Sorry for the long post, but this is also a vent as well as seeking advice...

Now i don't have bulimia...BUT I have had some anxiety and alcohol tolerance problems which has caused me to vomit an average of once every 1-2 months for the past 2 years or so. Usually occurs after a meal, I ate too much by accident and couldn't handle it. Definitely not intentional purging, but rather unintentional and happens every now and then.

I just had my wisdom tooth taken out last week (top left, only 1) and it has caused some swelling on the left side of my face. As I was looking at that, I realized that (in general) my cheeks look overly puffy and my whole face looks 'heavy'. If you didn't see the rest of my body, you'd think I was slightly overweight even though I'm far from that. I happened to be looking back at some pics of me a couple months ago and to my surprise my cheeks appear a little puffy, maybe not as bad as now because of the surgery....but still bigger than I thought. It didn't seem right....so I took a look back at maybe 5-6 months ago and my face looks a lot thinner (what I always envisioned my face to be). I also checked a pic of myself a year ago and my cheeks didn't seem puffy at all. While I didn't have a perfectly straight clean cut jaw, the fat was minimal and hardly noticeable at all.

Now I have gained about 5-6 pounds in the last 6 months as I am trying to gain weight cause I am slightly on the thin side. I am pretty sure it is all muscle, because I am much stronger in all my muscle groups and I appear more defined/muscular. A couple people's first inclination was that "I was gaining weight and 'filling out'" as to the reason why my face appears puffy. While I have gained weight, it is probably 100% muscle gain, as my overall body fat % is even less than 10%. Say even I gained 2 pounds of fat...theres no way that tiny amount of gain would account for the size increase in my cheeks. I went from looking slightly underweight to average to appearing slightly overweight in the face in the last 6 months. In all honesty, it's not 'that bad' I'm not a puffball or anything but I definitely like my old face better...the shape was much more defined and now if you saw my face now u'd think I never missed a meal in my life...

So I went to see the doctor and she found a lymph node on the side where I got my wisdom tooth removed. The left side (side i had the dental surgery on) is more puffy than the other side...so that's part of it. The swelling on that side should heal up within a few weeks hopefully, so at least the 2 sides will be evenly puffy Razz . But in spite of all this, even the pics I took a couple months ago my cheeks appear slightly bloated. What I am trying to say that although the wisdom tooth surgery has temporary contributed to this problem, my cheeks were still puffier than usual even before the surgery.

I think I have a swollen parotid gland (big salival gland just underneath the ear lobe) which is causing this problem. I don't buy the arguments about me "filling out" because I'd probably have to put on 20-30 pounds of FAT to account for this change. I am worried that possibly the vomitting I have been doing (once every month or so for the past 6 months) has done damage to my parotid gland. I read that people with bulimia commonly have puffy cheeks due to the acid in the vomit damaging the salival glands. However, people with bulimia purge about 3x a week on average, compared to my 0.25x a week.

Could vomiting around once per month the past 6 months caused damage to my saliva glands, causing my cheeks to puff? Will they heal in time assuming I don't vomit, giving them time to regenerate? Is it possible that I am comparing my face NOW which is swollen because of the wisdom tooth surgery to my face 6 months ago...and that's why there is a huge discrepency? Any insight, ideas, personal experience or whatever would be of great help! Smile
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replied May 31st, 2007
Especially eHealthy
It could have done damage, hard to say. If i were you i would lay off the alcohol for a while if you have an intolerance to it, frequent vomiting can hurt your esophagus. If your worried about it talk to you doctor to find out for sure if thats what has caused it or not.
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replied May 31st, 2007
Thx for your reply. Well, I have fully healed from the wisdom tooth surgery and my face looks fine to be honest. Although there are a couple pictures a few months ago where I looked very puffy, those could've been time periods right after I vomited and it might've caused my salivary glands to swell up temporarily.

But recently my face has been fine. I also realized that I never really had a thin face, it just it looked overinflated in a couple pictures and also during the time period when I was recovering from surgery.

But all is well so right, I haven't vomitted in almost a month so if my glands were swollen they've probably healed significantly.
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replied May 31st, 2007
Hi there,

Have you been diagnosed of an eating disorder? From what I am reading from your post, do you purposely throw up once a month, or is it just a natural stomach response? Do you binge and purge?

Stress could very well cause eating disorders. Have you checked in with your doctor about with regards to a possible eating disorder? My suggestion would be to do a full physical exam and blood work, with extra monitoring/tests on your stomach and esophagus to check for any other presenting concerns to rule that out before a possible diagnosis for bulimia.

Yes, vomiting can cause salivary gland and esophagus erosion and other problems. Because of the different pH levels and structure of the esophagus and mouth, they are not well contained for stomach acid which has a pH of about 2. The mouth and esophagus has a pH of about 7 or 8. It could be possible that damage may have been done to your salivary gland to swell up. But it's also possible that it was caused by your dental surgery. It could very well be an infection as well. It will take some time to heal.

I would love to hear from you and see how you're doing. I wish you well and message me anytime.
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replied June 1st, 2007
No i have not been diagnosed with an eating disorder. This is definitely NOT intentional purging lol, as I am pretty skinny and if anything I am trying to gain weight (aside from fat gains).

The problem started roughly 2 years ago whenever I would drink alcohol, I would feel neaseous after only 1 or 2 drinks. If I did a shot, I would throw up as well. I went to the doctors, did a blood test and everything, they checked my stomach and I seemed to be in perfect health. They told me to try Gavascon, Pecid AC to reduce the acid in my stomach; it didn't help at at all.

Okay fine...so I've developed an alergy to alcohol. It seemed very strange because I used to be able to have 4-5 drinks in a relatively short period of time and I wouldn't feel neaseous at all. But whatever drinking was never a big part of my life anyway, so I can definitely cut down or quit altogether if I need to.

Then the problem progressed into general vomitting...perhaps if I didn't get much sleep one night and I ate the next morning, I would suddenly feel queasy and throw up. This happened about once every 1-2 months. Now it's gotten worse, to the point where in almost any nervous situation I feel very queasy. I'm feeling neaseous about 2-3 times a week on average. On top of feeling neaseous in unnvering situations, I am still occasionally feeling queasy after morning meals. It's gotten to the point where I am scared to go out with people if I know i will be the least bit nervous, in fear that I will become neaseous and throw up. Miraculously (don't ask me how) I have not vomited in over 3 weeks, even though I have probably been on the edge about 10 times.

I went to see a doctor about it, and they did a blood pressure test, felt my stomach and I am in perfect health. She tried to play it off like I am a nervous guy and I need to relax. While very true, I'm just not buying the idea that being a Type A personality guy is suddenly accounting for neaseous feelings whenever I get the least bit nervous about something. She also recommended getting a full 8 hours of sleep a day...which I have tried to do but I have seen very little improvement in my condition.

I'm kinda out of ideas because every doctor I go to seems to be out of ideas...I'm going to see my family doctor who is semi-retired but he has a lifetime of experience and I'm hoping he might have some kind of answer as to what's wrong with me.

As for the puffy cheeks, there might've been some damage done but if so it is very minimal because I was at a party the other week and there are like 10 pics of me and I don't look puffy at all (thank god!) so the best thing I can do is limit my vomiting so if my glands are damaged at the very least they'll be able to heal the best they can.
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