What does bulimia do to your body?

If you are suffering from bulimia, then you will be in significant emotional, mental, spiritual and physical pain. Bulimia is like an addiction – you will be compelled to binge and purge even when you don’t want to – even when you are trying not to. Many people who suffer from bulimia says they feel almost like a third entity is sitting on their shoulder – telling them to do something they consciously don’t want to. And let’s face it – throwing up is not something that the human body likes to do – but for many bulimics, it can be a kind of relief.

Healthline just published an infographic detailing the effects on the body of bulimia.  This is an interactive chart allowing you to see and understand the side effects you may want to learn more about. Scroll down to the end of this post to see the chart.

What exactly is bulimia?

Bulimia is an eating disorder where a person will gorge themselves with too much food (a binge) and then will purge the calories they have consumed, usually by throwing up, sometimes with laxatives and occasionally with excessive exercise. What constitutes a ‘binge’ will also vary person to person.

What all bulimics have in common is an unending sense of shame and fear, as well as significant physical discomforts. There are many books you can read which are about bulimia.

Three books that deal with bulimia, written by bulimics

  1. What is the Matter with Mary Jane? Sancia Robinson
  2. Good Girls do Swallow: Rachel Oaks Ash
  3. Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain: Portia de Rossi

The effects of bulimia on your health

Bulimia can have many effects on your body – both psychological and physical. Also, many bulimics are of normal weight or even overweight or obese – it is very difficult to tell a bulimic just by looking at them.

Jade Goody was a contestant on the UK version of Big Brother. She sadly passed away from cancer in 2009 after marrying Jack Tweed a month earlier. I was touched that she said she was holding a very public wedding in order to make money from the tabloids’ publishing of her photos – so she could give the money to her children for their future.

Jade Goody’s bulimia hell

In her book, Jade: My Autobiography she talks a lot about bulimia. She suffered from it quite badly, at one point describing throwing up a single biscuit. She had a very no-nonsense way of speaking as well, so I urge you to read the book if you’re interested.

There are some quite significant effects of bulimia on the body.

According to Healthline the physical effects of bulimia are:

  1. Tooth decay
  2. Facial swelling
  3. Dry skin
  4. Scarred hands
  5. Low sex drive
  6. Fertility problems
  7. Bloody vomit
  8. Irregular heartbeat
  9. Blood-shot eyes
  10. Haemorrhoids

Healthline also rightly points out that there are 4 main and significant ways that you will be affected when you suffer from Bulimia:

#1: Mental and emotional health

“People with bulimia tend to show signs of depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorders.”

#2: Digestive system

“Chronic self-induced vomiting can cause a variety of symptoms in the digestive tract, beginning at the mouth.”

#3: Circulatory system

“Bulimia can cause low blood pressure, weak pulse, and anemia. Throwing up can be a violent event.”

#4: Reproductive system

“Bulimia can interfere with your menstrual cycle or stop it altogether. Use of diuretics or laxatives during pregnancy may be harmful to your unborn baby.”

What to do if you suffer from bulimia

Treatments can vary and so can success rates. Healthline is a good resource to turn to for information and in Australia, you can go to The Butterfly Organisation for support and help.

Recovery can be a long road but most bulimics do recover. If you know of any resources, please post them below in the comments section. Many thanks.

The Effects of Bulimia on the Body

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