×

Please Remove Adblock
Adverts are the main source of Revenue for DoveMed. Please remove adblock to help us create the best medical content found on the Internet.

Do you know the possible complications of Bulimia Nervosa?

Last updated April 21, 2016

nenetus - FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder and often fatal illness that presents with recurrent, frequent, and uncontrolled episodes of food consumption. In Bulimia Nervosa, this binge eating behavior is generally followed by acts of purging either via forced vomiting, exercising, or the misuse of laxatives and diuretics.


Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder and often fatal illness that presents with recurrent, frequent, and uncontrolled episodes of food consumption. In Bulimia Nervosa, this binge eating behavior is generally followed by acts of purging either via forced vomiting, exercising, or the misuse of laxatives and diuretics.

Complications for Bulimia Nervosa can include injury to various aspects of the digestive system such as damage to the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Frequent and recurrent acts of vomiting can lead to irritation and inflammation of the esophagus by stomach acid. The cycles of binge eating and purging attributed to Bulimia Nervosa can also produce complications such as injury to the stomach itself; the stomach can become inflamed, causing gastritis. 

Other complications of Bulimia Nervosa include damage to the intestines from overuse of laxatives and diuretics. Individuals with Bulimia Nervosa can regularly abuse laxatives and diuretics in an effort to rid themselves of excess weight. This however, can lead to dehydration, as well as damage to the lining of the digestive tract. Complications of the colon can eventually progress to require its removal. 

Asides from digestive complications due to Bulimia Nervosa, other complications include lung damage, kidney and heart complications, as well as damage to the skin and teeth. By participating in self-induced vomiting, an individual with Bulimia Nervosa can aspirate food particles, gastric acid, and bacteria, which can ultimately lead to pneumonia. Furthermore, the frequent purging of food can result in kidney stones or even kidney failure due to chronic bouts of dehydration and hypokalemia. 

There are a lot of dental and skin complications associated with Bulimia Nervosa, either from self-induced vomiting or from misuse of over-the-counter laxatives. Excessive use of most laxatives can result in sores and discoloration of the skin, while vomiting excessively can erode the teeth’s enamel and dentin.

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)
750 E Diehl Road #127 Naperville, IL 60563
Phone: (630) 577-1330
Email: anadhelp@anad.org
Website: http://www.anad.org

Mayo Clinic
200 First St. SW, Rochester, MN 55905
Phone: (507) 284-2511
Website: http://www.mayoclinic.org

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

ANAD. (n.d.). Retrieved March 03, 2016, from http://www.anad.org/?pagerd_m7bf6nfusor

Bulimia Nervosa | National Eating Disorders Association. (n.d.). Retrieved March 03, 2016, from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/bulimia-nervosa

Bulimia nervosa. (2016). Retrieved March 03, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bulimia/symptoms-causes/dxc-20179827

Bulimia nervosa. (2016). Retrieved March 03, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bulimia/manage/ptc-20179883

Bulimia: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved March 03, 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000341.htm

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Mitchell, J. E., & Crow, S. (2006). Medical complications of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 19(4), 438-443.

Mitchell, J. E., Specker, S. M., & de Zwaan, M. (1991). Comorbidity and medical complications of bulimia nervosa. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Russell, G. (1979). Bulimia nervosa: an ominous variant of anorexia nervosa.Psychological medicine, 9(03), 429-448.

Pomeroy, C., & Mitchell, J. E. (2002). Medical complications of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Eating disorders and obesity: A comprehensive handbook, 2, 278-85.

Mehler, P. S. (2011). Medical complications of bulimia nervosa and their treatments. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 44(2), 95-104.

Gupta, M. A., Gupta, A. K., & Haberman, H. F. (1987). Dermatologic signs in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Archives of dermatology, 123(10), 1386-1390.

Fairburn, C. G., & Cooper, P. J. (1984). The clinical features of bulimia nervosa. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 144(3), 238-246.

Roberts, M. W., & Li, S. H. (1987). Oral findings in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa: a study of 47 cases. The Journal of the American Dental Association, 115(3), 407-410.

Sharp, C. W., & Freeman, C. P. (1993). The medical complications of anorexia nervosa. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 162(4), 452-462.

MITCHELL, J. E., SEIM, H. C., COLON, E., & POMEROY, C. (1987). Medical complications and medical management of bulimia. Annals of internal medicine, 107(1), 71-77.

Sullivan, P. F. (2002). Course and outcome of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Eating disorders and obesity: A comprehensive handbook, 2, 226-232.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: April 21, 2016
Last updated: April 21, 2016

Was this article helpful?

Comments