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Bulimia Nervosa Causes & Risks


The cause of bulimia is unknown. Several factors may contribute to this condition:

  • Cultural bias toward thinness
  • Dieting or restricted eating
  • Changes in the level of brain chemicals
  • Emotional stress
  • Physical changes in the digestive system, including:
    • An enlarged stomach
    • A stomach that empties slowly
    • Decreased production of a digestive hormone

Risk Factors

Factors that increases your chance of developing bulimia include:

  • Sex: female
  • Age: 11-20 years old
  • History of obesity
  • Anxiety
  • Mood disorder
  • Family members who have been obese
  • Family members who have had a mood disorder
  • Compulsive dieting
  • Low self-esteem
  • Unhappiness with weight and size
  • Career in which physical appearance is important

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2022 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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