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Effects of Bulimia Nervosa

Dec 1, 2007
Effects of bulimia can be divided into long term and short term side effects.

Also you can then subdivide the side effects of bulimia to correspond with the system or the organs bulimia affects: e.g. mental, psychological problems, gastro-intestinal, cardio-vascular system, kidney, skin, bones and hormonal problems.

Now, let's look precisely at each of them separately.

First of all bulimia affects the sufferer psychologically. Some would say that psychological problems are the culprits that lead to bulimia and it is why people get bulimia in the first place.

So, what kind of psychological problems are common in most bulimia sufferers? Here the list of most common ones: poor body image, out of control feelings, depression, anxiety, unable to eat with others , constantly thinking about food (even dreaming about it), avoidance of other people, mood changes.

It is also not uncommon for bulimics to have different kinds of addiction as well, like alcohol, drugs, smoking etc. Being prone to an addictive nature is one of psychological traits of bulimics.

Mental effects of bulimia can include poor concentration, loss of memory, irritability and luck of coping strength and strategies.

Gastro-intestinal tract can also be affected badly especially in long-standing bulimia cases. These include problems with food digestions, constant reflux, stomach ulcers, aches and pains in the abdominal area, bloating, and esophageal problems.

Teeth get damaged from the ongoing contact with stomach acid. Salivary glands get enlarged as they need to work hard to cope with regular vomiting.
Bulimia effects on cardio-vascular system are irregular heart beats, possible heart blocks, and broken small blood vessels.

Long standing bulimia can cause weakening of the heart muscle and weakening of major blood vessels of the body.

Kidney can be damaged due to electrolytes deficiency caused by constant vomiting. In long standing cases of bulimia kidney disease is a high possibility.

Skin and bones get damaged mostly in long standing bulimia cases. Bulimics often have dry and cold to touch skin as body temperature decreases the longer one has bulimia.

Osteoporosis can be a side effect of bulimia for those who have it for many years.

Hormonal irregularities appear to be obvious in long-standing and short-standing bulimia. People complain of menstrual problems due to estrogens insufficiency. Adrenal glands can slow down producing hormones causing sleepiness, weakness of the whole body, lethargy and inactivity.

Ovaries start producing inadequate amount of sex hormones which can cause problems with conserving and carrying pregnancy full term.

Infertility, miscarriages, and low sex drive: all these problems could be relevant to long term bulimics.

And another important bulimia effect is immune system damage: it can occur after a few years of bulimia. People's reaction to a suppressed immune system can be having frequent colds, flu, tonsillitis or other infections anywhere in the body. Immune system damage could be a consequence of severe vitamins and mineral deficiency experienced by bulimics.

To sum it all up, bulimia has a number of dangerous side effects on the human body. Some of them appear sooner, some appear later as the disease progresses. It is important for anyone who has bulimia to stop the progression of their bulimia and don't let the severe effects of bulimia appear in the first place.

By educating yourself about the effects of bulimia you can avoid the dangerous long-term problems associated with this disease.
About the Author
Dr Irina Webster MD is the Director of Women Health Issues Program which covers different areas of Women Health. She is a recognised athority in the eating disorders area. She is an author of many books and a public speaker.
learn more about eating disorders at http://www.mom-please-help.com
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