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Bulimia Nervosa’s complications of infertility and increased C-sections can worsen prognosis

Last updated April 21, 2016

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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.


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.

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)
750 E Diehl Road #127 Naperville, IL 60563
Phone: (630) 577-1330
Email: anadhelp@anad.org
Website: http://www.anad.org

Mayo Clinic
200 First St. SW, Rochester, MN 55905
Phone: (507) 284-2511
Website: http://www.mayoclinic.org

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

ANAD. (n.d.). Retrieved March 03, 2016, from http://www.anad.org/?pagerd_m7bf6nfusor

Bulimia Nervosa | National Eating Disorders Association. (n.d.). Retrieved March 03, 2016, from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/bulimia-nervosa

Bulimia nervosa. (2016). Retrieved March 03, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bulimia/symptoms-causes/dxc-20179827

Bulimia nervosa. (2016). Retrieved March 03, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bulimia/manage/ptc-20179883

Bulimia: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved March 03, 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000341.htm

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

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Schmidt, U., Treasure, J., & Alexander, J. (2015). Getting Better Bite by Bite: A Survival Kit for Sufferers of Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorders. Routledge.

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Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: April 21, 2016
Last updated: April 21, 2016

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