Can Someone Experience Jaw Pain From Bulimia?

Can Someone Experience Jaw Pain From Bulimia?


Bulimia nervosa is a serious illness known for its dangerous cycle of binge eating and purging; like other eating disorders, bulimia nervosa can cause major damage to many different body parts and take a severe psychological toll. If left untreated, bulimia can even cause death due to complications such as cardiac arrest or electrolyte imbalances, highlighting the importance of early intervention.


Bulimia and Jaw Pain

One of the many body parts that can be affected by bulimia nervosa is the jaw. In the long term, someone suffering from bulimia can experience “bite change,” a condition that can escalate to the point that the joints in someone’s jaws gradually become misaligned until they cause intense TMJ-related facial pain. In turn, this pain can lead to headaches as well as pain in the shoulders and neck. 


More Physical Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa

Other physical signs that someone may be suffering from bulimia nervosa might include:

  • Yellow skin from eating lots of carrots
  • Thinning of hair on the head
  • Dental issues, such as enamel erosion, tooth sensitivity, cavities, and discoloration
  • Dizziness
  • fainting/syncope
  • Stomach cramps
  • Other non-specific gastrointestinal issues such as acid reflux or constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Poor healing of wounds
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Noticeable weight fluctuations
  • Impaired immune system functioning
  • Constantly feeling cold
  • Dry, brittle nails
  • Swelling around the salivary glands
  • Lanugo, or fine hair all over the body
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cold, mottled hands and feet
  • Bloating from fluid retention
  • Cuts and/or calluses across the tops of finger joints from induced vomiting
  • Sleep issues
  • Swollen feet
  • Abnormal laboratory and blood work findings, such as low hormone levels, anemia, slow heart rate, low blood cell counts, low potassium


Behaviors and Emotional Signs Linked to Bulimia Nervosa

Additionally, there are a myriad of behaviors that may suggest someone is suffering from bulimia, such as:

  • Evidence of binge eating, such as the presence of many empty containers and wrappers or the disappearance of large amounts of food during a short period of time
  • Evidence of purging, such as the presence of laxatives and diuretics wrappers and packages, signs and/or smells of throwing up, and frequently using the bathroom after eating
  • Discomfort eating in front of others
  • Skipping meals 
  • Taking small portions during meals
  • New food practices or fad dieting
  • Using excessive amounts of mints, gum, and/or mouthwash
  • Creating a schedule to allow time to binge eat and purge
  • Hoarding food in odd places
  • Drinking water or non-caloric beverages in excess
  • Hiding the body by wearing baggy clothing
  • Behaviors and attitudes that suggest dieting, weight loss, and food control are a major concern
  • Frequent dieting
  • Major mood swings
  • Stealing food
  • Social withdrawal
  • Withdrawing from usual activities
  • Maintaining an excessive, inflexible exercise routine
  • Having secret, recurrent binge eating episodes
  • Frequently looking in the mirror for perceived appearance flaws
  • Displaying major concern with one’s shape and body weight
  • Food rituals, such as excessive chewing, not allowing foods to touch, and only eating a type of food or food group


Getting Help

Even though bulimia nervosa can cause serious damage to the body, it is a treatable illness. If you are looking for recovery groups in New York City and elsewhere in the United States, you can find resources at this link. You can also find support by contacting an eating disorder hotline. But if you are in a time of crisis, you can text “NEDA” to 741-741 at any time to be put in contact with someone trained to handle the situation.

Additionally, we are here to help you at Eating Disorder Recovery Specialists. You may contact us via phone (866-525-2766), email, or by filling out our contact form.

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