Middlebury

 

Bulimia Nervosa

characterized by a secretive cycle of binge eating followed by purging

Bulimia includes eating large amounts of food--more than most people would eat in one meal--in short periods of time, then getting rid of the food and calories through vomiting, laxative abuse, and over-exercising

Symptoms

  • Repeated episodes binging and purging
  • Feeling out of control during a binge and eating beyond the point of comfortable fullness
  • Purging after a binge, (typically by self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, diet pills and/or diuretics, excessive exercise, or fasting)
  • Frequent dieting
  • Extreme concern with body weight and shape

Warning Signs

  • Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or the existence of wrappers and containers indicating the consumption of large amounts of food
  • Evidence of purging behaviors, including frequent trips to the bathroom after meals, signs and/or smells of vomiting, presence of wrappers or packages of laxatives or diuretics
  • Excessive, rigid exercise-regimen--despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury, the need to "burn off" calories taken in
  • Unusual swelling of the cheeks or jaw area
  • Calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles from self-induced vomiting
  • Discoloration or staining of the teeth
  • Creation of lifestyle schedules or rituals to make time for binge-and-purge sessions
  • Withdrawal from usual friends and activities

Health Consequences

  • Electrolyte imbalances caused by dehydration and loss of potassium and sodium, which can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death

  • Potential for gastric rupture during periods of binging
  • Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting
  • Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids released during frequent vomiting
  • Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation as a result of laxative abuse
  • Peptic ulcers and pancreatitis