Bulimia Nervosa

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia nervosa is a condition occurring mostly in young women in which they binge on large amounts of high-calorie (usually also high-sugar and high-fat) foods until they feel gorged and numb, then purge their bodies of the calories they've eaten by vomiting, enemas, abuse of laxatives, or excessive exercise. You will find more information about bingeing under the related disorder Binge Eating in this section. The two disorders are quite similar, except that Dingers who do not purge gain tremendous amounts of weight, and bulimics damage their normal-weight bodies by purge techniques. The stomach acid brought up in vomiting erodes tooth enamel, burns the lining of the esophagus and throat, and causes disturbances of fluid balance and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Chronic use of laxatives or enemas can also damage the colon and cause the loss of fluid and electrolytes from daily diarrhea. Extreme exercising can lead to stress fractures of the bones of the feet and legs.

Most young women (or men) who suffer from bulimia should receive counseling from a qualified psychotherapist to help them recover their self-esteem and to overcome their fears of weight gain if they eat normally. But in addition to competent mental health care, nutrition can also help.

What helps Bulimia Nervosa?

• Please refer to the listing for Binge Eating, as the dietary recommendations are nearly identical for these two disorders.

• Engaging in bulimia can deplete your blood of potassium and sodium, and we would recommend that you ask your personal physician to do a thorough physical examination, including laboratory testing, to be sure you have not done so. Recommendation: If your blood values are reasonably normal, eat proper amounts of foods rich in potassium, such as broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, oranges, and bananas. In addition, you may want to replace lost fluids using GatorAde Light, which contains both potassium and sodium.

What makes Bulimia Nervosa worse?

• See Binge Eating.

 


 

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Bulimia Nervosa
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