How Anorexia & Bulimia Affect Women

Woman struggling with bulimia looking in the mirror

According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), over 20 million women in the United States, including adolescents, suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia (starving) and bulimia (binge and purge). The main reasons women develop eating disorders are being dissatisfied with their body or the fear of gaining weight. Years of research classify anorexia and bulimia as psychiatric disorders that need to be treated.

Overview Anorexia

When a woman suffers from anorexia, she essentially does not eat. This affects major body systems and has a high mortality rate due to the body slowly shutting down from lack of nourishment. Changes to the body due to anorexia include:

  • Slower heart rate, low blood pressure, and increased risk of heart failure
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  • Bone density reduction, which causes brittle bones or osteoporosis
  • Muscle loss and weakness overall
  • Dehydration, which affects kidney function
  • Drying of the hair and skin

Bulimia Overview

Bulimia consists of binging, then purging (throwing up or using laxatives) to rid the body of the food. Like anorexia, bulimia affects the body and can lead to significant problems such as:

  • Digestive system issues, including irregular bowel movements, constipation, stomach ulcers, the potential for gastric rupture, and pancreatitis
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Dehydration, which affects kidney function
  • Esophageal swelling and rupture
  • Tooth decay
  • Irregular bowl movements or constipation

If you or someone you know are suffering from anorexia or bulimia, treatment is available. While treatment is based on individual circumstances and severity of the disorder, some of the most successful treatment options are outpatient therapy, support groups, and nutrition counseling. Your Capital Women’s Care provider can make recommendations to connect you with the help you need.

Our Mission

The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.


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