Eating disorders can affect men and women from any background. They are defined as any abnormal eating habits that have a negative or detrimental effect on the body and our health. The two best known eating disorders are anorexia, and bulimia. For many sufferers, symptoms don’t look like symptoms at first, they may just feel like normal dieting patterns or setbacks.
Hitting the bathroom immediately after meals can be a sign of bulimia, a common eating disorder, characterized by purging immediately after meals. Purging does not necessarily mean throwing up, but food can also be expelled by taking laxatives. Bulimics may have normal eating habits, be on restricted diets or binge. Whichever type of eating habits the person holds, they still purge afterward. In order to purge – the sufferer will use the bathroom after meals religiously. Purging can cause serious health issues like dehydration, digestive problems, acid reflux and cardiac complications.
Bulimia is a type of eating disorder that affects about 1% of people in the U.S. A person with bulimia often binges on large quantities of food and then purges the food by vomiting, using laxatives, or exercising excessively. Most people with bulimia are a normal weight, but think they are overweight. If gone untreated, over time bulimia can cause other health issues including cavities, constipation, pancreatitis, miscarriage, and dehydration. Treatments usually focus on therapy, support groups and also antidepressant medications.
• Cycles of binge-eating and vomiting; consuming large amounts of food followed by behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as throwing up
• Feeling unable to control yourself while binge-eating
• Low self-esteem regarding body image
Warning signs others may notice or can look out for:
• Evidence of binge eating; disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time, finding leftover, and often hidden, wrappers and containers
• Evidence of purging (vomiting); frequent bathroomvisits directly after eating, hearing and/or smelling vomit, finding laxatives or diuretics
• Excessive exercise; no excuses to exercise, will do whatever it takes just to burn calories
• Unusual swollen cheeks or jaw
• Calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles from self-induced vomiting.
• Discolored or stained teeth.
• Odd change or creation of behavioral habits/rituals, which cover for binge-and-purge rituals
• Socializes less with friends or family, less interested in usual activities
For more information on eating disorders, visit the National Eating Disorders Association: NEDA