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Bulimia Nervosa:- Definition, Side Effect, and Symptoms

18 September, 2020 Syed Zubair

The Truth Behind the Story:

Some people exhibit distorted eating habits that may seem damaging to their health. While some people disregard these as conscious bad decisions, it has to be understood that sometimes, these may be eating disorders. Eating disorders are serious complications in a person’s lifestyle.

With extended periods of time, they can negatively change and impact a person’s person’s lifestyle. These negative impacts are not just physical, but can also be emotional and mental in some cases, and can affect a person’s ability to function in the normal ways most people find easy to. Among these eating disorders, one of the common eating disorders we see is Bulimia Nervosa an eating disorder in which we see people overeating or having bouts of binge eating.

This is a serious, complex mental health issue that needs medical and psychiatric help so the individual suffering from it can learn to cope in life. And if it is left untreated, it may worsen over time and have greater impact and damage.

While Bulimia Nervosa can affect anyone, from any age group, regardless of gender, it tends to develop in early adulthood and appears to be more common in women than men, similar to Anorexia, another eating disorder.

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What is Bulimia Nervosa?

People suffering from Bulimia will tend to eat large amounts of food, usually greater amounts than they need to in a specified period of time. These can be called ‘Binge Episodes’ where the person eats these unusually large quantities of food, with each episode going on until the individual in question becomes painfully thin.

During this period, it has to be understood that the person will usually feel that they cannot stop eating, or that they have no control over themselves while eating.

These binges can happen with any kind of food but are more commonly seen with unhealthy food that the individual would normally want to avoid eating. And after eating this unhealthy food, the individual tries to purge the eaten food by throwing up, or excessively exercising. They do this as an attempt to compensate for the extra calories that they’ve taken in while binge eating and relieve the gut pain caused by the overeating.

These purging activities can range from vomiting and taking laxatives to fasting and enemas, to excessive exercise.

The symptoms involved in binge eating may appear similar to the binge eating subtype of Anorexia Nervosa, but the difference here is that the individual suffering from Anorexia tries to become Underweight and reduce their weight, while those suffering from Bulimia tend to maintain the same weight over time, rather than reducing it.

The Most Common Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa are:

  • Repeating episodes where the individual binge eats without the ability to exhibit control over their actions
  • These binge eating episodes are then followed by wrongful purging methods to prevent the gain of weight
  • They show self-esteem that is overly influenced by body shape and their weight, though they do not have underweight ideals.
  • They show a strong fear of gaining any more weight, though they may have perfectly normal weight.

Side Effects seen in Bulimia Nervosa:

Though Bulimia Nervosa is mostly a mental complication, it has strong effects on the individual’s physique as well. These effects can be seen as time passes. They include inflammation of the throat, or a sore throat, as well as swollen salivary glands, worn out teeth or tooth decay, acid reflux and gut irritation, as well as severe dehydration and hormonal imbalances.

In severe cases, Bulimia can also lead to the individual suffering from an imbalance in their levels of electrolytes such as Sodium and Potassium, and calcium, which may eventually lead to a stroke or a heart attack.


Bulimia Nervosa can be classified as a serious health disorder. It affects not just the individual’s health but can go so far so as to damage their emotional stability and social well-being. They suffer from a constant fear of gaining weight but have repeated episodes of binge eating over which they have little control, forcing them to take drastic measures to purge themselves of the calories consumed, out of fear of the weight gain.

A serious disorder on this level requires adequate help from a trained professional so that the individual can learn to cope with their thoughts and help them regain control over what they want. This is a serious health complication and threatens the person’s wellbeing. If you, or anyone you know, exhibit similar symptoms, have yourself checked immediately so you can deal with this issue at the earliest.