Diagnosing bulimia nervosa with parotid gland swelling

J Am Dent Assoc. 2004 May;135(5):613-6; quiz 655. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.2004.0249.


Background: The authors describe bulimia nervosa, or BN, and its effect on the parotid gland. The associated asymptomatic bilaterally enlarged parotid glands often present a diagnostic dilemma.

Case description: The authors present a case of a 22-year-old woman with BN who had bilateral parotid gland swelling, serum electrolyte alteration and no dental stigmata. Her principal concern was the associated cosmetic deformity.

Clinical implications: Because patients with BN who have parotid gland swelling usually are secretive about their purging, the diagnosis may be confirmed by conducting a clinical examination and a serum electrolyte study. Prompt diagnosis can avoid serious medical complications.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bulimia / blood
  • Bulimia / complications*
  • Bulimia / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypokalemia / etiology
  • Parotid Diseases / etiology*