Bulimia Nervosa Health Risks Span the Entire Body

There are many serious health risks associated with bulimia. Bingeing and purging, particularly recurrent and/or chronic episodes, have profound negative effects on the body’s systems.

Specific health risks of bulimia include:

  • Cardiac complications (irregular heartbeat and heart failure stemming from electrolyte imbalances such as potassium, sodium, and chloride)
  • Dehydration
  • Edema (stemming from periods of purging cessation)
  • Ulcers, pancreatitis
  • Esophageal inflammation and/rupture, acid reflux (resulting from vomiting)
  • "Bulimia teeth" or tooth decay and staining (caused by stomach acids/frequent vomiting)
  • Digestive irregularity (chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation, sometimes stemming from laxative abuse)
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness (from over-exercise or electrolyte imbalances)
  • Risks associated with diabulimia (manipulating insulin for weight loss in Type 1 Diabetics), including organ damage and peripheral neuropathy

Recovery from Bulimia is Possible With Treatment

Bulimia side-effects and health risks can be serious and long-lasting — even life-threatening. Help is available at Eating Recovery Center — at specialized eating disorder clinics around the nation.

Bulimia treatment includes both medical and psychiatric intervention as well as the support of a specially-trained dietitian to ensure that you are safely transitioning to healthy, life-sustaining nourishment. And lastly, intensive therapy is needed so that you can learn and adopt new, effective coping behaviors.

If you or someone you know is suffering from bulimia, please call 877-825-8584 to schedule a free consultation with an Eating Recovery Center Masters-level clinician. All calls are confidential.

Learn More About Bulimia Nervosa

What is bulimia?

Although research about bulimia is ongoing, there is a lot you can learn about this eating disorder to understand how to get help or help a loved one. Learn more about bulimia, including the causes, symptoms and available treatment options.

What causes bulimia?

As with other eating disorders, bulimia has no singular cause. However, the evolving scientific literature suggests that this pattern of disordered eating develops from a complex interplay between genetic, psychological and sociocultural factors.

What are the health risks associated with bulimia?

There are many health risks associated with bulimia. Learn about the short-term and long-term risks to understand the effects of this disorder.

How is bulimia treated?

Bulimia treatment is unique to each patient’s needs. Medical stabilization, psychiatric stabilization, nutritional rehabilitation and weight restoration (when appropriate) are considered when determining a patient’s treatment plan.

Learn about bulimia facts and statistics.

There are many misconceptions about bulimia, including the fact that it is simply vomiting after meals.

Do I have Bulimia? Take our Bulimia Quiz.

If you or a loved one struggle with some of the symptoms described here, it may be worth speaking with a clinician and considering treatment options.

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