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Self-Induced Vomiting

  • Overview

    Self-induced vomiting is one of the signs of the eating disorder bulimia nervosa. If your child has bulimia, it means that she binges on food and then purges by self-induced vomiting. The purging may serve to prevent weight gain and also temporarily relieve depression and other negative feelings.

    Bulimics may show the following symptoms and complications:

    In addition, low potassium levels, from the body losing too much potassium from vomiting, can lead to serious heart problems and even death.

    Researchers at Children’s are searching for answers to questions about eating disorders.

    • 1 to 3% percentage of  young women who have bulimia nervosa*
    • 4 to 20% percentage of  young women who practice unhealthy patterns of dieting, purging and binge eating**
    • 3% (about) percentage of the population with a binge eating disorder
    • 1 in 20 number of young women who have an eating disorder
    • 10% percentage of women with anorexia nervosa that may die from anorexia-related causes
    • 2 February is Eating Disorders Awareness Month

    * A habitual disturbance in eating behavior characterized by frequent episodes of excessive food intake followed by self-induced vomiting

    ** The uncontrolled eating of food, often following stressful events

    Contact Us

    Boston Children's Hospital 
    300 Longwood Avenue
    Boston MA 02115

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