Bulimia Nervosa is a debilitating and potentially life-threatening eating disorder that is often characterized by the consistent binging and purging of food. The prognosis, or possible outcomes of the disorder, largely depends on the timeframe during which treatment is sought and initiated.
The prognosis for Bulimia Nervosa also depends on factors such as length of symptom duration, age of the individual at the start of treatment, and presence of depression like symptoms. If left untreated, Bulimia Nervosa can escalate to produce a variety of damaging effects on the human body. Bulimia Nervosa can increase risks of infertility and C-sections for expecting mothers due to hormone dysregulation. These complications can worsen the prognosis for Bulimia Nervosa. Additionally, Bulimia Nervosa can cause a reduction in hormone levels of estradiol, progesterone and testosterone, which can ultimately affect processes of ovulation and menses in women, as well as sperm count in men. Hormonal complications associated with Bulimia Nervosa include amenorrhea, which is the absence of a period, and oligomennorrhea, which is decreased menstruation. The development of hormonal complications also makes the prognosis of Bulimia Nervosa worse.
Nonetheless, early diagnosis and prompt treatment of Bulimia Nervosa often yields a better prognosis than delayed diagnosis and postponed treatment. Since Bulimia Nervosa is a long-term illness, the rate of relapse can be fairly high and triggered by certain social stresses. Those willing to receive therapy and mental health treatment for Bulimia Nervosa have a better chance of recovery. However, it is important to recognize that Bulimia Nervosa may still pose as a life-long challenge for certain individuals even after treatment for periodic episodes.
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