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Bulimia Nervosa - Frequently Asked Questions

Written by Dr. Vivekanand, MBBS | Medically Reviewed by dr. reeja tharu, M.Phil.,Ph.D on Dec 07, 2014
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which doctor do I consult?

It would be necessary to consult a psychiatrist.

2. What is Bulimia?

Bulimia Nervosa is an Eating Disorder, the characteristic feature of which is an irresistible urge to overeat followed by the compensatory action of self-induced vomiting or purging to avoid weight gain.

3. Does having a history of bulimia affect a woman's chances of getting pregnant?

Bulimia causes irregular periods in women. But there is no evidence that it could affect a woman's chances of getting pregnant after she recovers from the disorder.

4. What happens if a woman having Bulimia gets pregnant?

If a woman actively suffering from bulimia gets pregnant then the following complications may occur:
  • Miscarriage
  • Low-birth weight baby.
  • Premature birth.
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression

5. What is Binge Eating?

Episodes of uncontrolled excessive eating, seen in patients with bulimia, are commonly known as "binges."

6. Why is Bulimia common in girls?

Young girls are highly influenced by pictures of extremely slim models in magazines, movies and television. They may be easily impressed and may mimic one such movie star or model and see them as their role model in life. This may induce them to become thin and to attain the so-called perfect body. In the process they may become bulimic without realising that their health could be challenged and compromised.

7. What are the effects on the health of someone who has Bulimia?

Bulimia can be very harmful to the body, affecting the mental and physical well being of the patient. The patient can suffer from milder problems like sore throat, gum & dental problems, to more serious ones affecting the heart, kidneys, and other vital organs.

8. Can Bulimia be treated?

Yes, It is possible to treat patients with Bulimia. The patients are also very receptive to treatment. Treatment would usually consist of behavioural therapy that would involve not only the patient but also the family or close relations. Drugs are also prescribed as a part of the treatment.

9. Is it necessary for the patient to be hospitalised?

It is not mandatory that a patient with Bulimia be hospitalised. Usually they willingly accept treatment. But if the episode of Binge Eating becomes uncontrollable or if the associated medical problems need to be urgently treated then hospitalisation will be required.

10. How can I help a person who I think has Bulimia?

If you feel that a person is suffering from the condition then:
  • Try and get the person to talk about their condition, try to explain to them the importance of seeking professional help as there are effective treatments for Bulimia Nervosa available.
  • Talk to the person and find out their thoughts or the reasons involved in developing the condition and also about fear factors involved in giving it up.
  • If they are not willing to discuss their eating problems with you, or become aggressive, suggest that they read about the condition as this will help them to get familiar with the condition and its dangers.
  • Try and understand the condition yourself and be prepared to offer any support the person might need.

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There is so much information about eating disorders. But almost no information about how or where to get help.

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