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Underweight, small body structure, not able to gain weight, abnormal bowel movements

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 2011
Answered : 5139 Questions
Hello, I have concerns about my daughter, She is 23 years old with the body structure of a 12 year old and is underweight...she seems not able to gain weight no matter what in all these years she is around 90lbs and in addition to that does not have what i feel is normal bowel movements. she only has them around her period....please advise.....
Posted Tue, 22 May 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Aashish Raghu 1 hour later
Hi there.

Thanks for the query.

Did your daughter have any trouble growing up like failure to gain weight or height at the right time ?

Did she suffer from chronic childhood illnesses like diarrhea, respiratory infections etc. ?

Does she have delayed cycles of any other menstrual disturbances ?

Is she anxious, has hand tremors, sweats excessively, has disturbed sleep at night ?

Kindly do mention her height so that I can plot her Body Mass Index value. The weight seems to be pretty low though. There could be many causes for failure to gain weight. Most of the time it is constitutional due to her genes and hereditary factors but one must always rule out other conditions which can cause the same like parasite infestation, connective tissue disorders, blood problems, digestion problems due to Gluten sensitivity or Malabsorption, hormonal disorders etc.

If she has diarrhea it is possible she could be having malabsorption diseases or parasite infestation, both of which can cause failure to gain weight.

Since she gets less frequent bowel motion it needs to be taken care of. Make sure her diet is free from junk food, fatty and oily food as these can cause constipation. Eat plenty of proteins, calcium and fresh fruits and XXXXXXX leafy vegetables. Drink plenty of water. Do daily moderate exercise. You may give her 2 table spoons of Ispaghulla husk in a glass of water everyday to facilitate normal bowel movement. Do this only if she has constipation.

Get routine blood tests to see if hemoglobin value is low. Get urine and stool tested for parasites, blood, infection. According to these preliminary test results and her clinical features there would be some light shed on what may be the cause for her problems.

Kindly do respond to my queries for me to be in a better position to help.

I hope I have answered your query. I will be available to answer your follow up queries.

Wishing good health.


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