Bulimia, Purging, and Risks

a bulimic womanPeople with bulimia nervosa are often trapped by the repetitious cycle of binging and purging. While self-induced vomiting is the typical way of purging, those struggling with the said disorder have a few other ways of getting rid of the food they eat after binging. Just like throwing up, other means of purging can take a toll on the person’s physical and emotional health.

Bulimia treatment plan experts share the risks associated with other ways of purging:


Following a binge, some people with bulimia use laxatives (frequently or in large amounts) to eliminate what they just ate. The sad part about them is that they are not that effective in controlling weight and no study suggests that taking laxatives can result in lasting weight loss.

If the bowels become accustomed to laxatives, it can lead to harmful side effects such as abdominal discomfort, bloating, and temporary constipation, which may lead to the further use of the drug. Prolonged use of laxatives can then lead to dehydration, potassium depletion, and dependence.


Also known as water pills, diuretics remove water from the body and are often prescribed to treat high blood pressure and other conditions. Those struggling with bulimia also use this medication to control weight, even though it is also ineffective in preventing weight gain.

Just like laxatives, constant use of diuretics can lead to dangerous side effects like kidney damage or kidney failure. There are also instances where they can induce salt or electrolyte imbalances, which may lead to chronic heart failure

Excessive Exercising and Crash Diets

Those with bulimia also engage in excessive exercising, which usually includes high-intensity calorie-burning activities like aerobics or running. Some may also closely track the number of calories they are burning or become anxious and feel guilty if they miss exercising.

Others may also make up for their binges by going on a crash diet or fasting. Both excessive exercising and crash dieting can lead to harmful side effects like increased heart rate, dehydration, dehydration, and nutritional deficiency. It can also have mental effects like increased stress and poor mood.

If you or someone you know is engaged in binging and purging, it is best to seek help. Bulimia treatment plans are available to help you or a loved one get better and be able to eat and exercise healthily again.