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Effects of Bulimia: Bulimia Side Effects

Detailed info on effects of bulimia; physical, medical, psychological. Includes bulimia side effects, risks of bulimia, dangers of bulimia.

The effects of bulimia nervosa, a dangerous eating disorder, can sometimes be deadly. The cycle of binging and purging can affect major bodily functions like digestion and fertility. The overeating, associated with bulimia binging, dangerously stretches the stomach while bulimia purging affects the gums, teeth, esophagus and other parts of the body. Bulimia side effects include a wide range of physical and psychological effects; some, of which, can be life-threatening.

General Effects of Bulimia

Easily identifiable effects of bulimia nervosa are found in the mouths and on the extremities of bulimics. Bulimic purging through vomiting damages the teeth through decalcification. This weakens and erodes teeth often causing cavities. The effects of bulimia in the mouth also extend to mouth trauma and sores. Hands are often used by bulimics to induce vomiting. The dangers of bulimia to hands include bruises, calluses, scarring and general injury.

Other risks of bulimia include:

  • Swelling due to the use of laxatives or diuretics
  • Muscle weakness, near paralysis
  • Loss of subcutaneous fat
  • Feeling cold (hypothermia)
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies causing involuntary muscle spasm
  • Broken blood vessels in the eyes (from the strain of vomiting)
  • Dehydration
  • Breathing vomit into the lungs
  • Impaired kidney function, kidney damage
  • Seizures

Stress placed on the heart, lungs, kidneys and other systems by bulimia can ultimately result in death.

Risks of Bulimia on the Heart

Bulimia side effects on the heart, lungs and kidneys are some of the most serious and can result in the need for immediate medical intervention. One of the effects of bulimia is abnormally low potassium levels in the blood and this can lead to irregular heartbeats known as heart arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are a danger of bulimia that can lead to heart attack, heart failure, heart rupture and heart muscle damage, and ultimately, death.

Last Updated: 14 May 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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