Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder. People who have bulimia are overly concerned with weight and body image. They eat very large amounts of food (called binging) and use inappropriate means to rid their bodies of the food (called purging). Purging may be done through vomiting, laxatives, or water pills. Excessive exercise or fasting may replace or be used along with purging. This cycle of binging and purging is used to prevent weight gain.

The exact cause of bulimia is unknown. Factors that may contribute to this condition include:

  • Cultural bias toward thinness
  • Changes in the level of brain chemicals
  • Emotional stress
  • Disturbed self-image