National Eating Disorders Association

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Worried about bulimia health complications :(

Hey, I just joined this site and would love some advice!

Some background: I’m 18 years old, and have been struggling with bulimia for about a year and a half now. During my junior year of high school, I was diagnosed with rumination disorder. It evolved into bulimia when I began to improve stress-wise, but couldn’t get used to keeping down food again. Now I’m in my last week of senior year, and my family thinks that the use of eating disorder behaviors is still because of the rumination disorder, so it’s been pretty easy to hide. On the surface, I’m at a good place in my life. I’m working two jobs that I love and trying to make it in the restaurant industry, hopefully as a cook someday (kind of in conflict, because I love cooking and food studies, but food is also obviously a huge stressor for me.) I know I won’t be able to succeed without recovering, but I have no idea how to open up to anyone without jeopardizing my jobs, friendships, and family relationships. I’m also starting college next year on a full scholarship, and I’m scared that being sick is going to screw it all up for me.

I’ve been noticing some health problems in the last few months that could be linked to bulimia. I keep having a dull pain in my left shoulder that spreads down my arm, which made me drop two dishes at work last night. I’ve also had pretty consistent tightness in my chest and trouble breathing, a low temperature, and just general feelings of weakness and exhaustion (especially over the last week, when purging has been especially severe.) Has anyone else had similar problems, and if so, did you see a doctor? I don’t feel like I can tell anyone I’m bulimic, but I’ve heard stories about scary complications and I’m really not trying to die right now.

Thank you for reading, any response helps!

Dear oooof358, welcome to

Dear oooof358, welcome to NEDA Forums! We would like to let you know that we slightly edited your post to remove specific disordered eating behaviors, which is not allowed on the forums. You can review our community guidelines here.You also mentioned some signs that are concerning.  The following are just some of the signs of a serious problem that demands immediate medical attention:

  • accidentally or deliberately caused themselves a physical injury
  • become suicidal
  • confused thinking and is not making any sense
  • delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (experiencing things that aren’t there)
  • disoriented; doesn’t know what day it is, where they are or who they are
  • vomiting several times a day or has uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea
  • experiencing dizziness or fainting spells
  • too weak to walk or collapses
  • painful muscle spasms
  • complaining of chest pain or having trouble breathing
  • blood in their bowel movements, urine or vomit a body mass index (BMI) of less than 16
  • an irregular heartbeat, and fast heartbeat, or very low heart beat (less than 50 beats per minute)
  • cold or clammy skin indicating a low body temperature or has a body temperature of
  • less than 35 degrees Celsius/95 degrees Fahrenheit

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above we recommend that you seek immediate medical help. Please stay safe! 

What the Administrator said

Hi oooof358,

I understand your concern and it is a pity that you would lose things that are dear to you, but you have to think about your health firs. If you are not around to do those things, what's the point?!

Anyways, your friends and family probably support you and just be concerned about you. They might not understand why this has happened, but the best thing is to find support and (proper) help.

About your physical concerns, I don't know what's going on since I'm not a medical. But however, I would press you to let it checked out as soon as possible!

Take care!

Wow. I came to this site to

Wow. I came to this site to make a similar post about being worried about health from bulimia. But I had to reply because I have never heard of a story so similar to mine. I also have bulimia that started with rumination disorder. It feels so amazing to see I’m not the only one!! I always felt so crazy for having rumination disorder, and it also made my eating disorder very easy to hide.

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