Bulimia nervosa , often referred to as bulimia, is an eating disorder in which the individual goes through cycles of binging (excessively overeating in a single sitting) and purging. Purging, an attempt to get rid of the food consumed during binges, may be done through a number of ways including forced vomiting, taking laxatives, or over-exercising. Individual suffering from bulimia often go through periods of not eating or fasting along with their cycles of binging and purging. The causes for bulimia nervosa may be biological, social and emotional. Pressure from society to fit into the "ideal" body image may also be a cause. Women are more likely to experience eating disorders including bulimia nervosa, but men may also experience these conditions. Symptoms of bulimia nervosa may include chronic dehydration, an electrolyte imbalance, infertility, constipation, peptic ulcers, gastric reflux, and other symptoms related to repeated vomiting such as throat, dental, and oral issues.
Bulimia nervosa is often present in combination with other mental health conditions, such as mood disorders, anxiety, and impulse control issues. He or she may also have a substance abuse issue. Diagnosis is often hard to make in bulimia nervosa, but trained professionals may be able to make a diagnosis based on the individual's behaviors. Signs of an affected individual may include an obsession with weight loss and dieting, body image issues, frequent and compulsive exercising, frequent trips to the bathroom during or after meals, eating in secret, finding hidden food wrappers and containers, and withdrawing from friends and normal activities. Because bulimia nervosa is mostly related to mental health, the treatment often involves at least some psychotherapy. Medications such as antidepressants may also be prescribed to help. If you or someone you know may be suffering from bulimia nervosa, it is best to contact your doctor or a trained professional for help.