What are the consequences of surviving anorexia and bulimia?

At least in the case of long-lasting anorexia or bulimia, physical impairments may persist even after the illness. That does not have to happen, but it can happen. The cause is then the years of massive malnutrition.

Long-term consequences of anorexia and bulimiaEspecially the kidneys can be affected. Fasting, vomiting, laxatives and diuretic drugs (diuretics) shift the balance of electrolytes in the body. In the long term, this can affect the excretory function of the kidneys. Low fluid intake also contributes to kidney damage. However, there are of course many people with previous anorexia or bulimia, who have no problems with the kidneys.

Anorexia: sometimes infertility can persist

Years of vitamin D deficiency due to malnutrition can also affect bone metabolism. As a result, the bones become too soft or porous (osteoporosis), making it easier to break bones.

The household of sex hormones may remain disturbed even after reaching normal weight. Not all formerly anorexic are fertile and can have children.

Bulimia vomiting can also damage tooth structure. Because the acids of the stomach contents attack the enamel and destroy it.

All in all, one has to say: All this is harmless against the danger that anorexia nervosa can not be treated successfully even in the longer term.

authors:Dr. med. Julia Hofmann & Dr. med. Jörg Zorn

Do you have your own experiences or a different opinion? Then write a comment (please observe rules).
Comments (15)
late effects
15 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 at 11:37
At the age of 20 I slipped into a bad anorexia, despite my very good physical condition. Within 4 months, I lost 25 kg. At 51 kg, with a size of 1.86 m. I only thought of food: sports, food, sports, food - and also had the feeling that I was no longer eating normally. Strict athlete nutrition was countered by more and more days of sin, as well as other days when I stuffed amounts into the unhealthy. To banish the food from my thoughts, I set a calorie limit: 2000 Kcal, and nothing more! That was the beginning of everything. For more than a year, I maintained the strong underweight, and then even started a lesson in this condition, combined with heavy physical work. That I was even taken, I still can not understand. I could barely stand, I was always freezing cold. But due to the hard work, I could not and did not want to resist hunger. I really ate: 10-12,000 Kcal a day (no fun, I can count Kcal). Within about 4 months I increased to 96 kg. I was only weak, exhausted, my body screamed for rest! But I finished the lesson. Despite the worst physical and mental conditions. After that I studied. My psyche was totally broken: extreme depression, anxiety and rapid fatigue - which I always responded to with a "big-not-hungry" that I could no longer suppress.
It started again the game of sports and food, depression and fears. A lot of alcohol came to it. Although I'm definitely no longer undernourished or malnourished since my apprenticeship, I can not get on my feet anymore. I am always exhausted very fast. And if I do too much, I need very long recovery times. Although I really try to eat regularly (and everything), do some exercise, sleep enough, etc., I have been extremely exhausted since anorexia. If others go skiing for a week, I can not do more than 2 days. Then I'm done so that I need 2 weeks to recover. And then again begins the extreme hunger. A vicious circle that I can not get out of. Does anyone know that?
14 Sunday, July 15, 2018 at 07:24
Hello everybody,
I'm 38, and anorexia has always been a very dominant symptom of my personality disorder with a temporary BMI below 13. By now, I'm almost normal weight, but I still eat very well.However, I can not eat anything without causing a thunderstorm in my head or the need to visit the restroom (which I do not do anymore because I do not want to provoke more consequential disorders). And: Even if I'm not feeling well, I never felt better then.
Only after 14 years of severe illness and 7 hospital stays, I have with the help of an antidepressant and an alternative form of therapy - holistic clinic in Filderstadt - again learned to live. That's 11 years ago. During these last 11 years, I have recovered, gained a good job and mastered a working relationship for the first time in 2 years, even for the first time in my life.
The disease has left its mark. And that scares me. In particular, the diagnosed osteoporosis and the constant problems in the gastrointestinal tract (gastritis, abdominal discomfort, irritable bladder, irritated bowel) burden me. Unfortunately, one does not think about such things at the age of 13, if one still thinks: "I am now creating my own world, and you others can all do me".
But I can not say that I regret my life, because that would imply - I would be guilty! By now I know that all my symptoms (anorexia, although massive, but by no means the only problem) have always been the desperate attempt and are still to get my chaotic and sometimes very dark and self-destructive thoughts and feelings under control. Therefore, the first 6 therapies worked as a kind of "makeshift patch", because it worked only on the symptom of anorexia (700g per week increase, otherwise punishment). Only when a therapist has taken on the causes and not the symptoms, it went up.
Of course, it is important for a patient to be out of danger, but I can only appeal to all doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists to treat each patient as an individual and not all treat them with identical methods. Yes, that is also a praise to the Filderklinik. Thank you for believing in me, despite having a BMI of 12.5, leaving the puncture-based therapy for the dysfunctional and caring for me.
13 Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 12:12
For me, the "ES" started as a child. Even in kindergarten (!) I felt overwhelmed and misunderstood. This continued in elementary school. To get over my desolate situation, I became more and more likely to sweets, which improved my mood somewhat. Since I was doing a lot of sports and little other food, I kept my normal weight first. I was tormented by my lack of concentration through the school, but managed my high school diploma (exam subjects: sports, religion, English ...) Also my education as an electrician succeeded. Always had the unbelievable luck that it was always exactly what I was learning. Meanwhile, I was 21, drove less and less sports and increased: At 1.76 m - from 70 kg in one year to 82 kg. Suddenly no more pants fit. I decided to lose weight with less and gym. This succeeded, but I had to constantly think of what to eat. At that time, I did not worry about whether it was addiction or hunger, but let me extensively examine: thyroid and pancreas, stomach and colonoscopy. Everything was i.O. But I was always worse: dizziness, vision problems, muscle pain, fatigue. I started to eat more (too much!) Again. And to increase it again, I first took laxative, later I put more and more finger in the neck. Through my professional life I tormented me more badly than right. But somehow we went! At the beginning of 30 I was caught vomiting. I was so embarrassed that I vowed to quit - and succeeded. Whenever I had eaten too much, I ran or rode my bike to the point of exhaustion. One should not believe what the body can handle: I am now 54 and working on an authority. No one notices there that I'm actually feeling sick. My resting heart rate is just over 30, my HB at about 11. Every morning I "fight" to get out of bed. If I have to concentrate, I start to sweat and shiver. I live in a "tunnel", limit myself in my life to the bare minimum, take no risks, try nothing new. Unfortunately, I am not ready to be examined any more, because most of my life has been lived. I'm proud to have made it this far in my life - I did not enjoy it.
Long-term eating disorder
12 Monday, February 19, 2018 at 10:56
I suffered from 16 to 30 Age of eating disorder. Now, at normal weight, which I have had for a long time, I have long-term consequences:
Extreme weakness, fatigue, hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, reflux, gastrointestinal problems, hair loss for years, extreme symptoms, food intolerance and allergies.
No doctor knows what to do, no doctor can help me. The standard treatment u medis such as pantoprazole only make me sicker.
I am no longer able to work. It hurts so bad. I want to live! I am no longer having an eating disorder, but I am trapped in the destroyed body. And yet I feel so much joy of life.I would like to do, do and do so much!
Where and to whom can I contact ...?
Anorexia and bulimia
11 Monday, 02 October 2017 02:31
I've been stable for a bit longer but still find it hard to accept my NG. Of the late effects, unfortunately, I have some and I'm really afraid of getting older!
I almost died on the ES twice, but just got the turn thanks to the doctors.
I have scarring in the liver and kidneys, I also have a slight liver damage and an NNI (adrenal insufficiency), must take partial cortisone. My teeth are also attacked, my tooth necks are free and my tooth enamel is broken. I also have a reflux that means as much as my sphincter between the esophagus and stomach does not close properly anymore. Often when I have just had something to drink or have eaten and I bend down, then it comes back to me, I must also take care while brushing my teeth.
Lg to all
Anorexia - Binge Eating - Survived
10 Monday, February 20, 2017 at 10:35 pm
I slipped into anorexia at 15. I weighed 58 kg at 1.78 m and quickly starved to 45 kg. Because somehow I did not completely lose the reality, I knew I would have to increase again. Anyway, the anorexia, which only lasted about 6 months, quickly turned into binge eating. That was a much worse torture for the body. For the heart, for the stomach, for the head. I could not walk any more, had to deal with all sorts of organs problems this gluttony.
Binge eating accompanied me until I was 19 years old. I was lucky and weighed only 75 kilos at peak times. Now, at 22, I can say: I am happy and healthy. Weighed 62 kg at 1.79 (the weight has been regulated by my increasingly normal attitude to eating on its own). Long-term damage: I would say that I have retained the cardiac arrhythmia that developed in the anorexia phase. But they are not very bad and I can live with them. Maybe I have no further damage, because I was relatively short so thin.
Lately, I often think of this bad time and wonder how I could ever get so sick and ask myself even more: how strong must I have been to have since come out almost without help. (The doctors said it would take ages to get back to normal, if at all possible.) I want to fight that eating disorders have no chance! I would so much like to help anyone who has a wrong picture of his body or food. Life can be so beautiful and you can be so free without those thoughts of weight! I'm so proud of all the people who want to fight it out, everyone can do it !!
Oh well, a consequence of the eating disorder: absence of menstruation, I probably fought with the drug "PHYTO L drops". At that time I got this tip from a gynecologist. I got my menstrual period after a few months of taking it again.
9 Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 6:08 pm
I am 34 years old and have had bulimia since I was 16 years old. In between, there were two years, where nothing is true. But then I weighed almost 70 kilos. After some comments, I was back in bulimia. And since that between 50 and 55 kilos.
For some time now, I have chest pain in the lower part of the stomach opening. I myself am a geriatric nurse and think my part.
But to tell someone about it ????
I have not done that for 18 years.
I'm sooooo helpless
Consequences of anorexia
8 Friday, 03. February 2017 at 22:42
I am now almost 16 years old and suffered from anorexia for just over 2 years ... I have been out of the disease for about a year now and still have severe mental health problems. Every day I have to think about my figure and compare myself and it bothers me totally, because I can think only about my weight and my figure. Many of my friends have turned away because of that and so I isolate myself more and more. I simply can not find a way out, as I will not be happy with these thoughts ... they are permanently there.
I currently weigh 62 kilos at 158 ​​and feel way too fat. I hope I get help soon, LG Julia
7 Monday, June 20, 2016 at 15:37
I suffered from anorexia as a teenager. Weighed only 39 kg. Although I almost defeated the disease. The saddest thing is that it broke my teeth. Suffer very badly. At 38, I have to wear a prosthesis in the lower jaw.
My advice is, stay away from this disease. It destroys everything in your life. It's like a shadow that keeps track of you forever.
crooked spine = anorexia
6 Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 12:04
Hello, I have been anorexic for a long time and have had spinal complaints for a long time and I wonder if a crooked spine also comes from anorexia.
our advice on your esophageal complaints
5 Saturday, the 07thNovember 2015 at 20:44
Navigator Team
Hello Betina,

our advice: be sure to go to the doctor. And not because we suspect something bad, but most likely because there is nothing wrong. But you will not let go of these thoughts until you have clarified this.

All the best and kind regards
Dr. J. anger
Fear of the long-term consequences
4 Saturday, 07. November 2015 at 16:51
Betina la Flore
Can somebody feel that fear that one will catch up with a long-term consequence of the eating disorder?

I have such a big panic right now! I have been stable for almost 2 years, but during my last stay in the hospital, one of the doctors told me that esophageal cancer can be one of the long-term consequences of ES if you vomit excessively for a long time. Since then, I've always been scared of it.

For a short time, however, I have a strange feeling in my throat. It feels like I have a foreign body and swallowing is uncomfortable. It can not be heartburn, because the feeling I know from the pregnancy, it feels very different. It can not be a gastritis, it also feels different.

Unfortunately, today I have Dr. Google asked what a big mistake was. Because there was, among other things, esophageal cancer and now I panic.
But I am very afraid to confide in anyone because I am afraid that you will not take me seriously. I'm even scared that even my husband is laughing at me for these thoughts.

I just do not know how to continue. Should I simply ignore these worries and live on as if nothing had happened? Or should I contact a doctor? I dont know. "Frown" emoticon ...

LG Betina
Bulimia after 16 years
3 Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 19:45
I have had bulimia for 16 years. And every day quite often. Now I have very heavy chest pain and pain in the esophagus area. Heart rhythm disorder in addition.
2 Sunday, February 01, 2015 at 12:50 pm
Good article & interesting comment .. Medicines can be a help and also a blessing - but I also have the experience that often are prescribed quickly and recklessly.
Also and especially during hospital stays, even if there is at least a good supervision.
What are the consequences of surviving anorexia / bulimia?
1 Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at 01:03
You ask about late effects, effects, you know how bulimia affects the body, the psyche, but almost nobody asks the true cause of eating disorders. Many people, even doctors, are genuinely bold when they look for the cause in patients and indirectly, or even directly, blame them for their condition. Oh, what I write about bulimia, it is with almost all diseases that have their cause in the mental overload of the patients, so that it can be only the patient who caused the disease. What follows: Patients are often subjected to compulsory medication because there are far too many pharma-compliant doctors. Seek out the cause of mental disorders in the environment of your patients and then switch off these causes there. But then the pharmaceutical industry would not even bring half of the drugs to the patient, as currently !!!!!!!!!!!