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What is Bulimia?

Bulimia, or bulimia nervosa, is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating episodes that are followed by purging, commonly done through self-induced vomiting, the use of laxatives, or over-exercising.


There is no known cause of bulimia, but research shows it is highly likely that this condition stems from a combination of genetic, biological, psychological, social and behavioral factors.


  • An obsession with food and the process of eating
  • Low self-esteem
  • Severe dehydration
  • Rapid fluctuations in body weight
  • A sore or inflamed throat, usually accompanied by poor oral health
  • Stressful life changes

Am I at risk?

A person may be at risk for developing bulimia if:

  • A close family member has bulimia nervosa
  • They have a history of dieting, or aggressively trying to control weight
  • They obsessive or exhibit self-oriented perfectionism

Bulimia At A Glance

  • Bulimia nervosa is the most common eating disorder in the United States.
  • Most researchers believe that this disorder will affect between 1 and 4 percent of females and 0.1 and 0.5 percent of males.
  • Women between the ages of 15 and 20 are most susceptible to this disorder.