Bulimia Nervosa: Complications

Bulimia Nervosa: Complications


 • Dehydration & inability to digest food -> Constipation

 • Recurrent vomiting exposes esophagus and stomach to gastric acid inflammation -> Acid reflux and ulcers

 • Vagus nerve damage from frequent vomiting -> decreased stomach motility and digestive enzyme activity -> Gastroparesis

 • Mallory-Weiss Tears: small tears in the esophagus -> Esophageal Damage

 • Boerhaave syndrome: rupture in the esophageal wall -> Esophageal Damage


 • Binging on foods high in sucrose and fatty acids elevated blood sugars -> T2DM and Insulin Resistance

 • Absence of a period in females due to lack of nutrients, hormonal imbalances (low FSH and LH levels) and vitamin deficiencies. This can also lead to long-term fertility problems -> Amenorrhea & Infertility

 • Lack of nutrients (e.g. Calcium, VitD) and lowered hormone levels cause bones to become brittle and break -> Osteopenia/Osteoporosis


 • Hypokalemic nephropathy and diffuse glomerulosclerosis from long-term electrolyte imbalance and malnutrition -> Kidney Damage

 • Vomiting may lead to metabolic alkalosis (loss of from stomach)

 • Laxative abuse may lead to metabolic acidosis (loss of HCO3- in diarrhea)

 • Overall: hypokalemia, hypochloremia, hypernatremia


 • Electrolyte abnormalities can lead to cardiac arrhythmias and cardiac arrest -> Arrhythmias/Sudden Cardiac Arrest

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Contributed by

The Calgary Guide to Understanding Disease
Account created for The Calgary Guide to Understanding Disease - Linking pathophysiology to clinical presentation - http://calgaryguide.ucalgary.ca/

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