Research Round #2 - Bulimia Nervosa (eating disorder)

       Hi everyone, for the least research round that I completed, I included the different types of emotional disorders and they they can be treated. Since I am comparing the treatment plans of these emotional disorder with this specific one, Bulimia Nervosa, I also need to know how bulimia is treated. I think this is very important to look into as many kids deal with this problem and knowing what this eating disorder is can help other people as well. 



Bulimia is a serious and life treating disorder in which the person who has this disorder will binge eat in a short amount of time, and then they in many ways to get rid of these calories taken and nutrients by unhealthy measures. therefore, the person may then engage in forced vomiting which can cause detrimental effects to the person's body and digestive system, leading to death eventually. The amount that is binged can be extreme or just a small amount. 


There are two different versions of bulimia:

  • purging bulimia - after eating an certain amount of food, the person will try to get rid of all this food by self-induced forced vomiting. This also includes using unhealthy things such as:
    • laxatives
    • diuretics
    • ememas
  • non-purging bulimia - After eating a certain amount of food, the person with this type of bulimia will try to get rid of the food by using things like:
    • weight gain
    • fasting 
    • strict dieting
    • excessive exercising (1)

These two types of bulimia can also be mixed together and the person can adopt both types of bulimia. 


Some of the Symptoms of Bulimia are: 

  • episodes of consuming large amounts of food in such a short amount of time which happens to be behaviours that cause large weight gain, then suddenly vomiting 
  • out of control feeling after uncontrolled eating episodes
  • heavy affected by body image problems, especially with the standards and views of social media and society in general 
  • Other struggles and conditions includes:
    • self injury
    • substance abuse (2)
  • calluses and scars on knuckles and hands
  • puffy cheeks 
  • discoloured teeth
  • blisters in the mouth and around as well (3)


Some thing that can help you figure out if you are bulimic or not occurring to help guide:

  • Are you obsessed with your body and your weight?
  • Does food and dieting dominate your life?
  • Are you afraid that when you start eating, you won’t be able to stop?
  • Do you ever eat until you feel sick?
  • Do you feel guilty, ashamed, or depressed after you eat?
  • Do you vomit or take laxatives to control your weight? (3)


Effects of Bulimia Nervosa: 

The next parts are what I did in a previous research project, just thought I would add it in as well because it is also on eating disorders:

Appearance Changes: 

Although bulimia will cause more severe effects on the inside of the body, sometimes it will result in effects on the outside of the body as well. Purging and bingeing will result in some different body sizes and shapes, depending on the amount of food consumed and thrown out. People with bulimia will often try and force out all of the food eaten by forcing their fingers into their mouth to cause a reflex action. Due to this, people with bulimia will in result have dried and cracked knuckles and hand callouses over time. Then over more time, the bile produced in the liver will result in yellow teeth, enamel erosion and swollen gums. Some of the hydrochloric acid will inevitably come in contact with the skin and can cause the skin the burn. The final result will be puffy cheeks from distended salivary glands. (4)(7)


Digestive system structures/ parts/ organs: 

The first obvious physical side effects of bulimia can involved a sore throat and stomach pain. The amount of food introduced into the digestive system is too overwhelming to the body, causing indigestion. Therefore, when one vomits because of binge eating, indigestion and bloating are inevitable.

The chronic self induced vomiting caused by bulimia can damage teeth and a variety of other structures with the high acid content. Some examples of this in the mouth are, damaged teeth, enamel erosion, tooth sensitivity as well as gum disease. Reverse bulimia on the esophagus can irritate or tear parts of the esophagus as the hydrochloric acid gets in touch with the epidermal skin in the esophagus. Then, blood vomit will occur as a sign of the tear in the esophagus. If the vomited acid gets in touch with any parts of the body, it can also result in scarring and burning of the skin.

Bulimia will cause too much food to end up in the digestive system, a way that many people choose to get rid of the food is by uses of diuretics, diet pills or laxatives. The use of these products often prescribed can cause difficult bowel movement, damage to the kidney walls, as well as damage to the intestine.

Bowel damage with the losing of muscle tone will involve the muscles to become limp and is not able to produce contractions anymore. Damage to the small or large intestine can cause bloating, diarrhea, damage to the colon, lower intestine and constipation. After diarrhea or vomiting, a lot of water will be lost in the body, causing constipation as the body cannot absorb any more water in the large intestine.

Acid reflux can occur as well, this is when the bile in the stomach will rush up to the gullet and can cause heartburn. Acid reflux can be severe and cause inflammation in the food pipe and throat, as well as ulcers in the esophagus and stomach. When the disturbances in the digestive system increase, gas can build up, as well as bloating, pain and a distension of your abdomen can occur. (4)(5)(6)(7)


Circulatory system: 

Eating too much and developing the habit of purge eating then trying to get rid of all the food consumed will cause severe dehydration. Dehydration will lead to dry skin, weak muscles and extreme fatigue. Then, with vomiting will lead to electrolytes that are out of balance. Electrolytes out of balance will cause low levels of potassium, magnesium and sodium, causing it to be hard on the heart. This will result in an irregular heartbeat called arrhythmia, weakened heart muscle which will lead to heart failure. The sheer force of constant and violent vomiting can even cause the blood vessels in the eyes to rupture.

Eventually all these little problems in the circulatory system will add up and will lead to a heart attack and cardiac arrest, which will cause death or a large amount of damage to the heart. (4)(7)


Reproductive system: 

Bulimia can stop the reproductive system or it can stop the menstrual cycle. When you overeat and binge eat, it will result in a hormonal imbalance and fatigue that will kill one's sex drive. The ovaries will not be able to release eggs and having a child can be impossible as well. Pregnant women who are engaged in binge eating or have bulimia can cause damage to the unborn baby they are carrying. (4)(6)

Some effects include::

  • maternal high blood pressure
  • gestational diabetes
  • miscarriage
  • premature birth
  • breech birth
  • higher risk of C-section
  • low birth weight babies
  • birth defects
  • stillbirth
  • breastfeeding difficulties



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  6. http://bulimianervosahealth.we...culatory-system.html
Original Post

Hey Grace this is interesting research! I like how you touched on the potential of exercise (combined with either under eating or with ridding the body of recently acquired calories) being a contributing factor to Bulimia Nervosa. As exercise is, or should be, intended to maintain and improve the functions of body systems, the thinking behind how to approach exercise in the mind of a person with Bulimia seems counter intuitive. However, seeing the positive physical effects of exercise combined with (at least in endurance and aerobic exercises) the feeling of not needing more food (due to the blood being directed primarily to "vital" systems like the nervous and circulatory, and shunted from the digestive system) for a period of time afterwards may be the dangerous justification that fuels this, and other, exercise based eating disorders. I think it would be interesting to delve deeper into exercise based eating disorders and, time permitting, I would encourage you to do so. 

Best of luck,

Ben Laird. 

Hi Grace! I am impressed with your research. It is outlined in a good order and contained useful information. This is the first time I know the word" Bulimia", It is terrible to know how many negative symptoms it can cause on human's body whether its inside or outside. My question is what can you do to treat Bulimia. My suggestion would be the use of Medicines, such as fluoxetine (Prozac, for example), are sometimes used to reduce binge-purge cycles and relieve symptoms of depression that often occur along with eating disorders. Also, some exercises would also help to improve the situation.  



Hey Grace!

Great work as per usual! All around the community I always see examples of how society believes we should look. from body standards to fashion dos and don’ts we are constantly pinned against these standards and it eventually begins to effect many of us in our daily lives. After learning so much about Bulimia through your posts I realize that this contribution society has in making eating disorders more and more evident in our society, is becoming larger and larger. your work teaches me so much, Can’t wait till your next post!

Good Luck!

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