Medical Complications of Bulimia
Bingeing and vomiting can cause numerous health problems which include:
- Dental problems, tooth decay, erosion of tooth enamel due to stomach acid caused by vomiting. A lack of vitamin D and calcium deficiency is another contributory factor.
- Mouth ulcers, sore throat and calluses on the fingers from purging.
- Constipation and/or diarrhoea, stomach pain and bloating.
- Tears in the oesophagus, possible gastric rupture, stomach erosion, perforation or rupture. Gastrointestinal Bleeding, which is bleeding into the digestive tract can all be caused by self-induced vomiting.
- Development of peptic ulcers and pancreatitis. This is when the digestive enzymes attack the pancreas. It can be caused by repeated stomach trauma such as vomiting, alcohol consumption or the excessive use of laxatives or diet pills. It is never a good idea to order anything over the internet or to take medication without the advice of a doctor.
- Dehydration – caused by the depletion or lack of intake of fluids in the body, or by restriction of carbohydrates and fat. Restriction/Starvation, vomiting and laxative abuse are the primary causes in sufferers of eating disorders. Symptoms include dizziness, weakness, or darkening of urine. It can lead to kidney failure, heart failure, seizures, brain damage and death.
- Dizziness, low blood pressure and fainting episodes.
- Fatigue and loss of energy.
- Amenorrhea (loss of menstruation) and irregular menstruation.
- Shortness of breath, chest pain and irregular heartbeat.
- Oedema which is caused by swelling of the soft tissues as a result of excess water accumulation. It is most common in the abdominal area of those suffering from bulimia (can be caused by laxative and diuretic abuse).
- Electrolyte imbalance due to the body being depleted of essential salts as a result of purging. Electrolytes are essential for the many bodily functions including, maintaining healthy teeth, joints and bones, regulating nerve and muscle impulses, kidneys and heart, blood sugar levels and the delivery of oxygen to the cells.
- Swelling of the face and cheeks (following self-induced vomiting).
- In extreme cases cardiac arrest and death.