National Nutrition Month: 8 symptoms of bulimia nervosa you may not know
Bulimia nervosa is a serious life-threatening eating disorder which is manifested by ingestion of large quantity of food followed by purging in an attempt to avoid gaining weight. In the United States, nearly 1.5 percent women struggle with this form of eating disorder at some stage in their life. About 50 percent of these patients also struggle with a comorbid mood disorder and more than half have a comorbid anxiety disorder. In addition, at least one in 10 patients struggling with the disease also has a substance use disorder, mostly alcohol abuse.
Some of the common symptoms of the disorder are fluctuations in weight, stomach cramping, menstrual irregularities and impaired immune functioning. There are other unusual symptoms as well, which if detected timely can help in arranging an intervention for the person grappling with this disorder. Some of these weird signs are:
1. Leaving toilet paper in toilet bowl – Bulimics have a habit of leaving toilet paper in the toilet bowl just so any oil or food particles are not visible once they are done with their business. Thus, finding toilet paper in the bowl or finding that too much paper is being used could signal that someone is bulimic.
2. Flushing repeatedly – A person grappling with bulimia nervosa flushes the toilet at least twice so that their purging process remains hidden. They are very conscious of flushing vomit and might do it repeatedly.
3. Re-eating food – Some patients are so habitual of vomiting that they keep on bringing up the food through their food pipes and re-eat it. This can be noticed when somebody has not eaten for long and suddenly starts chewing.
4. Prolonged sound of running tap – Often, a person who is bulimic will choose bathroom sink over the toilet bowl for purging so that the tap could be kept running for longer period. This would prevent giving out signals to family members that something is wrong.
5. Making excuses for eating food – Those affected by bulimia find it hard to control their urge of eating large quantities of food. They might make an excuse that they have eaten for the first time in a day or they have been through a rigorous workout earlier and are hungry.
6. Living by strange food management habits – Bulimia manifests as a desperate need to lose weight. People follow insanely strict diet, which spirals out of control, and they end up binge eating. This usually happens in the evening or towards the end of the day. Some people might also start calorie counting and keep their calories extremely low and then by the end of the day, they end up binge eating.
7. Abnormal eating habits – Bulimics generally live by all-or-none law. This implies that when they do not eat, they go without eating for very long hours and when they start eating, nothing can stop them.
8. Smelling of vomit – Since such people purge a lot of times, their clothes, homes and bathrooms often stink of vomit and, to cover up, they often use too much of mint, aromatic oils or room fresheners.
Recovery from bulimia
Taking long showers, going to the bathroom after every meal and abusing laxatives are some of the other alarming symptoms of bulimia. If untreated, frequent vomiting habit can erode the teeth as it’s linked to stomach acid and mouth. Some patients might also struggle with ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Forceful vomiting can also lead to the rupture of esophagus and in rare cases overstretching of the stomach can lead to gastric rupture. Therefore, it is extremely important to seek timely intervention.
Every year in March the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics observes the National Nutrition Month all over the United States, aimed at creating awareness and nutrition education. Through the monthlong campaign, it tries to draw the nation’s attention towards the importance of making informed and healthy food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The theme for 2018 is “Go Further with Food.”
If you or a loved one is suffering from any eating disorder or a mental illness, Recover Mental Health can help. We can connect you to the best bulimia rehab center in your vicinity. Call at our 24/7 helpline 866-593-2339 or chat online with one of our representatives for more information on some of the renowned eating disorder treatment centers across the country that offer holistic treatment programs for long-lasting recovery.