Effects of Bulimia on The Body
Like all eating disorders, bulimia is a serious illness. This can lead to permanent harm and death.
Bulimia is characterized by eating large quantities of food or binging, then trying to lose calories through what's called a purge. These behaviors can include vomiting or excessive exercise , as well as the use of diuretics or laxatives. These behaviors could cause damage to your entire body.
Bulimia also affects your brain and is often linked to mental health problems like anxiety and depression .
But you can get help. You have many options for stopping the cycle of purging and binging. To ensure your safety, make sure that you have a doctor help with these exercises.
Bulimia's Physical Effects
Your body can be damaged by the cycle of purging and binging. This can damage everything, including your heart, digestive system and teeth. You may also experience other issues, like:
Dehydration. You can dehydrate your body when you drink too many diuretics or throw up.
Electrolyte imbalances. You can lose electrolytes if you are very dehydrated. They include chemicals like sodium and potassium. They are essential for maintaining the correct amount of fluid in your cells and organs. A deficiency in electrolytes can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease and death.
Heart issues. They can be accompanied by a fast, fluttering or pounding of the heart (called palpitations), and an abnormal rhythm in your heart, known as an arrhythmia.
Low blood pressure. You might faint if your blood pressure drops too low.
Problems with regulating your body temperature. If you aren't eating enough, your body can experience a drop in temperature. It is possible to feel constantly cold.
You can cause damage to your esophagus. You can tear the lining of the esophagus (the tube connecting your stomach and your throat) if you forcefully vomit. It can also cause serious and potentially life-threatening bleeding if it breaks. Mallory Weiss syndrome is the term. A sign of the syndrome is bright red blood cells in your stool.
Burst esophagus. You can also burst your esophagus by repeatedly vomiting. Boerhaave Syndrome is another name for this. This is an urgent condition that requires immediate surgery.
Acid reflux. If the lower end of your stomach is damaged, acid reflux can occur. This can cause heartburn and indigestion.
Other digestive problems. Bulimia may permanently cause damage to your stomach or intestines.
Hormonal disorders. Side effects of bulimia include irregular or missed periods as well as fertility problems.
There is a diabetes connection. If you have type 1 diabetes and an eating disorder, you may also have a condition that has been called diabulimia. People with diabetes that need insulin, but take less to lose weight, are known as diabulimia. These actions can result in serious health problems such as death, coma, stroke and other complications.
Tooth decay. Teeth can become sensitive to temperature and hot due to acidic stomach acids in vomit. Probleme with your mouth. Stomach acid can cause gum disease and discoloration. Purging your stomach acid can cause soreness and painful sores around the throat. Bulimia may also lead to an increase in salivary glands.
Ipecac-induced weakness or myopathy is also called muscle weakness. Some people make their own throwup with their fingers. Others may resort to ipecac syrup which can be used to cause vomiting. Too much of the ipecac syrup can result in permanent heart damage or even death.
"Bulimia face. Too much throwing up or swelling of the salivary glands can cause puffiness to your neck and face.
Hoarse voice. If you vomit frequently, stomach acid could irritate vocal chords. This can lead to hoarse voice.
Russell's sign. If you use your fingers regularly to make yourself throw up, your back can become discolored and callused. Russell's Sign is the name for this skin condition.
Nail problems, hair, and skin. Insufficient nutrients can lead to dry hair and nails. You may notice a breakage in your nails and hair, as well as hair becoming thinner. You might get small, broken veins around your eyes, reddened areas, and a purple rash from vomiting.
Pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is an inflammation that causes pain and nausea. It can be caused by malnutrition, purging or both.
Difficulties during pregnancy. Your chances of having a miscarriage, C-section or an early termination are increased by Bulimia. Your baby is also more likely to be born preterm, smaller, or with a birth defect. And it increases the odds that you'll have depression after the baby is born.
Bulimia: The Emotional and Mental Effects
You may also experience mental and physical health issues due to bulimia. These are some of the problems you might need to address:
- A low self-esteem
- Self-harm, such as cutting
- Obsessive-compulsive behaviours
- Guilty, shame or embarrassment
- Abuse of drugs and alcohol
- Suicidal thoughts and/or actions
You should immediately call 911 or your doctor if you are having thoughts of suicide or harming yourself. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255 for a free consultation. They will be happy to assist you.
It can take time to recover from bulimia. However, that shouldn't stop you getting treatment. There are many ways you and your family can get help if you want to. Set goals, stick to your plan, and you can be on your way to overcoming this eating disorder.