Bulimia is an eating disorder where people consume large amounts of food and then rid their bodies of the excess calories using unhealthy methods. There are two sorts of bulimia: purging bulimia and non-purging bulimia.
Purging bulimics purge by vomiting; abusing laxatives or diuretics, or enemas. Non-purging bulimics purge by exercising obsessively, fasting, or strictly dieting. Some use a combination of all of these forms of purging.
Because many individuals with bulimia "binge and purge" in secret and maintain a normal or above normal body weight, they are often able to hide their bulimia from others for years.
When this activity occurs on average at least twice a week for three months, and is also accompanied by excessive concern about body shape and weight, bulimia may have developed. Dieting heavily between episodes of binging and purging is common. Eventually half of those with anorexia develop bulimia.
As with anorexia, bulimia typically begins during adolescence. The condition occurs most often in women, but is also found in men. Bulimia is more likely to be found in people who participate in activities that stress body image, have obese kin, suffer from perfectionism, are recovering from trauma, or are related to others with eating disorders.
Many individuals with bulimia, ashamed of their disorder, do not seek help until they reach their 30s or 40s. By this time, their eating behavior tends to be deeply ingrained and more difficult to change.
Bulimia is an extremely serious eating disorder that left untreated can severely harm quality of life and result in the following conditions:
- Tooth decay caused by the acids from vomiting
- Esophagus inflammation or tears
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Low body temperature
- Long-term bowel problems
- Swollen salivary glands
- Increased suicide risk
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If you fall into any of these descriptions for eating disorders, do not hesitate to contact your physician or a counselor because bulimia nervosa is a disorder that can be successfully treated.
If you have friends who might have an eating disorder, please encourage them to seek help – you will save a life!
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Material taken from the National Women's Health Information Center.
Material taken from WebMD
Eating Disorder Information, The National Institute of Mental Health.
For More Information:
See our Diet Pill Dangers article.