II. Epidemiology

  1. Onset in adolescence or early adulthood
  2. Prevalence: 4-6 per 200 females in U.S. (much more common than Anorexia)
  3. Affects women much more than men by ratio of 10-20:1

III. Risk Factors

  1. Similar personality traits as with Anorexia Nervosa (common to other Eating Disorders)
    1. Perfectionist, high achiever, who values success and external rewards
    2. Food and appearance regulation is under their control
  2. Sexual Assault or sexual abuse
    1. Increases Bulimia risk

IV. Symptoms

  1. Bloating or abdominal fullness Sensation
  2. Gastroesophageal Reflux disease
  3. Abdominal Pain
  4. Pharyngitis
  5. Severe Constipation (withdrawal from Laxatives)
  6. Behaviors to control weight
    1. Binge Eating
    2. Purging (induced Vomiting, Laxative use, Diuretics)
    3. Establishes elaborate schedules to allow for Binge Eating, purging and frequent bathroom use
    4. Excessive Exercise

V. Signs

  1. Disordered eating and distorted body image
    1. See DSM IV Diagnosis below
  2. Patients are most often of normal weight
    1. Contrast with under-weight in Anorexia Nervosa
    2. Weight in Bulimia tends to fluctuate
  3. Poor impulse control
  4. Physical signs of Bulimia
    1. Callused knuckles (Russell Sign)
    2. Dental enamel erosions and Gingivitis
    3. Salivary Gland hypertrophy (esp. Parotid Gland)
    4. Mallory-Weiss Tear (from forceful Vomiting)
    5. Edema

VI. Evaluation Tools

VII. Diagnosis: DSM V

  1. Major Criteria
    1. Recurrent Binge Eating
      1. Eating more than most people eat per time period (e.g. 2 hours)
      2. Perceived lack of control during eating episode (unable to stop eating)
    2. Recurrent compensatory behaviors to prevent weight gain
      1. Purging
        1. Self-induced Vomiting
        2. Medication misuse (see purging behavior above)
          1. Diet pills
          2. Laxatives or enemas
          3. Diuretics
      2. Other inappropriate weight loss control
        1. Fasting
        2. Excessive Exercise
    3. Binging and weight loss on average at least weekly over 3 months
    4. Overconcern with body shape and weight
    5. Episodes not limited to Anorexia Nervosa episodes
  2. Subtypes
    1. Purging Type
      1. Regular, ongoing purging behaviors (see above)
    2. Non-purging type
      1. No purging behaviors
      2. Weight controlled with Fasting, excessive Exercise
  3. Remission Criteria
    1. Partial Remission
      1. Previously met full major criteria for Bulimia
      2. Now meets some, but not all Bulimia criteria for a sustained period of time
    2. Full Remission
      1. Previously met full major criteria for Bulimia
      2. Now meets none of the major criteria for Bulimia for a sustained period of time
  4. Severity (for adults, use BMI percentiles for children and adolescents)
    1. Mild
      1. An average of 1-3 episodes of inappropriate compensatory behaviors weekly
    2. Moderate
      1. An average of 4-7 episodes of inappropriate compensatory behaviors weekly
    3. Severe
      1. An average of 8-13 episodes of inappropriate compensatory behaviors weekly
    4. Extreme
      1. An average of 14 or more episodes of inappropriate compensatory behaviors weekly
  5. References
    1. (2013) DSM V, APA, Washington

VIII. Associated Conditions

  1. Female Athlete Triad
  2. Oligomenorrhea (50% of cases)
    1. No associated bone loss (contrast with Anorexia)
    2. Weight bearing Exercise protective of bone in Bulimia
  3. Psychiatric illness
    1. See Anorexia
    2. Personality Disorder (confers worse prognosis)
      1. Cluster B - dramatic, erratic
      2. Borderline Personality Disorder
      3. Narcissistic Personality Disorder
      4. Antisocial Personality Disorder
    3. Self deprecation and low self esteem
    4. Major Depression with suicidal ruminations
    5. Anxiety Disorder
  4. Risk-taking behaviors
    1. Substance Abuse
    2. Unprotected sexual activity
    3. Self mutilation

IX. Differential Diagnosis

  1. See Anorexia

X. Labs

XI. Diagnostics: Electrocardiogram

  1. Same as in Anorexia

XII. Management: Inpatient Indications

  1. Suicidal Ideation with plan
  2. Intractable Vomiting
  3. Hematemesis
  4. Mallory-Weiss Tear (Esophageal Tear)
  5. Syncope
  6. Prolonged QTc or Cardiac Arrhythmia
  7. Serum Potassium <3.2 mg/dl
  8. Serum Chloride <88 mg/dl
  9. Hypothermia
  10. Failed outpatient management
  11. References
    1. Campbell (2014) Pediatrics 134(3): 582-92 [PubMed]

XIII. Management: General

  1. Hypokalemia management if present
  2. Prevention of secondary complications
    1. Fluoridated Mouthwash and Toothpaste
    2. Sour candy to decrease Salivary Gland swelling
    3. Antacid medications for Reflux Esophagitis

XIV. Management: Psychiatric

  1. Cognitive behavior therapy
    1. Cognitive behavior therapy is first line management
    2. Effective in only 40 to 50% of bulimic patients
    3. Indications to consider alternative therapy
      1. Purging not reduced 70% by sixth session
  2. Antidepressant agents are effective adjuncts to therapy
    1. Effexor
    2. Serzone
    3. Fluoxetine (titrate to 60 mg daily)
    4. Other Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI)
    5. Avoid Wellbutrin (due to Seizure risk)

XV. Management: Oligomenorrhea

  1. History and physical examination
    1. Consistent with Anovulation
  2. Laboratory evaluation for significant Oligomenorrhea
    1. Urine Pregnancy Test
    2. Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
    3. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
    4. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
    5. Prolactin
    6. Total Testosterone and Free Testosterone
    7. Consider Serum Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate level
      1. Indicated for signs of androgenization
  3. Suspected Unopposed Estrogen management
    1. Patient characteristics
      1. Normal weight patient
      2. Anovulation
      3. Elevated androgen levels
      4. Withdrawal bleed after Provera 10 mg x7 days trial
    2. Protocol for Endometrial Cancer prevention
      1. Provera 10 mg qd for 7 days repeated q3 months or
      2. Oral Contraceptive cycling

XVI. Prognosis

  1. Remission rate with treatment: 80%
  2. Relapse rate: 20%
  3. All-cause mortality relative ratio: 1.6-1.9

XVII. Resources

  1. Jackson (1991) Dieting: Dry Drunk- Dieting Recovery

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Related Studies

Ontology: Bulimia (C0006370)

Definition (NCI) A disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of binge-eating over which the individual feels a lack of control; these episodes of binge-eating are followed by recurrent compensatory behavior to prevent weight gain, usually self-induced vomiting. In addition, self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body image.
Definition (PSY) Disorder characterized primarily by binge eating and often accompanied by self-induced vomiting and/or misuse of laxatives.
Definition (MSH) Eating an excess amount of food in a short period of time, as seen in the disorder of BULIMIA NERVOSA. It is caused by an abnormal craving for food, or insatiable hunger also known as "ox hunger".
Concepts Mental or Behavioral Dysfunction (T048)
MSH D002032
ICD10 F50.2
SnomedCT 192447005, 192013000, 206939001, 78004001
English Bulimias, BULIMIA, [D]Bulimia NOS, bulimic episodes, Bulimia NOS, Bulimia [Disease/Finding], bulimia, [X]Bulimia NOS, Bulimia (non-organic overeating), Binge Eating, Eating, Binge, Bulimia
French BOULIMIE, Trouble boulimique, Frénésie alimentaire, Boulimie, Polyphagie
Spanish BULIMIA, [D]bulimia, SAI, bulimia, Bulimia
Dutch boulimie, Boulimie
Japanese 過食症, カショクショウ
Swedish Bulimi
Czech žravost s následným použitím laxancií nebo zvracením, bulimia, hyperorexia nervosa, Bulimie, bulimie
Finnish Bulimia
Italian Alimentazione incontrollata, Bulimia
Portuguese BOLIMIA, Bulimia
German HEISSHUNGER, Bulimie, Eßsucht
Polish Bulimia
Hungarian Bulimia
Norwegian Bulimi, Tvangsspising

Ontology: Binge eating disorder (C0596170)

Definition (MSH) A disorder associated with three or more of the following: eating until feeling uncomfortably full; eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry; eating much more rapidly than normal; eating alone due to embarrassment; feeling of disgust, DEPRESSION, or guilt after overeating. Criteria includes occurrence on average, at least 2 days a week for 6 months. The binge eating is not associated with the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behavior (i.e. purging, excessive exercise, etc.) and does not co-occur exclusively with BULIMIA NERVOSA or ANOREXIA NERVOSA. (From DSM-IV, 1994)
Definition (NCI) A disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of binge-eating over which the individual feels a lack of control and a sense of disgust and shame; unlike bulimia, however, there is no attempt to compensate for the binge-eating through vomiting or fasting.
Definition (PSY) Eating excessive quantities of food, often after stressful events. Compare BULIMIA.
Definition (CSP) episodes of binge eating with a sense of lack of control; most individuals exhibiting this behavior are obese and usually do not use compensatory behaviors (such as purging, fasting, misuse of laxatives and other medications, or excessive exercise) that are characteristic of bulimia nervosa.
Concepts Mental or Behavioral Dysfunction (T048)
MSH D056912
ICD10 F50.2
SnomedCT 439960005, 40448009, 248122005
Italian Alimentazione incontrollata, Disturbo da alimentazione incontrollata
Spanish parrandear, parrandear (hallazgo), trastorno alimentario por atracón (trastorno), trastorno alimentario por atracón, Trastorno por Atracón, Atracón, episodios de ingestión compulsiva y excesiva (hallazgo), episodios de ingestión compulsiva y excesiva
Japanese キバラシグイ, むちゃ食い障害, 気晴らし食い, むちゃ食い, 気晴らし食い摂食障害, 気晴らし食い症候群
English eating binges (symptom), eating binges, eating binges (bulimic episodes), Binge eating disorder, Binge eating disorder (disorder), Binge-Eating Disorder, Disorder, Binge-Eating, Disorders, Binge-Eating, Binge-Eating Disorders, Hyperorexia nervosa, Binge-Eating Disorder [Disease/Finding], binging, binge disorders eating, binge, binge eating, bingeing, binge disorder eating, binge eating disorder, bing, binge-eating disorder, Binge Eating Disorder, BED, eating disorder binge, Binge eating disorder (diagnosis), Binge eating, Bingeing, Binges, Bouts of overeating, Episodes of overeating, Binging (finding), Binging, hyperorexia nervosa, Binge overeating, Binge Eating
Czech Záchvatovité přejídání, záchvaty přejídání, záchvatovité přejídání
French Boulimie sans compensation, Syndrome d'hyperphagie compulsive, Syndrome d'hyperphagie incontrôlée, Hyperphagie boulimique, Hyperphagie compulsive
German Binge-Eating -Störung, Binge-Eating -Stoerung, Fressattacke
Portuguese Transtorno da Compulsão Alimentar, Abuso da comida
Swedish Hetsätningsstörning
Polish Jedzenie żarłoczne, Żarłoczne jedzenie
Hungarian Binge eating
Norwegian Binge eating disorder
Dutch brassend eten