Bulimia Nervosa is a psychological disorder that has serious dental and medical side effects. Early intervention and treatment is critical in avoiding these devastating consequences.
As a practicing dentist for many years who has treated numerous patients with eating disorder, I have seen firsthand how tragic this disease can be. My team and I at Dental Health and Wellness Boston are passionate about raising awareness among physicians, dentists, patients, parents, coaches and of course those sufferings from this affliction in the hopes of helping to minimize the emotional and physical impact of the disorder.
The recurrent binge-and-purge cycles of bulimia can affect the entire digestive system and can lead to electrolyte and chemical imbalances in the body that affect the heart and other major organ functions. Some of the health consequences of bulimia nervosa include:
- Electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death
- Electrolytes imbalance is caused by dehydration and loss of potassium, sodium, and chloride from the result of purging behaviors
- Potential for gastric rupture during periods of binging
- Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting
- Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids released during frequent vomiting
- Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation as a result of laxative abuse
- Peptic ulcers and pancreatitis
Source: “Heath Consequences of Eating Disorders”
These consequences are scary, painful and can even be life-threatening. Many of these conditions, once they have occurred, continue indefinitely due to permanent damage these behaviors have caused. I encourage any of you who think you may have a problem to seek help immediately. If you think a friend, student, patient or loved one may have this dangerous disorder, encourage them to seek professional medical, psychological and dental help. There are terrific resources such as the Multiservice Eating Disorder Association, MEDA, and the National Eating Disorder Association, NEDA, and professionals like me to help you on your road to recovery.