What are some of the medical complications of anorexia or bulimia?
There are many complications of these disorders. In the oral cavity, there can be increased dental caries, gum disease, parotid gland enlargement and swollen lymph nodes under the jaw. In the cardiovascular system, hypotension, EKG changes, slow heart rate, heart enlargement and mitral valve prolapse can be seen. Liver and pancreas damage, esophagitis, constipation and rectocoele are gastrointestinal manifestations commonly seen. Since women with these disorders have no menses or ovarian ovulation, the secondary effects of low estrogens cause delay in puberty, osteoporosis, infertility, lipid abnormalities, euthyroid sick syndrome, and other endocrine or chemical disturbances. During pregnancy, insufficient weight gain and low birthweight babies occur. Finally, skin changes such as dry skin and hair, hair loss, yellow skin and hand abrasions may be part of the clinical picture. Women may also have anemia, low white blood cell counts or low platelets, and even peripheral nerve problems.