Behaviors associated with eating disorders, such as binge eating and purging, can have serious health consequences including malnutrition, mental health problems and damage to the esophagus and teeth, according to University Hospitals of Cleveland. One of the major long-term complications of bulimia nervosa is malnutrition, due to electrolyte imbalance and insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals. Malnutrition puts the patient at risk for osteoporosis, heart disease and organ damage.Continue Reading
In rare cases, binging behaviors can cause gastric rupture due to overeating, reports the National Eating Disorders Association. Purging behaviors result in damage to the esophagus due to frequent reflux of hydrochloric acid from the stomach. Similarly, purging can cause erosion of the teeth due to the corrosive effect of stomach acids on tooth enamel. Bulimics also have an increased prevalence of stomach ulcers from frequent purging.
Bulimia nervosa is a mental health disorder, states Healthline. Consequently, compulsive binging and purging can result in negative effects on the patient's mood and self-image. Patients with bulimia tend to exhibit signs of comorbid mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. They also are at increased risk for developing substance abuse disorders and suicidal behavior. The effects of bulimia on mental health can be exacerbated by the need to hide repeated binging and purging episodes from friends and family.Learn more about Mental Health