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Causes of Bulimia
Symptoms of Bulimia
Treating Bulimia



How do you know if a family member or loved one is suffering from bulimia? There are certain warning signs that act as very good pointers. A person suffering from bulimia would do at least one of the following:

  • Exercise rigorously, even when she is sick, tired or injured.
  • Take to popping diet pills and laxatives or diuretics to lose weight
  • Withdraws into herself, and reduces her circle of friends and acquaintances Goes to the bathroom after a meal (this trip is to expel the food eaten by vomiting)
  • Bruised hands and knuckles from having to frequently hold on while throwing up
  • Have swollen cheeks or a swollen jaw
  • Eat large amounts in secret
  • Seem constantly depressed

Usually a person suffering from bulimia will do at least one, or a combination, of the activities mentioned above. If you have a loved one who does even one of these things, it would not hurt to find out what, if anything, is wrong, work out the situation accordingly.

In most cases, it takes parents and family members a while to figure out that something is seriously wrong. Kids being the way they are today, depressiveness, grumpiness, and an obsession for fitness is not taken too seriously initially.

Only when the symptoms prolong do they realize that something is indeed wrong. The good thing is that bulimia is treatable. Before we get into a discussion on treatment on treatment options, let us look at how bulimia impacts a patient’s body.

The Impact of Bulimia on the Human Body

Bulimia has a serious impact on the entire body. This is easily understandable. When you deprive the body of food and basic nutrients, you basically abuse the body, and the effect is manifested all across. May be they effect is not simultaneous, but the entire body is affected.


Bulimia causes severe depression and lowers a person’s self-esteem. The reduction of nutrient intake usually causes dizziness. Not only that, the binging also brings about a feeling of shame.


It causes a lowering of hemoglobin content. The lack of nutrients causes this, and the result is the patient becomes anemic.


Bulimia has multiple effects on the heart. It causes bradycardia or a lowering of the heart rate. Besides it can cause an irregular heart beat, low blood pressure, and a weakening of the cardiac muscles, thereby increasing the risk of a cardiac arrest and resultant heart failure.


Bulimia affects the intestines as well. The reduced food intake is the cause of constipation, and infrequent bowel movements. Bulimia also causes diarrhea, due to the intake of laxatives. This results in abdominal cramps.

Body Fluids

The low nutrient intake results in dehydration and lowering of essential nutrients like sodium and potassium in the body. Another effect of low nutrient intake is a lowering of the magnesium content.


The physical manifestation of bulimia can be seen clearly inside the mouth of the patient. Usually patients suffer from tooth decay and dental cavities, causing increased sensitivity to heat and cold. Besides, patients suffer from enamel erosion and gum disease.


The patient suffers from sore and swollen cheeks.


Bulimia causes stomach ulcers, which causes intense pain periodically.

Skin and Hair

The lack of proper nutrition causes the skin to be dry and abrasive. The hair becomes dry and brittle, and falls easily. As mentioned earlier, the knuckles become bruised due to frequently holding on to any given surface while vomiting.

Throat and Esophagus

The throat and esophagus become sore easily. It can also rupture and tear due to the pressure mounted on the walls while throwing up, causing the vomit to be tinged with blood. Repetitive vomiting also causes irritation in this area.


An imbalanced hormone regulation system can wreak havoc in the body. The most prominent effect seen is the irregularity or stoppage of the menstrual cycle. This is however not a permanent effect. The menstrual cycle can resume once the patient is treated, and does not really hamper the patient’s chances of pregnancy. However, for pregnancy to happen, the recovery has to be lasting.

However, a pregnant mother with bulimia is a different situation altogether. That situation can cause any of the following:

  • The mother may suffer a miscarriage. The chances of this happening are very high.
  • The baby may be stillborn.
  • If the baby is alive at birth, it will mostly be premature and underweight, and will need intense care and nutrition to bring it up to normalcy. Such a baby will mostly have a low score in the Apgar test. Apgar is a set of tests done to evaluate the health of a baby at birth.
  • Usually the baby comes out feet or buttocks first (breech), which is not the normal delivery position.
  • The chances of a normal delivery happening are slim if the mother is suffering from bulimia, as she wouldn’t have the required physical strength and stamina in the first place. A caesarian-section is the usual choice.
  • The mother continues to be depressed even after the birth of the baby.

Treating Bulimia >>

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