All About Bulimia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are both serious eating disorders. They are psychiatric illnesses that affect more than five million Americans - and that's both men and women! If this figure doesn't startle you, then listen to this - thousands of these five million people will die from the physical problems resulting from these conditions. Eating disorders aren't limited to the extremes of anorexia and bulimia. They also include binge eating and dangerous fad dieting. In a culture where thin is in, nearly every American woman, man and child has suffered at one time or another from issues of weight, body shape and self-image.

What is Bulimia?

Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder that involves episodes of binge eating, followed by episodes of purging. Simply put, a bulimic rapidly eats huge amounts of food at one time (binging) and then rids it from the body (purging). A binge episode can involve eating up to 20,000 calories and usually involves "comfort foods." That's more than 10 times your daily caloric intake! To rid the body of food, bulimics resort to, one or any combination of, fasting, vomiting, compulsive exercising, abusing laxatives and/or diuretics (substances or drugs that make you go to the bathroom), and enemas (flushing out the bowels with fluid). Binging and purging is usually followed by intense feelings of guilt and shame. Despite this incredible physical abuse, and contrary to popular opinion, the bulimic may not be visibly underweight and may even be slightly overweight. Regardless, the bulimic - just like the anorexic - uses self-destructive eating behaviors to deal with psychological problems. Often these problems go much deeper than the obsession with food and weight.

Bulimia Warning Signs

Think you or someone you know is bulimic? There's more involved than just possible weight loss, weakness and exhaustion. Consider some of these danger signs.

  • Binging, or eating uncontrollably.
  • Attempting to lose weight by strict dieting, fasting, compulsive exercise, vomiting or abusing laxatives or diuretics.
  • Using the bathroom frequently; immediately after meals.
  • Obsessed with body weight.
  • Depression, mood swings, feeling out of control.
  • Swollen glands in face and neck.
  • Regularly experience reflux or heartburn.
  • Bloating.
  • Irregular periods.
  • Digestive problems such as constipation, indigestion, and Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome.
  • Tooth decay caused by stomach acid from constant vomiting.
  • Sore throat caused by stomach acid.
  • Vomiting blood.

Bulimia Can Kill

Anything to look good may be the motto, but the price is way too high! Check out a few bulimia by-products. Yuck!

  • Dehydration.
  • Damage to the bowels, liver and kidneys.
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Electrolyte imbalance, which leads to irregular heartbeat, and in some cases, cardiac arrest.
  • Cancer in the squamous cell lining of the throat, from years of chronic vomiting.

Facts to Chew On

  • Five percent of college women are bulimic.
  • Ten percent of bulimics will die from starvation, cardiac arrest, other medical complications from the disease or suicide.

Have you suffered from an eating disorder? and we'll publish a collection of your experiences and thoughts on this subject.

Related Stories:


1 Comment

latest videos


Do You Worry About Your Weight?

  • Yes, I always think I look fat.
  • Sometimes, but I try not to obsess about it.
  • Never. I'm healthy and look like a million bucks.
  • No, but I have friends who do.

related stories

Food Machine asks: Lately, I can’t stop eating. When I wake up in the morning, food is the first ...
I really need your help. I think my best friend has an eating disorder. I noticed in the past few...
In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Kidzworld has put together a list of body i...
In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Kidzworld has put together a list of body i...
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are both serious eating disorders. They are psychiatric illn...

Dear Dish-It in the forums

EndlessDream posted in Friends:
Hmmm....Then she mustn't be necessarily "using" you, if she is not getting something in return ( As far as we know of). However, It does sound like she is being extremely unfair. That just might be how she is. Not exactly loyal to anyone. Well, try to talk to her about it and tell her how you feel. And, if it doesn't work out, then she might not be a great friend to hang around with, and maybe you will find someone else who enjoys your company. I hope this helps, and good luck :)
reply about 6 hours
XxIHateMathxX posted in Friends:
No not really. Like I said, one minute she's all smiley and then she doesn't even look at me. Most of the time I see her with Daniela and Andrea. Today she was asking me if I was going to hang out with her, Daniela, Andrea and Luisa during recess. When I told her that I was 'going to have to think' she was like, "Whatever." and ran off to catch up with the Threesome. Thanks. :)
reply about 6 hours
EndlessDream posted in Friends:
Is she asking you to do things for her? Like help with homework, carry her books and so on?
reply about 6 hours
XxIHateMathxX posted in Friends:
This is gonna be long:   I have this 'friend' Amelia. She and I bonded really fast last year and we've become inseparable.   But lately she's blowing me off and my other best friend Belen told me: Amelia is actually using you. She does this to new kids at school, especially from foreign countries. She thinks because you're Chinese and the Chinese teacher's daughter, you'll help her. She's also using you as a backup friend - a substitute. There's this new girl Daniela, who Amelia thinks is her new best friend. She thinks that when Daniela stop hanging out with her, she'll have you.   The thing is, Daniela is pretty nice and she probably doesn't know all the trouble she's causing. Belen's old 'best friend' Andrea is doing the same to her.   I also learned that Amelia is seemingly the 'most popular girl in school' because she's mean to everyone. She always passes by the little kids' classrooms and hugs them & stuff. They seem to love her, but now I know it's because they think if they're nice they won't get bullied.   Maybe she WAS using me but I dunno. Belen says that each kid in the entire school has a bad story about Amelia and something she did to them. I said, "Then how was she so nice to me last year?" Then Belen was all like, "She was using you."   I don't know if she's telling the truth. She and Amelia are deadly enemies and she might be making up the whole Amelia story just to get back at her. Although Amelia has been dropping a few signs that she IS using me as a substitute friend.   Sometimes when I walk in, she'll be like "OOOOHHH! CASSANDRA! HI! HOW ARE YOU! C'MON, LOOK AT THIS! WE'RE GONNA HAVE SOOOO MUCH FUN TOGETHER ..."   And other times I'm like, "Hey, Amelia!" and she says, "Oh. Huh? Yeah, hi ..."  Once during PE we had to sit down and on the way to the gym, she was chatting with me in a BBBBFFFF way. But then when we had to partner up she said with Andrea, Daniela and someone else who I forgot.   I don't know what to do. It's just so weird. Even though now I know she MIGHT be using me (I'm not sure if she really is) it just seems WEIRD. Even for a supposed ##### she was my possibly fake best friend for the whole of last year. It's WEIRD to suddenly switch.   I don't even know if this should be happening. We've only just started 5th grade. Doesn't this WEIRD #### start happening around middle school? Thank you, everyone who will help in advance. P.S. Please include flirting advice. - A Girl Who Might Just Lose Her Possibly Fake Best Friend
reply about 7 hours
Okay I have school today and my hair is not sitting how I want it to. But my mum says it is sitting fine WHEN ITS NOT! SHE IS NOT LISTENING what do i do?
reply about 8 hours

play online games