Sunday, 12 July 2009


What is Bulimia?

Bulimia, also called bulimia nervosa, is a psychological eating disorder. Bulimia is characterised by episodes of binge-eating followed by inappropriate methods of weight control (purging). Inappropriate methods of weight control include vomiting, fasting, enemas, excessive use of laxatives and diuretics, or compulsive exercising. Excessive shape and weight concerns are also characteristics of bulimia. A binge is an episode where an individual eats a much larger amount of food than most people would in a similar situation. Binge eating is not a response to intense hunger. It is usually a response to depression, stress, or self esteem issues. During the binge episode, the individual experiences a loss of control. However, the sense of a loss of control is also followed by a short-lived calmness. The calmness is often followed by self-loathing. The cycle of overeating and purging usually becomes an obsession and is repeated often.

Bulimia was only diagnosed as its own eating disorder in the 1980s.

People with bulimia can look perfectly normal. Most of them are of normal weight, and some may be overweight. Women with bulimia tend to be high achievers.

It is often difficult to determine whether a person is suffering from Bulimia. This occurs because binging and purging is often done in secret. Also, individuals suffering from Bulimia often deny their condition.

Sufferers consume huge quantities of food. Sometimes up to 20,000 calories at a time. The foods on which they binge tend to be foods labeled as "comfort foods" -- sweet foods, high in calories, or smooth, soft foods like ice cream, cake, and pastry. An individual may binge anywhere from twice a day to several times daily.

Professor Janet treasure explains the complex
disorder of bulimia nervosa, how to spot the
symptoms and describes the impact it has on a person's life.

A real story
Liselle, 38, was bulimic for around 11 years.
She talks about how she beat the disease and the health
issues she still faces today.

A Family Member has an Eating Disorder

If you have a family member that with an Eating Disorder, your family member needs a lot of support. Suggest that your family member see an eating disorder expert. Be prepared for denial, resistance, and even anger. A doctor and/or a counselor can help them battle their eating disorder.

What Causes Bulimia?

There is currently no definite known cause of bulimia. Researchers believe it begins with dissatisfaction of the person's body and extreme concern with body size and shape. Usually individuals suffering from bulimia have low self-esteem, feelings of helplessness and a fear of becoming fat

Medical complications from bulimia

Some of the most common complications of bulimia are:

  • Erosion of tooth enamel, because of repeated exposure to acidic contents.
  • Dental cavities, sensitivity to hot or cold food.
  • Swelling and soreness in the salivary glands (from repeated vomiting)
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Ruptures of stomach and esophagus.
  • Abnormal build up of fluid in the intestines.
  • Disruption in normal bowel release function.
  • Electrolyte imbalance.
  • Dehydration.
  • Irregular heartbeat and in severe cases heart attack.
  • A greater risk for suicidal behaviour.
  • Decrease in libido ( sexual drive)

Symptoms of Bulimia

Some of the most common symptoms of bulimia are:

  • Eating uncontrollably
  • Purging
  • Strict dieting
  • Fasting
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Vomiting or abusing laxatives or diuretics
  • Vomiting blood
  • Using the bathroom frequently after meals.
  • Preoccupation with body weight.
  • Depression or mood swings, feeling out of control.
  • Swollen glands in neck and face.
  • Heartburn.
  • Heartburn
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion.
  • Constipation.
  • Irregular periods
  • Dental problems
  • Sore throat.
  • weakness.
  • Exhaustion
  • Bloodshot eyes

Risk Factors of Bulimia

There are certain professions where eating orders are more prevalent. Thinness is usually emphasized in these professions. The professions are: modeling, dancing, gymnastics, wrestling, and long-distance running.

Good news about Bulimia

Bulimia can be overcome.

Bulimia Statistics UK

Approximately 1-2 percent of women in the UK suffer from bulimia.

Every year there are as many as 18 new cases of Bulimia Nervosa per 100,000 population per year.

Between 1 and 3 percent of young women are thought to be bulimic at any given moment in time.

Cases of bulimia nervosa are rarely seen in people under the age of 13.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists:

  • Bulimia Nevosa commonly begins in the mid-teenage years.
  • Approximately 4 percent of women suffer with bulimia during their lifetime, but it is less common in men.
  • More girls than boys experince bulimia.
NHS National Library for Health:

  • The average age of onset of bulimia is 18-19 years.
  • Bulimia affects mainly women between the ages of 16 and 40, and is most likely to begin at about 19 years of age.
  • According to some studies, as many a 8% of women suffer from bulimia at some stage in their life, and affects 5% of female college students.
  • People who have close relatives with bulimia are four times more likely to develop the disease than people who do not.
  • Studies indicate that about 5 out of 10 people with bulimia are healthy 10 years after diagnosis; while 2 out 10 still have bulimia and 3 out 10 are partially recovered
  • Approximately 5% of bulimia sufferers go on to develope "Anorexia Nervosa."
  • Unlike Anorexia, it is not unusal to die from severe health effects of bulimia

Information provided by "Inspiration FM Radio" are for guide purpose only, to be used as a tool for the right help, in all cases see your GP for medical advice, or
telephone NHS Direct on 0845-4647

Related links:

"Anorexia Nervosa."

Related subjects Coming soon:

  • Laxative Abuse
  • Binge Eating
  • And more, so watch for further updates

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