What is bulimia?

Bulimia is an eating disorder in which a person binges and purges. The person may eat a lot of food at once and then try to get rid of it by vomiting, using laxatives or sometimes over-exercising. It affects women and men of all ages.
Also know about Anorexia Nervosa another eating disorder.

Bulimia - An eating disorder (causes, symptoms and treatment)

When you are struggling with bulimia, life is a constant battle between the desire to lose weight or stay thin and the overwhelming compulsion to binge eat. And all the while, you feel increasingly out of control. It's important to note that bulimia doesn't necessarily involve purging.

Causes of Bulimia

There is no single cause of it. While low self-esteem and concerns about weight and body image play major roles, there are many other contributing causes. In most cases, people suffering with Bulimia - and eating disorders in general - have trouble managing emotions in a healthy way. Eating can be an emotional release so it's not surprising that people binge and purge when feeling angry, depressed, stressed or anxious.

One thing is certain. It is a complex emotional issue. Major causes and risk factor for bulimia include
  1. Poor body image
  2. Our culture's emphasis on thinness and beauty can lead to body dissatisfaction, particularly in young women bombarded with media images of an unrealistic physical ideal.

  3. Low self-esteem
  4. Women or men who think of themselves as useless, worthless and unattractive are at risk of bulimia. Things that can contribute to low self-esteem include depression, perfectionism, childhood abuse and a critical home environment.

  5. History of trauma or abuse
  6. Women with this problem appear to have a higher incidence of sexual abuse. People with this problem, are also more likely than average to have parents with a substance abuse problem or psychological disorder.

  7. Major life changes
  8. This problem is often triggered by stressful changes or transitions, such as the physical changes of puberty, going away to college, or the breakup of relationship. Binging and purging may be a negative way to cope with the stress.

  9. Appearance-oriented professions or activities
  10. People who face tremendous image pressure are vulnerable to developing this. Those at risk include ballet dancers, models, gymnasts wrestlers, runners and actors.

Physical signs and symptoms of Bulimia

1. Calluses or scars on the knuckles or hands from sticking fingers down the throat to induce vomiting

2. Puffy "chipmunk" cheeks caused by repeated vomiting.

3. Discolored teeth from exposure to stomach acid when throwing UP mein look yellow ragged or clear.

4. Not underweight - men and women with this problem are usually normal weight or slightly overweight being underweight while purging might indicate a purging type of anorexia.

5. Frequent fluctuations in weight - weight may fluctuate by 10 Pounds or more due to alternating episodes of bingeing and purging.

Effects of Bulimia

Common medical complications and adverse effects of this include
  1. Weight gain
  2. Abdominal pain, bloating
  3. Swelling of the hands and feet
  4. Chronic sore throat, hoarseness
  5. Broken blood vessels in the eyes
  6. Swollen cheeks and salivary glands
  7. Weakness and dizziness
  8. Tooth decay and mouth sores
  9. Acid reflux or ulcers
  10. Ruptured stomach for oesophagus
  11. Loss of menstrual periods
  12. Chronic constipation from laxative abuse.

Treatment of Bulumia

People with bulimia may need a combination of treatment including psychotherapy, family therapy and medication. It is important for the person with this problem to be actively involved in their treatment.
  1. Drug therapies
  2. Doctors often prescribe antidepressant for bulimia, usually those called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

  3. Complementary and alternative therapies
  4. Psychotherapy is a crucial part of bulimia treatment. Many people with this problem have good results from cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches you to replace negative thoughts and behaviours with healthy ones.
    1. Admit you have a problem.
    2. Talk to someone.
    3. Stay away from people, places and activities that trigger the temptation to binge your purge.
    4. Seek professional help.
    5. Breaking the binge and purge cycle.
    6. Changing unhealthy thoughts and patterns.
    7. Solving emotional issues.
    8. Offer compassion and support.
    9. Avoid insults, scare tactics, guilt trips and patronizing comments.
    10. Set a good example.
    11. Accept your limits.
    12. Take care of yourself.

  5. Nutrition and supplements
  6. Follow these nutritional tips
    1. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.
    2. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of filtered water daily.
    3. Use quality protein sources such as lean meat and eggs, whey, and vegetable Protein Shakes - as part of balanced program to gain muscle mass and preventing wasting.
    4. Avoid refined sugar such as Candy and soft drinks.
    5. A daily multivitamin.
    6. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, 1 - 2 capsules or 1 tbsp full oil two to three times daily, to help decrease inflammation and improve immunity.

  7. Herbs
  8. Herbs May strengthen and tone the body's systems. These herbs are not used to treat this problem specifically, but may not be good for general over all health. such as Ashwagandha (Withania somniferum), Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum), Grape seed (Vitis vinifera), Catnip (Nepeta spp).

  9. Massage
  10. Therapeutic massage can be an effective part of a bulimia treatment plan.

  11. Following up
  12. Because this problem is usually a long-term disease, a health care provider will need to check the person's weight, exercise habits and physical and mental health from time to time.


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