Women's Health

Eating Disorders: Bulimia Nervosa and Psychogenic Vomiting

Eating disorders are basically characterized by abnormalities in the pattern of eating which are determined primarily by the attitude a person takes to his weight and shape. The different varieties have significant complications that vary from mild to life-threatening, which will in most cases necessitate specialist attention. The types include: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, psychogenic vomiting, obesity, eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS.)

throwing up in the bathroomDefining Bulimia Nervosa and Psychogenic Vomiting

Bulimia nervosa is a disorder characterized by excessive eating as a result of the poor self-image. Induced vomiting usually accompanies it because of fear of gaining weight after the binge. Menstrual abnormalities and depressive symptoms are prominent features in this eating disorder. On the other hand, psychogenic vomiting is a chronic and episodic vomiting without an underlying organic cause which happens after meals. Both conditions will require women to take dietary supplements or purchase custom vitamin packs to get essential nutrients in their system.

Similarities Between Bulimia Nervosa and Psychogenic Vomiting

Bulimia and psychogenic vomiting are both eating disorders where vomiting is prominent. Both are commoner in women than in men. In the purging type of bulimia, patients induce vomiting and use laxatives. Vomiting in both results in metabolic derangements particularly hypokalemia and metabolic alkalosis as a consequence of the loss of gastric acid via vomiting.

There is also increased exposure of the teeth to the adverse effects of gastric acid. When patients present, it is important to understand their condition, take a detailed history in both and do appropriate mental state and physical examination. Cognitive and behavioral therapies are useful in both. It is important to locate and treat any psychological disorder in both conditions.

binge eating is a sign of bulimiaDifferences Between Bulimia Nervosa and Psychogenic Vomiting

Vomiting in bulimia is usually after a binge. However, it is a chronic condition in psychogenic vomiting. This implies that vomiting in bulimia is usually severe, but the chronicity of psychogenic vomiting makes the individual adapt. Depression and menstrual abnormalities are prominent features of bulimia which are absent in psychogenic vomiting. A detailed history and cardiovascular examination are usually more important in bulimia than in psychogenic vomiting. It may be important to send blood samples for electrolytes, urea, and creatinine when the condition is acute and life-threatening in bulimia.

In conclusion, eating disorders usually have a psychological basis. It is often a result of poor self-esteem. It is therefore important to take a detailed history to differentiate the various types and then establish the therapy-directed relationship with the client.