Bulimia is a serious mental disorder characterised by preoccupation with food and irresistible cravings for food, followed by compulsive behaviour such as forced vomiting or the use of laxatives. Here are some causes and symptoms of bulimia:
Causes of bulimia:
- Socio-cultural factors: Societal and media pressures that influence ideals of beauty and the bodily form may play a role in the development of bulimia.
- Psychological problems: Low self-esteem, dissatisfaction with one’s body, perfectionism, anxiety, depression and stress can all contribute to bulimia.
- Genetic and biological factors: Some research suggests that genetic predisposition and irregularities in neurochemical balance may play a role in the onset of bulimia.
- Family dynamics: Some studies show a link between family dynamics, lack of support and the development of bulimia.
Physical symptoms of bulimia may include the following:
- Increased fatigue: Frequent episodes of overeating and compulsive weight control behaviour can lead to feelings of weakness and fatigue.
- Menstrual disorders: Bulimic women often experience menstrual disorders such as absence of menstruation (amenorrhoea) or irregular menstruation.
- Salivary gland swelling: Frequent inducing vomiting can lead to swelling or inflammation of the salivary gland, which is manifested by swelling in the cheek or submandibular area.
- Damage to teeth: Constant inducing vomiting can damage tooth enamel and lead to abrasion of tooth enamel, tooth sensitivity and gum problems.
- Dry skin: Inadequate food intake or poor nutrition can cause dry skin and poor skin health.
- Irritation of the throat from acid: Regularly inducing vomiting can lead to throat irritation due to the acidic environment of the stomach contents coming into contact with the throat mucosa.
It is important to note that bulimia is a serious disorder that can have serious physical and mental health consequences. If you or someone close to you suspect bulimia, it is advisable to see a doctor or mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment.