Bulimia Home > Bulimia Warning Signs

Using extreme measures to lose weight, including vomiting, overusing diet pills or laxatives, or exercising excessively are possible warning signs of bulimia. More subtle indications include swollen cheeks or teeth that look "clear." If you see possible signs of bulimia in someone you know, encourage this person to see a doctor.

Are There Warning Signs of Bulimia?

Because of the secretive habits of many individuals with bulimia, warning signs may be hard to see. This is why many cases go undiagnosed for a long time. Family members and friends, however, might notice bulimia symptoms.

Specific Bulimia Warning Signs

Specific warning signs in a person with bulimia can include the following:
  • Using extreme measures to lose weight
  • Using diet pills, or taking pills to urinate or have a bowel movement
  • Almost always going to the bathroom after eating (to throw up)
  • Exercising a lot, even during bad weather, fatigue, sickness, or injury
  • Showing signs of throwing up
  • Swelling of the cheeks or jaw area
  • Cuts and calluses on the backs of the hands and knuckles
  • Teeth that look "clear"
  • Acting differently
  • Depression
  • Spending less time with family and friends; becoming more isolated, withdrawn, and secretive.
If you suspect that a person is exhibiting bulimia warning signs, encourage this person to seek help from a doctor or a counselor right away. The long-term effects of bulimia can be devastating.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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