Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder in which the sufferer binges and purges their food. Unlike anorexia, where starvation is used to lose weight, bulimia entails consuming a large amount of food, only to expel it soon afterwards by inducing vomiting, using laxatives or exercising excessively. Those who suffer from bulimia are referred to as bulimics, and it most often affects teenage girls and young women.
Considered a mental disorder as well, bulimia makes those who suffer from it feel a loss of control. Stemming from a negative body image, bulimia can wreak havoc on both the body and mind. Bulimics often feel they are “fat,” no matter what the scale says. They may feel depressed or guilty that they can’t stop the disease on their own. And many bulimics display an overachieving behavior and an obsession with weight loss.
A Negative Effect
Although bulimia nervosa is characterized by binging and purging at least twice a week, bulimics often have more frequent episodes. Many force themselves to throw up daily, which is an extremely unhealthy way to lose weight. Stomach bloating, cramping, constipation, dehydration and exhaustion are common side effects from the constant vomiting and lack of nutrition. Bulimics may also notice swelling in the hands, lower legs, feet or salivary glands.
Not only does it do damage to your body, but bulimia nervosa has a devastating effect on teeth! As acid from the stomach enters the mouth, it erodes tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay and tooth discoloration. It not only looks bad, but bulimics often suffer from toothaches, multiple cavities, dry mouth, oral lesions and bleeding gums. For those who have silver dental fillings, the amalgam will appear “raised” due to the reduction of tooth enamel. And having dental braces won’t help — dental restorations and appliances can also become loose and dislodge from the jaw.
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