Bulimia Nervosa

Medical Complications of Self-Induced Vomiting

Eating Disorders
By Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS


Bulimia nervosa, often characterized by self-induced vomiting, is complicated by medical manifestations that affect nearly every organ system in the body. Effects range from superficial skin and dental findings to esophageal pathology, electrolyte abnormalities, cardiac arrhythmias, and in extreme cases, death. Ultimately, cessation of vomiting is necessary to cure most associated medical complications. Improper management of medical complications may lead to significant psychological distress to the patient. Fortunately, efficacious treatments do exist both to ease symptoms and ideally help the patient make a smooth transition to cessation of self-induced vomiting behavior.

Written by

Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS

Dr. Philip S. Mehler began his career at Denver Health more than 35 years ago and was formerly its Chief of Internal Medicine and then Denver Health’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) until he was promoted…

ACUTE Earns Prestigious Center of Excellence Designation from Anthem
In 2018, the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders & Severe Malnutrition at Denver Health was honored by Anthem Health as a Center of Excellence for Medical Treatment of Severe and Extreme Eating Disorders. ACUTE is the first medical unit ever to achieve this designation in the field of eating disorders. It comes after a rigorous review process.

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