In females, the menstrual cycle may cease due to plummeting estrogen levels. This may later lead to osteoporosis (which is irreversible). Without menstrual periods, women are also at a greater risk of developing ovarian cysts or other problems with the reproductive system; perhaps even to the point of never being able to have children.
Especially if a person does not get enough the proper nutrition, many other serious consequences may result. Lack of fat in the diet means that the body cannot absorb certain vitamins, and depending on what foods are being cut out of a person's diet, they may not even be getting all of the vitamins and minerals they need to begin with.
Many patients who frequently force themselves to vomit after meals may be unable to eat without a gag reflex. G.E.R.D., or Gastro-Esophogal Reflux Disease, is another potential consequence of frequent purging. Vomiting can also cause severe dehydration, leading to abnormally low blood pressure and increased risk of fainting.
Syrup of ipecac, a drug sometimes used to induce vomiting in emergency situations, is sometimes abused by eating disorder patients. This is perhaps one of the most dangerous methods of all. Ipecac is a POISON, and may cause permanent damage to the heart or other organs. Karen Carpenter died, WHILE IN RECOVERY, from complications related to her past use of ipecac syrup.
The worst part about laxatives and diuretics is that they do not even really cause weight loss... all you are losing is water weight, which is quickly regained (and then some). Incidentally, the body's metabolism decreases when it is dehydrated... so I hope this shows just how REALLY "not worth it" diuretics and laxatives are.
Even "compulsive exercisers" are not off the hook. Excessive exercise may take its toll on a person's body as well, particularly if the person is already malnourished. Stress fractures are very common in people with eating disorders because the danger of osteoporosis is heightened by malnutrition.
Some people with binge eating disorder may even become obese, and develop many of the problems which acompany obesity, including high blood pressure, diabetes, menstrual troubles, cardiovascular disease, sleeping disturbances such as sleep apnea, and arthritis.
|Anorexia Nervosa||Bulimia Nervosa||ED "Not Otherwise Specified"||Binge Eating Disorder|
|Causes of eating disorders||Physical and emotional effects||Signs and symptoms||Getting help/Recovery|
|Why figure skaters?||ED questionnaire||Books on eating disorders||Eating disorder links|
|Issues of diagnosis||Submission form||Healthy coping skills||Body image links|