Bulimia Nervosa: Warning Signs, Physical Consequences, and Risk Factors
Bulimia Nervosa involves frequent episodes of binge eating almost always followed by purging and intense feelings of shame or guilt. Usually the individual feels out of control and recognizes that their behavior is abnormal but cannot stop.


By understanding the danger signals of Bulimia Nervosa, you can help a loved one get the treatment they need.


Danger Signals:

  1. Bingeing, or eating uncontrollably. Generally, a person binges if they eat more than what is typically normal in one sitting.
  2. Purging can be done in multiple ways to feel one has made up for the extra food they have consumed.
  3. Using the bathroom frequently after meals
  4. Preoccupation with body weight
  5. Depression or mood swings
  6. Irregular periods
  7. Developing dental problems, swollen cheek glands, heartburn, and/or bloating.
  8. Experiencing personal or family problems with alcohol or drugs


If you recognize these signs in a loved one and believe they need help it is important to either approach them about the problem or confide in a trusted professional. If left untreated, Bulimia Nervosa can have lasting physical damage.


Physical Complications:

  1. Gastrointestinal problems: irritation of esophagus, stomach, salivary glands, and throat from persistent vomiting.
  2. Dependency on laxatives due to weakening of intestinal muscles
  3. Damaged or discolored teeth: gastric acids erode enamel
  4. Lung irritation: Choking while vomiting cause food particles to lodge in lungs, causing inflammation.
  5. Chronic loss of bodily fluids: depletes blood potassium, sodium and chloride levels, resulting in muscle spasms, weakness, irregular heartbeat, and kidney disease.