When sudden weight loss isn’t anorexia
When someone experiences sudden, rapid weight loss, it is pretty common for others to worry that person may have an eating disorder. This is especially true for public figures like actress Jenny Mollen, who took to Instagram to clear the air of her own recent weight loss in a shocking way last week.
In a post showing her nude body, Mollen says she isn’t suffering from anorexia like many may think. Instead, she is potentially living with another dangerous disease.
Not anorexia, it’s a thyroid issue. I don’t know what it says about me that I got this thin and didn’t think there was anything wrong. Last Friday, I had a bulge in my neck that finally got me to the doctor. I’m STILL waiting on blood work but my doc thinks it’s Graves. If you just had a baby and have lost an inordinate amount of weight, feel like you are on cocaine, are suddenly heat intolerant, can’t stop losing hair, and think your husband is being a dick it might just be your thyroid!! Get checked ASAP #thyroid #6monthspostpartum
“Not anorexia, it’s a thyroid issue … My doc thinks it’s Graves’,” she wrote, cautioning that she is still waiting on blood work for confirmation.
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder caused by an overfunctioning thyroid gland. In the United States, Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, which can cause people to lose weight even though they may be eating more than normal.
The distinction is important for not just Mollen, but those who have lived with eating disorders or Graves’ disease. Sudden weight loss in women is strongly associated with how people understand anorexia, despite the fact that many who live with anorexia do no develop the kind of skeletal frame people imagine until they are in the most severe stages of the mental illness.
Mollens, who recently had her second child with husband Jason Biggs, first went to the doctor after noticing a bulge on her neck. This is often a sign of the thyroid within the neck becoming swollen due to Graves’.
The actress says she decided to share the shocking image to raise awareness of Graves’ disease and encourage people to pay attention to any changes in their body, especially after giving birth.
“If you just had a baby and have lost an inordinate amount of weight … are suddenly heat intolerant, can’t stop losing hair, and think your husband is being a d–k it might just be your thyroid!! Get checked ASAP,” Mollen wrote.
The American Thyroid Association says the most common signs of hyperthyroidism include:
- Muscle weakness and pain
- Bulging eyes
- Racing heart or palpitations
- Hand tremors
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Oily skin
- Changes in bowel movements
- Difficulty sleeping