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Health Consequences

Frequent vomiting and the use of laxatives in particular can lead to dehydration and to the depletion of electrolytes (body salts). When this occurs, it can seriously affect the body’s ability to function properly. All organs can be affected. The heart is particularly at risk.

Getting a medical check up is an essential part of treatment as the effects of bingeing and purging are not obvious and need to be properly assessed. A simple blood test will indicate the level of dehydration and electrolyte depletion. Dietary advice can then be sought to help correct these problems

If a person is severely dehydrated or depleted of essential nutrients, hospitalisation may be required.

Depression and high levels of anxiety and periods of emotional overwhelm often accompany bulimia. Addressing these and other psychological aspects of the disorder is crucial to recovery.

Frequent vomiting can cause erosion to tooth enamel and dental decay. Your dentist will advise you on how best to care for your teeth and reduce the risk of further damage as dental damage is not reversible.

The misuse of laxatives also has dangerous health implications. Coming off laxatives can be difficult. Laxatives are used under the misguided belief that they are an effective means of controlling weight. In fact, the use of laxatives offers no benefits and contributes only to exacerbating physical symptoms and feelings of dependency.