Bulimia nervosa is characterised by binge eating followed by purging.   People who suffer with this eating disorder are fearful of weight gain, but are driven to eat large amounts, often in secret and then induce vomiting or take laxatives or fasting to avoid weight gain.    They often feel a lack of self-control and have an excessive concern with their bodyweight and shape.  People with bulimia often have a weight in a healthy range and hide their binge eating/purging behaviour pattern from others.  Bulimia nervosa more commonly affects adults, but should you have concerns that a young person has developed this behaviour, do seek further help as soon as possible.  Additional signs of bulimia include:

  • mood swings and anxiety
  • depression and low self-esteem
  • poor dental health
  • swelling of the hands and feet
  • irregular or non-existent periods
  • weight fluctuations

Guilt and shame is a strong emotion in people who suffer with bulimia nervosa, which leads to low mood swings, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.  Depression should be treated which can also help to treat this eating disorder itself.   Dental erosion is evident in people with ongoing bulimia nervosa, caused regular presence of acidic vomit in the mouth.  It is characteristically on the inside lower teeth at the front of the mouth.

Vomiting, laxatives and diuretics do not avoid gaining weight after bingeing.

In my teenage nutrition clinic I can offer a specific dietary assessment for young people who are at risk of developing a more serious eating disorder. Please do contact me should you wish to discuss how I can help.