Long Term Effects of Bulimia

woman laying in bed holding stomach in discomfort

How Bulimia Affects the Body

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by a person’s behavior of binge eating, followed by another episode of purging to rid the body of what was previously consumed. While this form of disordered eating can take a toll on your mental and emotional health, it can also wreak havoc on your body over time. Here’s what you should know.

Adverse Health Effects of Bulimia Nervosa

Because bulimia nervosa is characterized by periods of binge eating followed by purging, the condition often includes behaviors like vomiting and abusing laxatives. While these behaviors can be uncomfortable at the moment, they can also damage your body when the behavior is prolonged in the following ways.

Tooth decay

Because the contents of your stomach are incredibly acidic, with repeated vomiting, it can cause the enamel of your teeth to discolor and wear away over time. This can lead to costly dental procedures and even the loss of your teeth altogether.

Acid Reflux

After prolonged periods of vomiting, the door that closes off your esophagus from your stomach (the esophageal sphincter) becomes damaged. This damage eventually will allow for your stomach acid to enter your esophagus, causing acid reflux. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can also severely damage the lining of your throat.

Digestive Health Issues

In cases when laxatives are used as a form of purging, people can become dependent on using laxatives to have bowel movements. In more severe cases, once your intestines are unable to pass excrement on their own, you may require colon resection or even a colostomy bag.

It is also important to slowly wean yourself off of these purging methods because abruptly stopping laxative use can cause electrolyte imbalances as well as renal shut-down.

Seeking Help at Tapestry

At Tapestry, our treatment programs are dedicated to understanding our clients as whole people with varied life experiences. Whether you have questions about mental health or how to support a loved one struggling with their mental health, we are here for you. Contact us today by filling out a confidential form or give us a call at (844) 299-1343.
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