How Do You Know If You Have Bulimia Nervosa? Signs and Symptoms

How Do You Know If You Have Bulimia Nervosa? Signs and Symptoms
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The Basics of Bulimia Nervosa

We’ve all had times when we’ve indulged on too much fast food or candy, but how do you know if you have bulimia nervosa or just an

occasional impulse. Bulimia nervosa is a compulsion of food that causes the individual to partake in vicious cycles of binging and purging. These cycles are damaging to the body and even more so to one’s emotional state. With treatment from a professional in this field, bulimia nervosa can be treated and a healthy relationship with food can be accomplished.

Signs and Symptoms of Bulimia

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa is the first step to treating it. Here you will find common signs and symptoms of binge eating and purging:

Binge Eating

  • The inability to control yourself around food
  • Secretive eating habits or wanting to eat alone
  • Eating large amounts of food without weight loss
  • Hidden or disappearing food or empty wrappers
  • Overeating and inability to eat normal meals


  • Taking trips to the bathroom after eating
  • Running the water so that others do not hear the sound of vomiting
  • Excessive walking, activities or calorie-burning exercises

Physical Signs

  • Scars, sores or calluses on the fingers or knuckles from pushing fingers down the throat
  • Puffy cheeks as a result of vomiting
  • Yellow or ragged teeth caused from routine vomiting
  • Normal or slightly overweight
  • Frequent weight change of ten pounds or more

The Effects of Bulimia Nervosa

Living with bulimia nervosa can cause life altering complications. One of the most harmful side effects of bulimia is dehydration. Bulimics can become dehydrated due to excessive vomiting or use of diuretics or laxatives. These can cause reduced potassium levels and changes in electrolyte balances.

Medical problems that can arise due to bulimia include:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Ruptured esophagus or stomach
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Weight gain
  • Swollen salivary glands/cheeks
  • Dizziness or weakness
  • Loss of menstrual periods
  • Swelling of the feet or hands
  • Mouth sores or tooth decay
  • Chronic constipation
  • Broken blood vessels in/around the eyes
  • Ulcers or acid reflux

Do I have Bulimia Nervosa?

If you are uncertain about whether or not you may be bulimic, ask yourself the following questions. The more questions that are


answered with a “yes”, the more at risk you are for suffering from bulimia.

  • Are you obsessed with body image and weight?
  • Are you constantly dieting?
  • Do you take laxatives to help you lose weight?
  • Do you ever hide food or eat alone?
  • Do you feel as if you do not have control over your eating?
  • Do you ever vomit after eating?
  • Do you feel insecure, guilty or ashamed when or after you eat?

How Do You Know If You Have Bulimia Nervosa?

If you have any of the signs or symptoms associated with bulimia nervosa, it’s essential that you contact a physician immediately. Bulimia is extremely difficult to overcome alone and professional assistance should be sought.



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