Many bulimia sufferers complain about fluid retention in their body from time to time. The symptoms of this problem are: swelling of the legs and feet, plumped up fingers and hands, feelings of puffiness over the whole body.

These problems are especially relevant to the people who vomit often, use diuretics and laxatives to control their weight. The reasons for the fluid retention in bulimics can be many.

One reason is electrolyte disturbances like the loss of potassium, sodium, calcium and other minerals. This can be caused by their vomiting, diarrhea from laxative abuse and extreme urine output after taking diuretics.

The other reason for fluid retention is possible kidney damage and this happens more often among long time sufferers of bulimia. The kidneys get damaged mainly because of long time electrolyte disturbances in the blood stream. The kidney is the organ that normally corrects electrolyte abnormality in the body, but when their mineral balance is constantly abnormal it puts a lot of strain on the kidneys and they suffer.

The third possible reason for developing fluid retention is a low level of protein in the body. All eating disorders sufferers are at a high risk of developing low levels of protein as a consequence of constant dieting and not getting enough protein out of their food.

All three reasons can make the body retain abnormal amounts of water and can have serious consequences on your health. If you are a sufferer and notice signs of edema (fluid retention) anywhere in your body – immediately go to see a doctor or other medical professional.

Don't wait until it gets worse, you have to understand that there are underlying reasons for the edema and can be really serious. Some kind of intervention should be done immediately (like correcting your electrolyte balance with medications that will help your kidneys cope better).

The other thing I should mention here is that some bulimics complain about heaviness and puffiness in their body that they think it is due to fluid retention but it is not. It is a perceptional problem they have that is called "broken eye syndrome". This is when a person perceives that they are bigger then they really are.

They feel that their body is expanding and getting bigger everyday but in reality there is no abnormal fluid retention. It is only the person's perception that there is: so they take more laxatives or diuretics and the problem gets worse.

To conclude, fluid retention in bulimia sufferers can occur for a number of different reasons: some of them are more serious than others. One thing is for certain: all of them need to be corrected sooner or later. The best way to do this is to get checked immediately by a medical professional to avoid serious complications.

It is also important to work on your bulimia problem immediately. Try to get help to deal with it and change the way you think and feel about food, your life and everything else.
It has been shown that the best way to do this is with a family home treatment program that teaches you how to overcome your bulimia. For more information go to

Author's Bio: 

Dr Irina Webster MD is the Director of Women Health Issues Program which covers different areas of Women Health. She is a recognised athority in the eating disorders area. She is an author of many books and a public speaker.