From teaching the importance of education and safe driving to helping them through the stages of adolescence, raising a teenager can become overwhelming. While you may think you understand the challenges your teen faces each day, you may not realize that your teenager is dealing with severe emotional and physical challenges. Considering that an estimated 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States have an eating disorder, understanding these dangerous conditions is imperative. With this guide, you will learn the signs of bulimia, a common eating disorder characterized by binge-eating and vomiting, in teens.
Binge eating large amounts of food in short periods of time is common in patients with bulimia, but your teen will try to hide their eating from you. If your teen has bulimia, they may be hoarding food in hidden areas such as their bedrooms, closets, school lockers, cars, and even backpacks and handbags.
Your teen may also visit the kitchen in the middle of the night so they can eat large amounts of food without you or other family members seeing. Many teens will also constantly ask to clear the table or do dishes after meals. This will allow them to consume leftovers quickly, without you and other family members noticing.
If you notice foul odors coming from your teenager's bedroom, bathroom, or clothing, it may be due to a few issues. Old food that has been hidden and forgotten will rot and decay over time, causing an odor in your teen's room or belongings.
Also, since teens with bulimia often binge and then purge, the unappealing smell of vomit may be in your teen's bedroom and bathroom. Or, you may notice a vomit odor on their clothes and breath.
The digestive enzymes and stomach acids in vomit can cause numerous dental issues. If your teen is bulimic, the constant vomiting will first cause enamel to erode, increasing your teen's risk of cavities, infections, tooth decay, and gum disease. Your teen's teeth may also have a yellow or brown discoloration that can be difficult to remove
Severe erosion can also result in tooth loss and issues affecting your teen's bite. The acids from the vomit may also cause sores to develop on the tongue and lips or inside the mouth. These sores can be painful.
Bulimia is a serious condition that deserves immediate treatment. If you notice one or more of these signs, visit a doctor or contact a center for eating disorder treatments to learn the best course of treatment for your teen's eating disorder.