Understanding Purging Disorder
Women who have purging disorder will use pills or vomiting to purge the meals that they eat. Vomiting is the most common method, but some women use diuretics, enemas, or laxatives. Purging isn’t currently part of the official list of eating disorders. However, the DSM-5 classifies it as an OSFED, or other specified feeding or eating disorder.
Purging disorder has similar and different traits to anorexia and bulimia. Women with these conditions have an obsession with self-image and weight. They control what they eat or purge after overeating to meet impractical appearance and weight goals. Because of this behavior, they’re often underweight or overweight and suffer side effects from poor nutrition.
Compared to those with anorexia, though, women with purging disorder have a normal weight. Compared to those with bulimia, they don’t eat too much before they purge. They usually eat normal portions of food and purge even after eating just a small snack. They might feel full and like they’ve eaten an excessive amount.
In addition, women who have purging disorder have distorted reactions and perceptions of meal portions. They could feel like their eating habits are out of control even though they consume small amounts.
As with bulimia, however, there are numerous health risks from purging by vomiting. For instance, women can develop bone and gastrointestinal issues. Misusing laxatives can cause bowel dysfunction. Other risks include:
- Dental issues
- Imbalances in electrolytes that can cause heart attacks
- Metabolic disturbances
- Rips in the esophagus
- Swollen salivary glands