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Our new review series for the next few weeks focuses on the dangerous condition Bulimia Nervosa

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Bulimia Nervosa (Part 1)

Bulimia nervosa is better known as bulimia is where people try control their weight by severely restricting the amount of food they eat, then binge eating and purging the food from their body by making themselves vomit or using laxatives. 

Warning signs

Signs include an obsessive and unhealthy attitude towards food and eating, being overcritical about weight and shape (even though not overweight) and frequent visits to the bathroom after eating, after which the person might appear flushed and have scarred knuckles (from forcing fingers down the throat to bring on vomiting).


Who is affected by bulimia nervosa?

Bulimia is five times more common than anorexia. Approximately 1% of the population suffer from bulimia. Women are 30 times more likely to suffer from bulimia then men. It can occur at any age, but mainly affects women aged between 16 and 40 (on average starts around the age of 18 or 19).



The main symptoms are binge eating and purging. Purging means ridding your body of food by making yourself sick or taking laxatives.


Binge eating

Binge eating involves eating vast quantities of high-calorie food, without necessarily feeling hungry or needing to eat. The urge to eat can be a way of dealing with emotional problems; it can quickly become obsessive and hard to control. The person often feels guilty and low after binge eating.



With bulimia, purging is a response to bingeing as the person tries to rid their body of the food so they will not “put on weight”. After binge eating the person can feel guilty and regretful. They may feel physically bloated and unattractive. The main impulse to purge is a powerful, overriding fear of putting on weight. The most common methods of purging involve making yourself sick or using laxatives. Less common methods of purging include taking diet pills, over-exercising, and extreme dieting.


Other signs of bulimia

Other signs of bulimia can include regular changes in weight, an obsessive attitude towards food and eating, large amounts of money being spent on food, disappearing soon after eating (usually visiting the toilet to vomit), episodes of over-eating, periods of starvation, scarred knuckles (from forcing fingers down the throat to bring on vomiting), depression and anxiety and unrealistic opinions about body weight and shape.


To be continued…next week

Disclaimer: Information given is general; please ensure you consult with your healthcare professional before making any changes recommended

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