Bulimia or bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person eats a lot of food in one meal, sometimes even twice or thrice the normal food amount, after which he tries to make himself feel sick or drink laxatives so that they vomit all the food they have just eaten and do not put on weight by any chance. This disorder is more common in women as compared to men. More and more people are suffering from this problem in recent times.
Bulimia is a problem which begins when a person’s feelings are controlled by food. Binge eating helps the person to get some temporary relief from the emotional stress and tension that he is going through. However, the disturbing feelings and stress returns to the individual after a while. If this disorder is treated in a proper manner, the person gets a long-lasting relief and learns to control his feelings and emotions.
The main causes of this disease have been found out to anxiety, no self-esteem, feeling of being lonely and even depression. Emotional distress is also seen among the patients of bulimia. A person may experience such emotions after having faced the death of a close one, having to start a new job suddenly or going through physical and sexual abuse in childhood days.
Bulimia is not only harmful for the body and the intestine in general, but a number of side effects are also associated with it which can prove to be quite dangerous for a person. Thus it is recommended to treat a patient who is suffering from this disease at the earliest.
Side Effects Of Bulimia
Pale and Dry Skin
The skin of a bulimic patient becomes extremely pale and dry and seems to be lifeless. No amounts of moisturizing creams or lotion help to make the skin come back to normal.
Another common side effect of bulimia is continuous hair loss and decrease in the bodily temperature of the person. He may feel extremely weak from inside as the muscles start to weaken and drains the inner strength of a person completely. The face may become very swollen.
Organ and Dental Damage
The major organs in the body like the kidney, heart and lungs get severely affected due to bulimia. A person may experience an irregular heartbeat which can lead to heart attack and the kidney may get damaged and stop functioning normally. Ulcers develop in the stomach and the person may have a lot of difficulty in sleeping at night.
Dental damage refers to that kind of a damage which is seen inside the mouth, tongue, teeth and gums of a bulimic patient. It is because of the face that the patient vomits repeatedly every day; almost all his teeth get destroyed. The stomach throws back hydrochloric acid into the mouth when a person vomits and this acid is capable of destroying the enamel on our teeth, leading to their decay.
Due to repeated intake of food and then vomiting it out, the body’s digestive system gets absolutely ruined and damaged.
The person has very irregular bowel movements and faces too much of constipation. The patient’s weight also varies drastically and initial weight loss may give way to a lot of weight gain in the future.
The immunity of a bulimic patient is quite low and he may become very susceptible to diseases in the body. His body may no longer be able to fight off diseases and the red blood cells level may decrease drastically. Also various types of hormonal imbalance are seen in a bulimic patient, which may give rise to abnormalities in the body.
A women patient may have irregular menstrual cycles and may skip her cycle for many months consecutively. If the problem aggravates a lot, a woman may not be able to conceive a child. The risk of miscarriage and premature birth increases even if a woman is able to conceive.
Because the body vomits out whatever it takes in, a bulimic patient becomes absolutely deficient in vitamins and minerals and a feeling of tiredness and fatigue surrounds him at all times. His salivary glands may also enlarge in size and the vocal chords get damaged. The patient may suffer from osteoporosis in more severe cases.
Psychological Side Effects
A bulimic patient experiences such feelings which are very extreme and beyond his control. Mood swings and
depression are common among such patients.
They may avoid eating in the company of other people and prefer to spend most of their time alone. Such patients are very obsessed about food and constantly think about it.
Effect of Laxatives
A bulimic patient uses laxatives or other such means to vomit out the food he has just eaten. This may give rise to inflammation in the chronic intestine of the patient’s body and the body’s system becomes toxic in nature.
Effect of Diuretic
A few patients take diuretics instead of laxatives, which can prove to be more harmful than laxatives.
The kidney gets completely damaged and stops working gradually. The body fluids become stagnant in nature. The blood pressure of the patient fluctuates from time to time and may prove dangerous for the patient.
Bulimic patients are capable of injuring themselves to a great extent. They may have suicidal tendencies from time to time and try to end their life. It is important to keep them under constant medical supervision if such tendencies develop.
Studies reveal that many patients get addicted to drugs and alcohol and use them to control their emotions and even use them to deal with the various types of bodily complications that they are facing. A bulimic patient’s body is susceptible to various kinds of diseases and alcohol and drug abuse only aggravates the problem, causing serious complexities in the body.
Another common side effect is hypothermia or feeling very cold all the time. These kinds of patients feel cold even in normal conditions. The reason behind this is that the body becomes very weak and the immune system almost stops working, making the person unable to withstand any change in temperature.