The binging and purging can be and is extremely devastating to the body and mind. Most bulimic are not truly aware of the consequences for the harm they cause to themselves. The destruction which can be irreversible does more damage than one might think.
As we eat and food enters our stomachs, the stomach acids begin to break down the foods and the stomach lining begins to absorb the necessary components of the foods. Not only are the vitamins and minerals absorbed, but so are the proteins and carbs. Approximately 50% of the calories are absorbed when purging and about 95% when using laxatives.
Binging creates an almost instant amount of large quantities of calories entering the body’s system at one time. The body does not know what to do with such a large amount and must work overtime to compensate for the extreme increase of food it’s receiving. A temporary sense of relief is obtained for the short lived experience of eating a very large amount of food at one time. The purging must then be performed in order to rid the body of the massive amount of food that is just received.
We may think that binging and purging wouldn’t cause much damage to the body itself; if you may think this, think again. Over time and excessive binging and purging can indeed cause an extreme amount of damage to the bulimic body. Damage that is done to the mouth, the teeth ( so called bulimic teeth) , the throat and esophagus may not be repairable; damage to the stomach to the intestines, to muscles and even to the heart can be permanent and final.
Purging causes dehydration, abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, and constipation. Medical issues can also include diarrhea, IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, sore throat, bad breath, dry skin and hair loss. Medical conditions that require medical help such as tearing of the throat, esophagus and stomach linings; the tearing can cause ruptures and extensive bleeding. Throat cancer and pancreatitis are also liable possibilities that may need to be treated.
Binging/purging if done extensively and not addressed, can affect the body on a more severe and extremely damaging level. An irregular heartbeat, problems with blood pressure and weakened heart muscles can lead to heart failure. The binging purging of a bulimic is a serious mental and medical issue. The bulimic doesn’t always realize what they are doing to themselves and this is probably the main danger.
Not only does the binging and purging affect the physical aspect of the bulimic, but it also affects them on a psychological level. The reduction of self-esteem and/or self-worth can take a toll on anyone; life has many challenges and if one isn’t able to confront them, other avenues to avoid the issue will be taken. Bulimia causes one to be lethargic, experience dizzy spells and bouts of anxiety. The binging and purging creates high levels of guilt and shame which leads to depression.