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.
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.
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.