I suffered from bulimia for almost 10 years. I experienced many of its terrible side effects and was lucky enough to escape with my life. Many people never seek help for their bulimia and live with it for years, even many decades…
Too often, bulimia kills.
People don’t understand the real dangers of bulimia. They think that because bulimics are often at a healthy weight, that it’s a safe eating disorder… The truth couldn’t be more different.
Below I have listed the 5 scariest dangers of bulimia
1) Electrolyte imbalance
We need the correct balance of electrolytes in our body to ensure that our muscles, organs, and nerves function well. Bulimics often suffer from severe electrolyte imbalances caused by extreme vomiting or laxative abuse.
Electrolyte imbalances put massive stress on your organs and can cause sudden cardiac arrest and death.
This is what happened to Terri Schiavo. She didn’t quite kill her, but she was brain dead and in a vegetative state for 15 years…Eventually, her husband won a court case to remove her feeding tube and allow her to starve.
Terri Schiavo’s story terrifies me because when I was bulimic my electrolyte levels were very low. She had an irregular heartbeat and severe chest pain. I feel so grateful that I escaped with my life.
2) Gastric rupture
A gastric rupture occurs when a bulimic person eats a large amount of food during a binge. The volume of food you have eaten is so great that it bursts your gastrointestinal tract.
Gastric ruptures are one of the scariest of all bulimia complications… It will most likely kill you and it will be so unexpected.
I remember numerous times when I ate so much I was sure something had to go bad! Thank goodness it never did… Again, thanks to my lucky star!
Ketoacidosis is when high levels of acids build up in the bloodstream. These acids are also known as ketones. They occur when your body burns stored fat, rather than food sources, for energy.
It is caused by starvation, bingeing and purging, extreme dehydration, diabetes, alcoholism, and hyperglycemia.
If ketoacidosis is not treated, it could lead to sudden coma and even death.
Many bulimics suffer from constant and severe acid reflux. This is because they have damaged their ‘check valve’ which helps retain food.
1 in 10 people who suffer from terrible acid reflux will develop a condition called Barrett’s esophagus.
Barrett’s esophagus can lead to esophageal cancer. This is extremely dangerous as it is often discovered at a late stage, once treatment is difficult and ineffective.
If a person with Barrett’s esophagus is found to have severe cancer, removal of most of the esophagus is recommended. Nasty things!
It’s scary to know that bulimia can lead to cancer!
Bulimia and depression are two intertwined illnesses. It can be hard to pin down which started first…and which caused the other.
In my case, depression definitely triggered my bulimia… Leaving Zimbabwe (home) in my teens made my life spiral out of control. I became depressed and that depression manifested as bulimia.
Once I developed bulimia, it was desperately difficult to break the habit… The cycle of bulimia and depression ran its course for 10 long years.
Bulimia can cause severe depression. It makes you feel disgusted with yourself, alone and helpless. You feel like a freak. Most of all you feel embarrassed. Due to this severe depression, suicide becomes a real concern.
Bulimics are so disgusted and ashamed of themselves that they don’t seek help. They suffer in silence until they can no longer.
How to PREVENT and AVOID these terrifying complications of bulimia
These dangers of bulimia are what prompted me to seek help. I didn’t want bulimia to win the battle.
I have now been bulimia free for over 4 years. I am healthy and happy. I’ve managed to avoid any of the serious complications of bulimia…although I do suffer from bulimia teeth but that’s nothing a dentist can’t fix (at a price!) I’m alive and bulimia is part of my past… It’s not part of my future.
To help reduce your chances of these complications, you should try to eat plenty of fresh, healthy foods… And you should try to keep them down. Your body needs the nutrients to function properly and heal any damage you’ve already done.
The best way to prevent and avoid the side effects of bulimia is to recover.
And you CAN recover! Yes I did – anyone can. I really believe that.