Bulimia Signs and Symptoms Video

P. Mona Khanna, MD, MPH, or Dr. Mona explains what bulimia is and describes what signs to look for if someone is bulimic. She explains that bulimia is often hard to detect because you may not notice a difference in someones eating patterns.
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Mona Khanna: Bulimia is probably the most difficult eating disorder to diagnose of the common eating disorders and that's because by all accounts to most people the bulimia is can actually fine. They will sit down and they will eat with groups of other people, eat with their family though, and eat with their friends. But what you have to look for is that they disappear shortly after eating up to an hour after eating. And then you wonder if they make frequent trips to the bathroom and that of course is to throw the food up that they have eaten. In general Bulimia makes like the taste of food so much but they satisfy themselves with the taste of, with the chewing and it going down their throat and then after that they are so worried about the weight gain that they want to get out of their system. But that's why bulimics are very, very difficult to diagnose, because you see in the meeting and you think everything is fine. What you have to look for is that tell tale sign of them disappearing into the bathroom very, very frequently. Another sign of bulimia is actually hiding food. Again, bulimic patients don't have a problem with eating. They like the taste of food very much. They want to put it in their mouth. They need to go through the mastication, the chewing process. So often times they actually hide food. They hide food in their rooms. They hide it at school. They hide it in their lockers and they eat it just to have that experience of eating. But once again then, they will disappear into the bathroom and the food will come up. By all accounts to family and friends, they are actually eating and that there is no sign or indication that there is anything a mess, because in general their body frame is normal. They are not particularly skinny. But what they do is after they eat, they throw their food up. Some of the signs you can see of a person who is throwing his or her food up, whether it is anorexia or bulimia is, sometimes if you look at their hands, their knuckles are scaly, because what they are doing is that, they are putting their hand in their mouth to institute a gag reflex, so they can throw up. The other thing we notice with these folks is if the back of the throat area down the oesophagus becomes very corroded, because what happens is when you eat the food and it goes into your stomach, it mixes with acids in your stomach. Then when you throw it up, all that acid is corroding your oesophagus and your throat, when you are bringing it back up. Especially, for somebody who does that repetitively, we see some real disorders in that sense, in their throat and their esophagus.

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