Bulimia Side Effects – The Consequences of Binging and Purging

The abuse the body goes through because of this eating disorder can be horrific. Many people make jokes about bulimia. It really isn’t something to joke about. Bulimia can be deadly if it is not treated fast enough.

The Side Effects of Bulimia

At first, the side effects are less obvious:

Laxative use causes the bulimic person to have diarrhea. They will have some stomach aches. It isn’t obvious because this happens to everybody


Vomiting causes halitosis. They will have bad breath or always have minty breath because of constant use of breath fresheners.

Weight loss – In the beginning, there will be some weight loss. It isn’t as extreme as with anorexia nervosa and might be explained away.

Dizziness and weakness – This is caused by inadequate nutrition.

As time goes on, the side effects worsen:

Constant stomach aches and diarrhea

Tooth enamel starts to wear away because of stomach acids and nutritional deficiencies.

Bones weaken for lack of calcium causing osteoporosis.

Hair, skin and nails become dry and unhealthy. They will begin to lose their hair. This is also because of nutritional deficiency.

Low red blood cell count lowers extremely causing anemia.

The immune system weakens. This makes them susceptible to all manner of illness. Recovering from some illnesses may be impossible due to their compromised immune system.

The esophagus, vocal chords, and stomach are damaged. Even if the person suffering from bulimia tries NOT to vomit, they may not be in control anymore. They may have stomach ulcers. The esophagus eventually erodes.

Irregular heartbeat


Organ damage is caused by stress on the body and the starvation response.

Constant use of laxatives damages the intestines and constipation ensues. This can cause toxicity system wide.

If diuretics are used, the kidneys can be damaged beyond repair and they will have blood pressure complications.

Menstruation ceases because of hormonal imbalances. A woman may not be able to conceive and if she does, she is likely to miscarry.

The psychological effects are depression, mood swings, lower self esteem, and anxiety. They may refuse to eat with family and friends.

The list is a scary one. This is not a disorder that should ever be taken lightly. If you have strong suspicions about a loved one, do not wait! Confront them and get them to a doctor. There is only so much loved ones can do, but you must try. They have to do all the work but they need you for support.

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