The destructive consequences of bulimia

Feb 26, 2019

Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder which stems from psychological causes.

People with bulimia first eat a humongous amount of food and then induce vomiting or take laxatives and diuretics to purge their bodies from that food. They may also go hungry or exhaust themselves with excessive physical exercises in order to make up for their periods of binging. [1]

Such eating behavior has negative consequences on one’s physical and mental health, both short-term and long-term.


  1. Bulimia is deadly
  2. Short-term consequences
  3. Long-term consequences
  4. How to fight bulimia

Bulimia is deadly

The severity of this disorder must never be underestimated.

A lot of eating disorders, including bulimia, lead to comparatively more deaths than other mental disorders. [2]

Some estimates show that about 1.5% of women develop bulimia within their lifetime, but men can also be affected by it. [3] Around 50% of women recover from bulimia within ten years after being diagnosed, but some research suggests that 30% of those women encounter it again. [4] Such mode of behavior is harmful for the body, with its consequences manifesting themselves even after several years.

That is why it is important to maintain treatment and diet, along with changing eating habits and introduce a healthy mode of behavior even after recovering.

Russia still lacks any statistics on eating disorders, so a lot of people start to seek treatment only after the consequences to their health have become irreversible.

Short-term consequences

Bulimia has multiple short-term consequences. They include menostasis, or lack of menstruation, and anemia (blood deficiency), which can lead to constant fatigue. Also, patients may experience severe dehydration, constipation and an irregular heart rate.

People with bulimia can encounter several other symptoms and diseases:

  • disruption of the electrolyte metabolism, which can have a negative effect on all organs;
  • tooth decay and gum diseases;
  • intestine failure;
  • hair loss, dry skin;
  • sleeping disorders;
  • strokes and multi-organ failure.

Bulimia is associated with such damage to the whole body that a person might die without timely treatment.

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Long-term consequences

A lot of the short-term consequences disappear after combating the eating behavior. However, the risk of long term consequences after surviving a malnutrition period remains. The degree of such consequences depends upon the severity of the disorder and its length.


People with bulimia tend to consume foods with large amounts of sugar and fat and low amounts of protein. Even though they purge themselves from such food, traces of it remain in the body. It can lead to hyperglycaemia and even Type II diabetes. [5] The opposite is also true: women at risk of diabetes are more prone to developing bulimia, as they are more focused on eating than other people.

Brittle bones

Calcium deficiency during childhood and adolescence can lead to problems with bone health later in life. Women who experienced bulimia can develop osteopeny, a state when their bone density is below average, especially if they also had menostasis and calcium deficiency during the period of having the disorder. [6] Women who have both bulimia and anorexia are especially at risk. Transition to healthy eating after bulimia can improve bone health, but the risk of developing osteopeny and osteoporosis later in life remains.

Fertility disorders

Due to the lack of nutrients women with bulimia are at risk of developing oligomenorrhea, or lengthy intervals between menstruation. This has a negative effect on the ability to  become pregnant and have a child. After finishing treatment of bulimia they need time for their monthly cycle to recover, so that the possibility of pregnancy can be reestablished. [7]

However, even during pregnancy women are at risk of redeveloping bulimia. As their weight increases, so does the feeling of hunger. This can lead to relapse.

Other long-term consequences of bulimia include problems with teeth, high cholesterol levels and damage to the mucous membrane of the digestive tract.

How to fight bulimia

A lot of people think they can handle bulimia themselves. This is a dangerous misconception. The best way to solve the problem is to seek specialized treatment. There are many ways to “defeat” bulimia and return to eating healthily.

The earlier you start working on the problem, the less severe will be the consequences.

One of the most efficient and trusted methods is changing your mode of behavior.

Methods of 7Spsy behavior modification technique will help you live happily without bulimia.

After this course you will become able to satisfy yourself with small portions of food and enjoy eating, instead of suffering from guilt after overeating and searching for ways to purge.

The course is designed for 2-6 weeks and is individually composed by our psychologists after diagnostic testing for each patient.

Information from this website cannot be used for self-therapy and self-diagnostics. 

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