The Effects of Bulimia on the Body The Effects of Bulimia on the Body

The Effects of bulimia on the Body

Bulimia nervosa is a mental health disorder that puts enormous strain on the body and the spirit.

Many people with bulimia engage in compulsive exercising to control weight. Read more.

Hiding evidence of binges and purging aids are signs of bulimia. Read more.

Preoccupation with weight and appearance are symptoms of bulimia. Read more.

Frequent bingeing and purging can heighten feelings of depression, anxiety, and irritability. Read more.

The high acid content of vomit may cause tooth sensitivity and decay. Read more.

Excessive vomiting can cause pain and swelling of the throat. Read more.

Puffy cheeks may be the result of damaged salivary glands. Read more.

Blood in the vomit may indicate a ruptured esophagus. Read more.

You might not think scarred hands have anything to do with an eating disorder, but they tell a powerful story. Read more.

Overuse of laxatives can really mess up your digestive tract. Straining during bowel movements may leave you with painful hemorrhoids. Read more.

Purging can deplete your body of precious water. Read more.

A weakened heart has to work harder, increasing risk of heart failure. Read more.

A lightheaded, weak feeling may be due to low blood pressure. Read more.

Red eyes may be the result of forceful vomiting. Read more.

Bingeing and purging can rob you of your sex drive. Read more.

If bulimia is severe enough to stop ovulation, pregnancy is not possible. Read more.

Pregnant mothers who binge and purge put themselves and their babies at risk. Read more.

Compulsive Exercising
Mirror, Mirror
Tooth Decay
Facial Swelling
Scarred Hands
Dry Skin
Feeling Faint
Low Sex Drive
Complications in Childbirth
A Secret Life
Moody Blues
Sore Throat
Bloody Vomit
Irregular Heartbeat
Red Eyes
Trouble Conceiving

The Effects of Bulimia on the Body

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person creates a destructive pattern of eating in order to control their weight. People with bulimia tend to go on eating binges, consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time. This is usually followed by an attempt to rid the food from their body using laxatives or self-induced vomiting. This behavior is usually carried out in secret, taking a tremendous emotional toll.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, up to 3 percent of the population has bulimia. Roughly 9 out of 10 people with bulimia are female.

In addition to mental stress, continued bingeing and purging also puts great strain the body. Unlike the eating disorder anorexia, people with bulimia may not appear to have significant weight loss. However, complications due to bulimia are serious and can put your life at risk.

Mental and Emotional Health

Bulimia is a mental health disorder. People with bulimia tend to show signs of depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorders. They’re also at risk for substance abuse problems and suicidal behavior.

Constant monitoring of food and weight can become an obsession. A person with bulimia may binge in secret and hide evidence of food and laxatives. Having to keep secrets contributes to the cycle of stress and anxiety.

Bulimia may cause moodiness and irritability. Compulsive exercising or preoccupation with appearance are common symptoms. It’s not unusual for someone with bulimia to spend a lot of time thinking about food and how to control it. This may be accompanied by feelings of embarrassment and shame. It’s hard to measure the emotional cost.

Digestive System

A sore throat or stomach pain may be the first obvious physical side effects of bulimia.

Chronic self-induced vomiting can cause a variety of symptoms in the digestive tract, beginning at the mouth. The high acid content of vomit can damage teeth, causing enamel erosion, tooth sensitivity, and gum disease. Puffy cheeks or jaws come from swollen salivary glands. Excessive vomiting may cause a sore or swollen throat.

Acid can irritate or tear the esophagus. Blood in vomit may be a sign of a ruptured esophagus. The stomach also becomes irritated. Stomachaches, heartburn, and acid reflux are common.

Putting your finger down your own throat is one way that people with bulimia induce vomiting. Doing this over and over can scar the skin on your fingers and hands, due to exposure to acidity.

Another way to rid the body of food is to use diuretics, diet pills, or laxatives. Overuse of these products can make it difficult to have a bowel movement without them. Misdirected use of diuretics may also damage the kidneys. Damage to the intestines can cause bloating, diarrhea, or constipation. Straining to move your bowels can result in hemorrhoids.

Recurrent bingeing and purging is physically demanding and can bring on general weakness and fatigue.

Circulatory System

Frequent purging can cause dehydration, leading to dry skin, weak muscles, and extreme fatigue. Vomiting often can throw your electrolytes out of balance. Low levels of potassium, magnesium, and sodium are not uncommon. This is hard on the heart and can cause irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), weakened heart muscle, and heart failure.

Bulimia can cause low blood pressure, weak pulse, and anemia. Throwing up can be a violent event. The sheer force of it can even cause blood vessels in the eyes to rupture.

Reproductive System

Bulimia can interfere with your menstrual cycle or stop it altogether. A hormonal imbalance and fatigue can kill your sex drive. If the ovaries no longer release eggs, conceiving a child becomes impossible.

Pregnant women who continue to engage in bingeing and purging behaviors face additional complications for themselves and their babies. These include:

  • maternal high blood pressure
  • gestational diabetes
  • miscarriage
  • premature birth
  • breech birth
  • higher risk of C-section
  • low birth weight babies
  • birth defects
  • stillbirth
  • breastfeeding difficulties

Use of diuretics or laxatives during pregnancy may be harmful to your unborn baby.