Bulimia is a life-threatening eating disorder. It is characterized by binge eating followed by purges, which can be induction of vomiting, taking laxatives or diuretics, as well as excessive exercise. People with bulimia have an unrealistic body image, are obsessed with weight, and are quite self-critical. This problem is more common in women, especially in adolescence or early adulthood, which requires professional treatment that also covers the issue of mental health.
Common symptoms include fear of gaining weight and comments about it, negative self-image, bingeing, going to the bathroom immediately after eating food. Stained teeth, missed menstrual periods, abuse of exercise, drugs or alcohol, use of herbs or supplements to lose weight. Not eating in front of others and staying away from social activities, among other alarming behaviors.
Effects of bulimia on your body
Bulimia does not have a specific known cause, but there are factors that influence its development. For example, people who feel a strong need to meet society’s expectations or those who are influenced by the media are at higher risk. Also if you suffer from psychological and emotional problems, even several studies suggest that it could be genetic or hereditary. All this actually brings quite a few health complications and that is what we will talk about this time.
1-It can affect the digestive system
This cycle of binge eating and then getting rid of what you have consumed makes you feel very weak, that you have pain in your throat or stomach as the first effects. As the disorder progresses, the teeth will also begin to suffer, as it causes erosion of the enamel, tooth sensitivity and serious problems with the gums.
You may have puffy cheeks from inflammation in your salivary glands, heartburn, and acid reflux. Uncontrolled use of diuretics, laxatives, and diet pills could damage the kidneys. Bloating, diarrhea and constipation can also appear, you can even suffer from hemorrhoids.
2-Causes a hormonal imbalance
Experiencing these nutritional deficiencies can kill sexual desire, interfere with your menstrual cycle or stop it altogether, and if eggs are no longer released, pregnancy is not possible. In the case of women who are already pregnant and who continue with these episodes of overeating and then eliminating what is consumed in any way, it only causes more problems for the health of the woman and that baby that is on the way.
You will have high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, premature labor, or miscarriage. There is an increased chance of cesarean delivery, low-birth-weight babies, birth defects, or stillbirth. It is also quite common to go through breastfeeding difficulties and postpartum depression.
3-Affects the appearance of skin, nails and hair
Bulimia actually wreaks havoc on every system in your body, so your hair, skin, and nails are no exception. The locks become dry and frizzy, as well as you can begin to experience their fall. Another side effect is that your skin will feel dry or flaky, while your nails are brittle.
4-Affects the circulatory system
Frequent vomiting or evacuation causes dehydration, which leads to weak muscles and a lot of fatigue, the electrolytes that tend to disappear are potassium, magnesium and sodium. There may also be problems related to the heart. For example, an irregular heartbeat and a weakened heart muscle. On the other hand, the force of vomiting can cause the blood vessels in the eyes to break.
5-There is a distorted body image
The image they have about the body is very far from what is reality, although their thinness may be evident to others, these people continue to see themselves overweight every time they stand in front of a mirror. This is one of the aspects that most requires attention when starting treatment, it is essential to start working on improving that perception you have of yourself and what affects part of your life.
6-You may experience depression
When you have bulimia, you may experience anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive behaviors. The bad mood and irritability are due to a lack of vitamins, as well as that frequent control of diet and weight that becomes an obsession. Following the desire to achieve the ideal weight, many people become involved in substance use and this whole issue of keeping secrets contributes to guilt, stress or anxiety.
It is common for the patient with this type of disorder to prefer to be alone in order to avoid the problem, not to listen to the opinions of other people around them or perhaps they do not want them to know all the behaviors they are going through . This only makes the situation worse, both emotionally and to continue purging after eating. Psychotherapy in these cases is a very important part.
8-It can be life-threatening
On the one hand, depression can lead to suicidal thoughts, while all these alterations in each of your body’s systems make you exposed to a myriad of diseases that can easily be aggravated. Although managing bulimia tends to be a lifelong challenge, in reality if it can be overcome with proper treatment and the earlier the problem is detected, the greater the success.
Treatment usually requires medicine, therapy, and nutritional education. Especially the collaboration between doctors, family and friends. Some programs offer day treatment and others in-house, where care and support are received 24 hours a day. This depends on the individual patient and the severity of the situation.