Author: Stephen S. Zimmer
The incidence of bulimia has reached epidemic proportions. The overwhelming majority of people in treatment for bulimia are women. This is due to a variety of factors, including sex-role stereotypes and societal pressures on women to be thin. I suspect, however, that there are many more men suffering from this disorder than would be indicated by treatment records. The fact that bulimia is commonly thought of as a “women’s disorder” probably inhibits men from acknowledging the problem in themselves or from seeking help.
The physical and psychological toll of binging and purging is great. Common physical consequences include dental enamel erosion (an irreversible condition), increased cavities, irregular menstrual cycles or none at all (amenorrhea), electrolyte imbalance leading to muscle cramping and weakness, dehydration manifested by dry skin and brittle hair and nails, cold intolerance, and digestive problems.