but because AN is such a serious disease you should present her medically to the doctor as soon as the thought crosses your mind as early diagnosis and treatment is of great benefit. No harm done if she hasn't got disordered eating.
I am sure she is not pregnant. She doesn't have a boyfriend.
I guess the not eating sugar thing is a worry - but she will have special occasions desserts, birthday cakes etc. She's not especially strict about it. She also has a supply of 70% chocolate that she eats daily.
Today she has had a bowl of bran flakes for breakfast (she eats it dry), two poached eggs on two slices wholemeal toast for lunch.
Dinner will be before mince with tomatoes and a huge quantity of vegetables. I might also do some cous cous.
She will also eat a mango, raspberries, strawberries and grapes as snacks throughout the day.
This is fairly typical. She made her lunch and breakfast herself - she wouldn't bother if she wasn't hungry. Most of the food restriction is surrounding controlling her acne.
I'm very aware of disordered eating signs (I suffered myself) and I do everything I can to make eating food a normal thing - but to focus on quality.
For context she is around 5 foot 4 and around a size 6-8 woman's sizing. But she can easily wear children's size aged 12.
her periods started at around 13, but off and on for a year before settling. She seems to have stopped developing over the last few months too. No hips or breast growth beyond what happened last year. At her age I was bursting out all over the place!!
I think I will give it till the end of the month and then go to the doctor if her period isn't returned.
I don’t think that’s enough calories for her age.
If she made her own breakfast and lunch - did you actually see her making and eating them?
That doesn't sound like enough calories. No where near in fact. Can you introduce some more healthy fats?
She’s not consuming enough calories. A girl that age should be eating 1,800 - 2,400.
If she ate yesterday:
Breakfast - A bowl of bran flakes (why dry? That’s strange) = circa 144 calories
Lunch - 2 poached eggs on toast = circa 450 calories
Dinner - mince with vegetables = circa 350 calories
Obviously that all depends on portion size.
You daughter ate less than a 1,000 calories that day.
At that rate she’ll be loosing 2 LB a week. Your daughter is controlling her food intake.
That is nowhere near enough food, and it seems v likely she won't be getting enough iron or calcium either- she's eating a low calorie, low carb diet: it's pretty disastrous at that age.
I would take her to the doctor with a filled out food diary and suggest a dietician. Are you influencing the low carbing? Is there a reason for this?
She's also eating far more fruit than veg, presumably because the sugar in that is helping her get through blood sugar lows and hunger from not eating enough. If her periods have stopped due to this you need to act now- teens who are underweight and not getting enough calcium in addition to risks of eating disordered also raise their risk of osteoporosis in later life.
Thank you for your feedback. I think you're probably all right. I'm going to start adding carbs back into the evening meal and provide a more rounded variety of snacks.
She can't eat dairy hence the dry cereal. But will sometimes have oat or coconut milk.
There are certain things I know she can't resist like fresh bread that will tempt her to eat more.
I truly don't think this is purposeful on her part. She's very normal around eating. She just prefers to eat in a way she sees as healthy. But I guess we need to accept it might not be as healthy as we thought for a teenage girl at least.
I had a close friend with severe anorexia as a teen, and it all started with a focus on health. She was very sensible, and everyone assumed at the start that it must be accidental, or stress related, but ultimately the stress was triggering her to try and exert control in one area and this became a very serious full blown eating disorder.
This may not be what's happening now but do be mindful- it took my friends mother a v long time to see what was happening and she also spoke openly about how my friend was making them all eat healthier at a point where it was pretty clear it had slipped into disordered eating.
For a teenage girl, cutting out dairy without serious thought to managing calcium seems unwise, I really do think it's worth seeking out a dietician -not a nutritionist, someone with proper qualifications and possibly experience working with teens- to talk through healthy ways to ensure what's missed from dairy is made up in other ways. It's easy to do but a bowl of dry all bran is not a balanced meal, and there are lots of little tricks about incorporating certain beans and pulses and high calcium fruit and veg that will stand her in good stead long term if this is an allergy she'll be dealing with forever or a long term decision to remove a food group.
If se's genuinely interested in her own health, and eating to promote good health then she'll recognise that stopping periods is a sign of very poor nutrition and health planning.
Can you get her to eat some nuts? Full of protein but very high calorie for tiny amounts of them.
If you make your own bread, can you add buttermilk and oil or butter to the mixture, and maybe some seeds or nut flours too, as they are dense in calories.
Totally hijacking but I have a dd who is in y10, 5 foot 8 and size 6. She started her periods in y8 (just over 2 years ago) and she's not regular yet. She is taller and heavier than in y8, very fit and struggles to eat much certainly not the 1800-2400 calories that somebody mentioned.
Should I be worried that she's still irregular? Unlike OP's dd mine isn't losing weight and doesn't avoid stuff like carbs and sugar.
Jeez, get some spaghetti bol in there.
And, sorry, but I think you are part of the problem: ‘we avoid white carbs’. She should not be paying such selective attention to her diet. I think you are diet focussed and she has absorbed that.
Why have you encouraged a growing teenager to "avoid white carbs" - she's not an adult on a diet, she's a teenage girl who needs calories to grow and be healthy!
Take her to the GP straight away and request to be referred to the local eating disorders team. She will be seen for an assessment within 2 weeks depending on urgency when the team work out her weight to height percentage. I understand you have struggled yourself and try to set good examples to your daughter but the fact she is already selective about food and certain food groups may need to be explored. Introducing carbs back into her diet is great but what happens if she can’t complete the meals or starts to compensate in other ways. It can be really scary to think that there may be a problem but with early intervention and support from a specialist ED team it dosent have to be a lifelong struggle. Please don’t leave it til the end of exams and don’t accept “bring her back to be weighed in a few weeks” from the GP. I work in CAMHS eating disorders FWIW.
Before DC I could fit intonage 12 clothes but I’m very tiny, much smaller than 5’4”. I’d say that if she can fit into age 12 clothes she won’t be having periods because she is very underweight.
You’ve had some great advice already, I’d just like to suggest giving her a decent calcium supplement especially as she doesn’t have dairy.
Just wondering how you are both getting on now @rememberthetime