ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Eating Disorders – Bulimia Nervosa

Updated on April 12, 2012

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by severe disturbances in one’s eating behavior. Bulimia nervosa is characterized by increasing food intake followed by compensatory behaviors like self-induced vomiting. This eating disorder usually occurs among healthy young females who become overly concerned with body shape and body weight. Bulimia nervosa may occur in someone who has a history of anorexia nervosa or vice versa but patients who have bulimia usually have a normal weight compared to those with anorexia who are underweight.

courtesy of
courtesy of

Bulimia nervosa has a lifetime prevalence of 1-3% among females but occurs less commonly among male individuals. Like anorexia nervosa, the cause of bulimia nervosa is multifactorial. People who have a high predisposition to obesity are at a higher risk of this eating disorder and cultural factors have also been implicated in some studies.

Bulimia nervosa typically presents as a female, in her twenties with a history of episodic binge eating associated with self-induced vomiting (purging) for a couple of years. This eating disorder is associated with a depressed mood and self-restriction of food intake which eventually leads to increase intensity of hunger which eventually leads to overeating. With the episodes of overeating associated with the avoidance of weight gain, people with bulimia nervosa would do remedies like self-induced vomiting, taking laxatives, and taking diuretics. People with bulimia nervosa usually favor food with high sugar or high fat content foods during their eating binge episodes.

People with bulimia usually have a feeling of satisfaction from overeating early in the course of the disorder, but as it progresses they usually lose control of their eating binge episodes. Binge eating episodes are usually triggered by episodes of depression or anxiety; however some patients with bulimia nervosa exhibit serious behavioral disturbances like suicidal thoughts and attempts, alcohol and drug abuse and sexual promiscuity. People with bulimia nervosa usually have bilateral hypertrophy of their salivary glands due to recurrent vomiting and a scarred or a callus hand due to trauma from the teeth. Laboratory findings electrolyte imbalances (hypokalemia, hyponatremia) and alkalosis may be present secondary to repeated vomiting. Esophageal and stomach rupture are rare complications also attributed to vomiting.

Compared to anorexia nervosa, the outcome and prognosis of bulimia nervosa are more favorable. Mortality for bulimic patients are low and a majority of patients would fully recover, however in some patients, symptoms of bulimia will persist and some would eventually developed anorexia nervosa.


Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine

Related Articles

Eating Disorders - Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by severe disturbances in eating behaviour with voluntary restriction of food intake as its salient feature


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • jhunpaler profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Philippines

      thanks for the reading, I agree with Maddie, the psychological part is hard to overcome

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 

      7 years ago from Oakland, CA


      Eating disorders are "all between the ears" the way alcoholism is. Certainly, there are psychological causes, but the disorder takes on a life of its own until you lose all control of it. Bulimia requires physical, emotional, and cognitive treatment.

    • Boefie profile image


      7 years ago from Germany

      Can't those people just get over it? Its all between the ears right?


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)