Bulimia Nervosa

When you have bulimia nervosa, you may have a feeling that you live in your own world of shame and self-disgust as you battle the imprisonment you experience with an addiction-like relationship with food.

Bulimia is an eating disorder in which you are preoccupied with your weight, body image and body shape, often judging yourself severely and harshly with perceived imperfections. With bulimia, you engage in episodes of bingeing and purging, where you eat large amount of food and then try to rid yourself of the extra calories by unhealthy methods such as self-induced vomiting or excessive exercise.

Bulimia is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder. Bulimia can be difficult to overcome because it is intimately related to self-image not just about food. Getting effective bulimia treatment can help you feel better about yourself, adopt healthier eating patterns and reverse serious complications.

Physical signs and symptoms of bulimia may include:
  • Abnormal bowel functioning
  • Sores in the mouth and throat
  • Damage to the teeth and gums
  • Swollen salivary glands in the cheeks
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Bloating
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sore, scars or calluses on the knuckles or hands
  • Menstrual irregularities of loss of menstruation (amenorrhea)
Emotional and behavioral symptoms of bulimia may include: 
  • Constant dieting
  • Feeling that you cannot control your eating behavior
  • Eating until the point of discomfort or pain
  • Eating much more food in a single binge episode than in a normal meal or snack
  • Excessive exercising
  • The use of laxatives, diuretics or enemas in order to lose weight
  • Being preoccupied with your body shape and weight
  • Having a distorted and negative body image
  • Going to the bathroom during meals or after eating
  • Hoarding food
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

If you experience any of the bulimia symptoms listed above, seek medical help as soon as possible.  Bulimia usually does not get better on its own, and it can even get worse if left untreated and eventually take over your life.

When you have bulimia your life usually revolves around food and eating.  You may fantasize about food and be preoccupied with cravings for "forbidden" food.  Sometimes you may plan binge-purge episodes or what starts out as eating a normal meal turns into a binging episode. 

Whatever the case may be, bulimia is in control, not you.  Bulimia, along with the complications and destruction it causes, can keep you from living your life to its fullest.

Please contact Dr. Rodriguez in the Health Clinic, or a counselor in the Counseling Center, to discuss your anorexia symptoms and feelings.  If you feel reluctant to seek treatment, try to work up the courage to confide in someone about what you are going through, whether it is a friend or loved one, a health care professional, a teacher, a spiritual leader, or someone else you trust.  They can help you take the first steps to successful bulimia treatment.


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