Whether you're currently seeking help for your bulimia or not, the act of eating and then purging, you should know that the action of throwing up regularly can potentially increase your risk of developing cancer. Giving up bulimia for the sake of your future is critical to reducing your risk. Here's what you should know about this risk and what you can do to get help.
1. How Bulimia Increases Risk of Cancer
Stomach acid is extremely dangerous. It has to be strong enough to break down the food that you consume and destroy harmful bacteria. But when it doesn't stay where it belongs, it can cause a lot of damage.
In bulimics, this means that every time you throw up, you're bringing up stomach acid along with anything that you've eaten recently. Your esophagus, the tube that leads from the stomach to the throat, is essentially getting coated in stomach acid every time you do this. Prolonged or frequent exposure to stomach acid can potentially increase your risk of developing esophageal cancer, an extremely dangerous form of cancer that's difficult to detect early on, which impacts survivability.
2. Get Examined
If you've been purging for a while, the best thing you can do at this point is to talk to a doctor about it and ask for an examination. While getting your bulimia under control is the only way to reduce your risk in the long run, getting your throat and esophagus examined now will help your doctor to determine if there's already damage that's been done.
This is typically done with an endoscopy. Endoscopies are done while you're under general anesthesia. A tube with a tiny camera attached to it goes down the throat and into the esophagus, and the surgeon takes numerous pictures as well as samples of any suspicious-looking areas to be sent off to a lab for testing.
3. Get Help
If you find out that your throat and esophagus are in good shape, then you likely don't need to worry about a cancer diagnosis in your future—so long as you stop purging. The more often you do this, the more likely you are to permanently damage the cells in your esophagus, which can lead to the development of cancer.
Getting over bulimia isn't as easy as simply starting to eat and not throwing up. Once you've been engaging in these behaviors for a while, eating normally may make you feel sick and you may be overwhelmed with the urge to purge, even if you don't want to. For this reason, it's best that you get help from a professional.
At the end of the day, bulimia is an eating disorder with psychological components. Getting help from an eating disorder medical treatment center will help you to change the mindset that got you into bulimia in the first place and will ensure that you're getting adequate nutrition to help restore your body to a healthy weight. Don't say no to help. It's the easiest and fastest way to recover from this condition with a dramatically lessened risk of relapsing.Share
16 June 2020
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