when related toeating disorders, purging means forcefully expelling food from the body to prevent weight gain after consumption.
Behaviors that can illustrate purging include:
- self-induced vomiting
- Taking laxatives/diuretics
While purging can have physical symptoms, it is usually the product of an underlying mental health issue.Understanding the definitions and characteristics associated with purging can help you identify this behavior in yourself or someone you care about. It is important to seek medical help at any sign of purging.
This article discusses the symptoms, causes, and risks of purging, how they relate to eating disorders, and when to see a doctor.
Purging is trying to remove food from the body after eating in order to lose weight. It may occur together with the followingbehaviors and symptoms:
- Frequent trips to the bathroom during or just after meals.
- Avoiding social situations involving food.
- Refuse to stop exercising for any reason.
- Insist on performing a certain number of repetitions of exercises.
- Show distress if unable to exercise
- Strong focus on body shape, weight and appearance.
- Social isolation or isolation from friends.
- Avoidance of previously enjoyed activities
- distorted body image
- Heightened sensitivity to comments or criticisms about body shape or weight, eating or exercise habits.
- depression or anxiety
- Bad mood or irritability
- Obsessive or self-loathing behaviors
- Change in clothing style (such as wearing baggy clothes or dressing in layers)
- Sudden or rapid weight loss
- Frequent weight changes.
- Excessive use of mouthwash, mints and gum.
- Swollen cheeks or jaw line
- Chronic inflammation or sore throat
- Smell of vomit on the breath or on the person
- Broken blood vessels in the eyes.
- Calluses or scratches on the knuckles
- damage to teeth
- Stomach cramps or other non-specific gastrointestinal complaints (constipation, acid reflux, etc.)
- Use laxatives or diuretics
the danger of the internet
Some people with eating disorders look to websites that offer "advice" on dangerous behaviors related to eating disorders, including ways to purge. it isthe sites are very dangerousand do a lot of damage. Look out for signs that someone might be using it.
Purging can cause serious damage to the body and can even be fatal. Anyone with symptoms of a purging disorder should see a doctor for treatment help and long-term health protection.
Purging can sometimes lead to the need for immediate or emergency medical attention that cannot wait.
Severe symptoms that indicate urgent medical attention may be needed include:
- Dizziness or fainting: Dizziness or fainting can be caused by many factors, but dehydration is one of the main and probable causes of purging disorder.
- Chest pain, shortness of breath, or heart palpitations: Purging disorder can cause damage to the heart. It can also cause low electrolyte levels. This can lead to a drop in blood pressure, cardiac arrest and other cardiovascular problems.
- Dehydration: Dehydration is a major and common complication of purging disorder and can occur with any form of purging. It is dangerous and can be fatal. Signs of dehydration include headache, delirium, confusion, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, dizziness, dry mouth and/or dry cough, high heart rate but low blood pressure, loss of appetite but may crave sugar, flushed skin ( red), swollen feet, muscle cramps, heat intolerance or chills, constipation, and dark colored urine.
- severe sore throat or acid reflux: Regular or severe vomiting can damage the esophagus, sometimes irreversibly. It can cause the esophagus to rupture, causing bright red bleeding. It can also cause the esophagus to rupture, requiring emergency surgery.
- Tremors, weakness or blurred vision: The electrolyte and mineral imbalance that accompanies dehydration can cause these symptoms and indicate the need for medical treatment.
- Dor abdominal: Purging disorder can cause a range of serious gastrointestinal and abdominal complications, including kidney damage, tearing, and blockages.
- rectal bleeding: Purging can cause problems such as rectal prolapse.
- Do you think you need urgent medical attention?: If you feel that you or someone else needs immediate medical attention, seek immediate medical attention, even if your symptoms do not fall under the "typical" complications of purging. Purging can be harmful in many ways.
types of cleaning
Common types of purge include:
- vomit: Purging vomiting disorder is self-induced, meaning that you vomit on purpose. For some people with a purging disorder, vomiting after a meal begins to feel automatic.
- Abuse of laxatives and/or diuretics: Laxatives and diuretics used in excess or for no medical need such as constipation are sometimes used by people with purging disorders in an effort to remove food from the body before the calories can be absorbed. These medications actually induce diarrhea, which can cause loss of water, minerals, electrolytes, and indigestible fiber and waste from the colon. They do not cause calorie or fat loss. Any "weight loss" is regained when the person rehydrates. Not rehydrating can cause dangerous dehydration.
Causes of purge
Several types of eating disorders can involve purging, including:
- Anorexia,which involves becoming obsessed with food and weight and losing more weight than is healthy
- bulimia,involving overeating followed by self-induced vomiting
- purging disorder,who do not share all the symptoms ofanorexia, and does not have the "binge and purge" associated withbulimia
NoDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition(DSM-5), purging disorder falls under the category of Other Specified Eating and Eating Disorders (OSFED), formerly known as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS).
To meet the OSFED criteria, you must:
- Has predominant symptoms characteristic of an eating disorder without meeting full criteria for any of the other diagnostic classes of eating disorders.
- Engaging in behaviors that cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
The five OSFED presentations are:
- atypical nervous anorexia
- Bulimia nervosa of low frequency and/or limited duration
- Binge eating disorder of low frequency and/or limited duration
- purging disorder
- night eating syndrome
If you have a purging disorder, you may exhibit purging behaviors without meeting criteria for a diagnosis of another eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia.
How to treat the purge
Purging must be guided by a health professional. While there is no specific treatment for this symptom, there are treatments for the underlying conditions that can cause it, such as binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa.
While everyone's symptoms and care needs are different, some of the common therapies for these conditions include but are not limited to:
- cognitive behavioral therapy
- origin family therapy
- dialectical behavior therapy
- traditional talk therapy
Therapy for eating disorders and purging can be performed in an inpatient, outpatient, or virtual setting, depending on your care needs and lifestyle. These therapies aim to help you reframe your relationship with food and address the underlying causes of your dysfunctional relationship with it. At the same time, you can get help for the immediate physical risks and impact associated with chronic purging.
Complications and risk factors associated with purging
Purging can cause many different complications depending on the type of purging. Some complications of self-induced vomiting or laxatives include the following:
- dental problems: gum disease, decayed or discolored teeth, sensitivity and damage to tooth enamel
- electrolyte imbalancethe anomalies: this can cause heart problems and can be fatal.
- cardiovascular problems: Low blood pressure, heart palpitations (rapid heartbeat or palpitations), abnormal heart rhythm, cardiac arrest
- enlarged parotid glands: May cause pain and/or swelling under the cheeks and in the jaw
- Bloating and Constipation: Vomiting can slow down the bowels.
- Frequent infections and sore throat.: Inducing vomiting and accidentally inhaling vomit can cause throat and upper respiratory tract infections. Exposure to stomach acid can cause a sore throat and a hoarse voice.
- involuntary vomiting: A loose gastroesophageal sphincter due to repeated vomiting can cause vomiting even with a burp.
- Cancer: Self-induced vomiting has been linked to esophageal cancer, although it is not known whether it causes cancer.
Laxatives and Diuretics
- kidney damage: Dehydration can damage the kidneys and cause them to function improperly.
- electrolyte imbalance: Electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, chloride, calcium, phosphate, and magnesium that the body needs to function normally are lost through self-induced diarrhea. It affects the function of nerves, muscles and vital organs. Kidney or heart failure or death can result
- Edema: The body retains fluid in response to excessive fluid loss, causing swelling. This can cause stiffness or stiffness in the joints and skin, decreased blood circulation, and difficulty walking.
- gastrointestinal problems: May cause irregular digestive function, pancreatic damage and constipation
- Permanent damage to muscles used during digestion.: can cause paralysis of these muscles. Surgical removal of a section or the entire colon may be required, resulting in the need for a colostomy bag.
- Dependency: Prolonged use alters normal bodily functions, making the body dependent on drugs to trigger a bowel movement.
- Increased risk of cancer: Damage to the colon increases the risk of colon cancer.
- Cardiovascular and neurological problems: Abuse of laxatives anddiureticsit has been associated with cardiac arrest and seizures.
Are there tests to diagnose the cause of purging?
Although there are no direct laboratory diagnostic methods foridentify purging disorderor associated conditions, there are several general laboratory tests and mental health assessments that can detect it. If you think you or your loved one may be struggling with an eating disorder, here are some assessments to help you start your diagnosis and treatment journey:
- Mental Health America.Eating disorder test.MHA detection
- National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Screening Tool
It is important to consult your physician for purging behaviors. Your doctor will run tests to help recommend treatment. Some of the initial tests at your first appointment may include:
- complete medical examination
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- blood sugar test
- Liver and kidney panels
- urine analysis
When to consult a healthcare professional
Getting help for purging disorder is vital. Early intervention is most effective.
If you think you may have a purging disorder, see your doctor.
If you suspect a loved one has a purging disorder, encourage them to seek help, but do so carefully. Criticism and shame are likely to hold them back. Establishing trust and communication by helping the person see how their behavior is causing harm is often more effective.
For help coping with and recovering from purging disorder:
- National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA): A leading non-profit organization on eating disorders
- The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. (ANAD): A not-for-profit organization that provides services in the areas of support, awareness, advocacy, referral, education, and prevention.
- National Eating Disorders Association Free and low-cost support: Links to support groups and other resources
- National Eating Disorders Association helpline: online chat, phone and text help
help is available
If you are in a crisis and need help immediately, text"NEDA" for 741741to connect with a trained Crisis Text Line volunteer. Crisis Text Line provides free 24/7 text support for people struggling with mental health, including eating disorders, and experiencing crisis situations.
Purging is usually the result of an underlying mental health condition, but it can lead to serious physical health issues. It is best treated through a combination of immediate medical attention and long-term mental health treatment to determine the root causes and maintenance factors.
A Word from Verywell
If left untreated, purging can cause health-threatening and potentially fatal complications. Untreated purging can also be psychologically difficult to deal with.
Help with purging is available and effective, especially when started early.
If you or someone you know has symptoms of an eating disorder, including purging, make an appointment with a doctor to discuss the diagnosis and treatment plans.
Who does the purge affect?
Eating disorders, including purging disorder, can affect people of all genders, races and ages.
Although research generally focuses on girls and cisgender women, one study indicates that about 25% (or more) of people who meet criteria for an eating disorder diagnosis are men.
Trans and non-binary people are also vulnerable to eating disorders. One study suggests that trans and non-binary people who were assigned the female gender at birth are particularly at risk.
Research and stereotypes about eating disorders are often white-centric. This bias is wrong and dangerous.(Video) Obsessive-Compulsive Cleaners & How to Cope with OCD
How do you recognize purging behaviors in another person?
Some signs to look out for include:
- Evidence of self-induced vomiting, such as frequent trips to the bathroom after eating, calluses/scratches on fingers, and swollen cheeks/jaw
- Evidence of use of diuretics and laxatives such as drug packaging.
- Evidence of excessive exercise, such as exercising in bad weather or when injured, being distressed when unable to exercise, and hidden or covert exercise
How can you help someone with anorexia?
To help someone with an eating disorder:
- Be empathetic, but clear and direct.
- Take note of any signs or changes in behavior that you notice or are concerned about.
- Encourage them to seek help by helping them find a treatment provider and offering to accompany them.
- Be patient. They may feel unsure or uncomfortable about seeking treatment.
Verywell Health only uses high quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. read ourpublishing processto learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and reliable.
Johns Hopkins University.bulimia nervosa.
Trastornos.org.Indicative symptoms of purging disorder.
Cleveland Clinic.Eating disorders.
National Eating Disorders Association.laxative abuse.
Forney KJ, Buchman-Schmitt JM, Keel PK, Frank GKW.Medical complications associated with purging.Int J Eat Desorden. 2016;49(3):249-259. doi:10.1002/comer.22504
Quilla, P., 2019.purging disorder.Current opinion in psychiatry, 32(6), pp. 518-524.
Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association.Other Specified Eating or Eating Disorder (OSFED).
Oxford Scholar.4 treatments for binge eating and purging.
National Eating Disorders Association.Eating Disorder Screening Tool.
National Eating Disorders Association.Assessment and Diagnosis.
Sweeting H, Walker L, MacLean A, Patterson C, Räisänen U, Hunt K. Prevalence of eating disorders in men: a review of rates reported in UK academic research and the media.Men's Health Int J. 2015;14(2).
Diemer EW, White Hughto JM, Gordon AR, Guss C, Austin SB, Reisner SL.Beyond the binary: differences in the prevalence of eating disorders by gender identity in a transgender sample.transgender health. 2018;3(1):17-23. doi:10.1089/trgh.2017.0043
Heather M. Jones is a freelance writer with a strong focus on health, parenting, disability and feminism.
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