Women's Diet: The Physical Red Flags of Eating Disorders
From hair loss to infertility, the internal damage inflicted on the body by eating disorders leaves its marks on the outside too
Dehydration, laxative and diuretic abuse, and low protein levels are all triggers for edema -- swelling of the soft tissues -- in the ankles, feet and/or belly (which, tragically, can be perceived by the mind of a person with an eating disorder as fat).
A body that is denied nutrients for an extended period of time will also experience a decrease of muscle mass (particularly in the upper arms and legs) as a result of the body literally feeding off of itself.
And because anorexics refuse to maintain even a minimally normal body weight, they have infrequent (or no) menstrual cycles (a condition called amenorrhea), and subsequently risk a delay in, or regression of, the development of secondary sexual characteristics (like their breasts).
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