Bulimia affects about 4 in 100 females in their lives. Males also experience it but it is not as common, with 4 in 1000 being affected at some point in their lives.
Young people with bulimia are very concerned about their weight, and how they think their body looks. In an effort to control this, they often find themselves in a cycle of binge eating then purging to get rid of the food, sometimes by making themselves sick, excessively exercising or taking laxatives. This isn't always just about weight, it is also about thoughts and feelings and an attempt to maintain some sort of control.
Because of the bingeing part of bulimia, weight is usually stable and so others may not notice an eating disorder because there is no obvious weight loss. A lot of the symptoms are as a result of purging:
- Binge eating
- Purging (vomiting, laxatives, excessive exercise)
- Sore throat
- Bad teeth
- Heart problems
- Muscle spasms
- Change in periods in girls
- Feeling helpless