Your body is paying a heavy price for your eating disorder. If you are bulimic and use laxatives or vomiting to purge, your skin is probably quite dry and frequently breaks out in small rashes and pimples. If your salivary glands haven’t yet become enlarged because of your constant vomiting, they could.
If you’re bulimic or anorexic, you probably experience continual constipation and intestinal bloating because you either don’t keep down enough food to pass through your system or simply don’t eat enough to trigger elimination. You may also have swollen, puffy hands and feet brought about by an electrolyte imbalance. For anorexics, this is because of malnutrition; for bulimics, vomiting or laxative abuse. If you compulsively overeat, your extra weight is putting a strain on nearly all your body’s systems and setting you up for future health problems. These are not easy things to say or read, but you need to know the truth.
Your eating disorder today will affect your body tomorrow. One such effect is the slowing down of your metabolism. You have a unique metabolic rate that has become unbalanced by your lifestyle choices. Down the road, this can result in weight problems years after your eating disorder has been overcome. Your body can readjust itself in time, but the longer you continue in this destructive behavior, the more difficult it will be for your body to reestablish its proper functions.
If you are an anorexic woman, your self-starvation will lead to a complete loss of your menstrual period, if it hasn’t already. Rigorous exercise, emotional ups and downs, even bingeing and purging can also shut down your body’s reproductive systems. It knows something is wrong, even if you don’t, and it’s not about to take any chances with pregnancy. With menstrual loss comes estrogen loss, resulting in loss of calcium to your bones. Too much calcium loss can result in osteoporosis, or brittle-bone disease, later in life. Many young anorexia develop the bones of an eighty- or ninety-year-old.
If you’re bulimic, the bitter acid from gastric juices washes over your teeth when you vomit and destroys enamel that can never be replaced. If you continue your eating habits long enough, your teeth will be irreparably damaged and will require either caps or replacement by dentures. What teeth you retain will be more susceptible to cavities because of weakened enamel.
If you use laxatives to purge, either exclusively or in addition to vomiting, there is added damage to your digestive system and bowels. If your body hasn’t had to work at passing food through your system for a number of years, it has become lazy, and you’ll need bulk lubricants to aid in having bowel movements.
If you are anorexic and are denying your body the life-sustaining nutrients it needs, your body will begin to turn on you. It will feed on itself in order to survive. When fat is no longer available, your body will begin to digest its own muscle tissue. Since your heart is a muscle, damage to this organ can become irreparable, even fatal. Your hair will thin and fall out.
Your eating disorder is putting an enormous stress on your body. Stress has been shown to have far-reaching effects, contributing to cancer and heart disease.
These symptoms may sound severe and fear based, but they are the harsh reality of eating disorders. Even if you can’t observe these symptoms just yet, consistent disordered eating patters will result in the issues listed above.
In light of these facts, it is vitally important that you begin to work on the reasons why you’re engaging in this destructive behavior and begin to treat its physical effects. This is important not only for today but also for your tomorrow. Our team at The Center • A Place of HOPE is standing by to help you. Fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with an eating disorder specialist today.