How Bulimia Can Affect Your Physical Health

Girl suffering from bulimia eats dinner with dessert

Bulimia is a very serious eating disorder mainly characterized by a pattern of binging and purging to lose weight. But it’s more than just that. It can take an enormous toll on your emotional health. Additionally, the vicious cycle of binging and purging can result in serious health issues and potentially fatal conditions. A bulimia treatment plan can help you overcome this illness.

Your Digestive System

Stomach pain and/or sore throats are usually the most obvious effects of bulimia. However, as it progresses, chronic vomiting can lead to various symptoms, starting from the mouth and into the digestive tract. Eventually, the vomit’s high acid content can cause the teeth’s enamel to erode, gum disease, and tooth sensitivity. Aside from these ill effects, you may also experience inflamed salivary glands, puffy jaws and cheeks, stomach irritation and pain, bloody vomit, a ruptured or irritated esophagus, acid reflux, heartburn, intestinal damage, bloating, and constipation or diarrhea.

Sticking a finger down the throat is the most usual method bulimics use to induce vomiting, and doing this again and again can result in calluses in your knuckle area since it comes in contact with the teeth. This is known as “Russell’s sign.” It’s also common to see some scars in that area due to the vomit’s acidity. Aside from inducing vomiting, some people suffering from bulimia attempt to get rid of all the calories from the food they have binged on by using laxatives, weight loss pills, and diuretics. Overusing these products can make it hard for their bowels to get relief naturally. Improper use of diuretics might lead to kidney damage. In addition, strained bowel movements increase your risk of developing hemorrhoids.

woman earting pizza's

Your Circulatory System

Regular purging leads to dehydration that can result in extreme fatigue and weakened muscles. It can promote electrolyte imbalance and reduce your levels of sodium, magnesium, and potassium. It can also make your heart work harder than it has to, causing arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, or worse, heart failure. Additionally, bulimia weakens your pulse and causes anemia and low blood pressure.

Your Integumentary System

This system basically comprises your skin, nails, and hair. Bulimia can also affect these body parts. Dehydration from constant vomiting and other means of purging mean that your body isn’t capable of hydrating itself from the inside. Because of this, your nails will become brittle and your hair will become frizzy and dry. Some individuals even experience alopecia or hair loss due to dehydration and being malnourished. Your skin might also become itchy, scaly, and extremely dry.

Bulimia, along with anorexia nervosa, is among the most common and most severe eating disorders, not only due to the mental effects but negative physical effects as well. You need to understand that there’s absolutely no shame in seeking help for your eating disorder and that plenty of treatment options are available to you when you’re ready. While the road to recovery won’t be easy, it is important that you seek treatment as soon as possible so that you can begin your bulimia treatment plan and reduce further damage to your mental and physical health.

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