People often ask me about different side effects of bulimia: about the short term, long term, and the most dangerous ones. This article is about short term effects which appear soon after bulimia begins.
People are also interested if the short term effects are 100% reversible or not. Well, probably most of the short term bulimia effects are reversible but it also depends on the intensity of the bulimia. It also depends on association with other medical and psychological problems the person as at the time they start being bulimic. So, I would say it is all down to the individual and for many people, the short term effects are 100% reversible when they stop their bulimia. But there are some people who can have irreversible damage.
Now, let’s look at them – short-term effects.
1. The digestive system suffers because of vomiting. People experience bloating, indigestion, bad taste in the mouth, breath smells, pains and aches in the stomach, reflux, heartburn, and nausea.
2. Swallowing can be painful if throat gets damaged while vomiting.
3. Teeth get eroded quickly from the acid during and after vomiting.
4. Heart problems can become obvious especially in people who purge often.
5. Constipation is a common concern in bulimics. It can become complicated with hemorrhoids and tears.
6. Low body temperature which makes people sensitive to cold weather. Bulimics are cold most of the time.
7. The tendency to faint.
8. Mood swings and intolerance to mental pressure.
9. Getting tired quickly and the inability to concentrate. Even simple mental tasks like reading can make some bulimics tired and even exhausted. Studying and learning can become problematic also.
10. Muscular tension can bring a lot of suffering. It appears as back pains, neck pains, tension headaches and aches or pains in other parts of the body.
11. Depression and anxiety can be very severe. The more people think and act bulimic the more depressed they become.
12. Dry skin is the problem too, accompanied by brittle hair and weak nails. Skin problems can be noticeable on sufferer’s hands especially. Knuckles can be damaged when they induce vomiting. One quick way to see if a loved one is bulimic check their knuckles, they will be all hard and wrinkled.
13. The Immune system can suffer making a person vulnerable to many infections. They experience colds and flu often.
14. People become withdrawn and avoid others.
15. Stress levels increase significantly.
16. Insomnia is common due to increased stress.
17. Distorted thoughts: constantly thinking about food, even dreaming about it.
18. Menstrual problems can range from painful periods to absence of periods.
19. Bone density decreases. Osteoporosis in severe cases of bulimia.
20. Voice changes due to damaged vocal cords.
These are the most common short-term bulimia side effects. There are much more and people get affected by bulimia differently. All side effects can turn into dangerous complications. So the best way to prevent them is to stop your bulimia altogether. You can always start looking for help: read more about it, educate yourself, ask professionals, work on changing your psychology, change behavioral pattern etc. Never give up and never take the side of the disease.