Treating Bulimia with Natural Cures

Jun 28, 2014

We all have the tendency to overeat at some points -- when we are lonely, bored, and even overly stressed. However, when it comes to bulimia, overeating is more of a compulsory act for which you punish yourself by purging, fasting or exercising excessively. This cycle can wreak havoc on your body, which is why treatment is so important. In addition to counseling and support, you can also utilize natural cures, like probiotics and aloe vera.

What Is Bulimia Nervosa?

The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide explains bulimia nervosa as a condition that is characterized by a cycle of binge eating followed by one of a number of different “compensatory” actions that are used to avoid gaining weight. Bulimia is typically considered in two categories, designated by the strategy used to rid your body of excess calories.

The most common or familiar type is the purging type in which an individual induces vomiting or uses laxatives or diuretics to eliminate excess food in the body. The nonpurging type is less prevalent but is the form used when an individual does not purge but rather exercises excessively or stops eating for a day or longer to eradicate excess calories.

How Do I Know If I Am Bulimic?

While we all have the tendency to overeat and try to compensate calorie-wise, we are not all affected by eating disorders. If you consider a few key indicators, included in resources from the HelpGuide.org, you can typically determine if you are at risk for an eating disorder or not. If you are obsessed with your body and weight, feel as if food and/or dieting dominate your life, and are afraid to start eating for fear you won’t be able to stop, you may be experiencing some level of food issues. Likewise, if you eat until you feel sick, feel guilty or ashamed after eating, or vomit/take laxatives to control your weight, you should seek help for your eating habits.

Are There Any Natural Cures for Bulimia?

According to MedlinePlus, the most common form of treatment for bulimia is a stepped approach that combines support groups, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and some form of medicinal support. In addition to these treatments; however, there are a number of home treatment options that are beneficial and even nutritional supplements, like probiotics and aloe vera, which support recovery.

1. Emotional Self-Care

WebMD supports the need for home treatment as well as professional care for treating bulimia with one of the most important treatments being emotional self-care. You likely developed an eating disorder because you are self-critical, so take time to take care of your emotional and physical self as part of your treatment. Focus on positive attributes of yourself, do things that make you feel good, and spend time with people who care about you to boost your emotional well-being.

2. Nutritional Planning

Mayo Clinic also emphasizes the importance of appropriate nutrition for recovery. Working with a nutritionist to develop and stick to a nutrition plan is one of the most important steps you can take toward wellness. Make sure you discuss appropriate vitamin and mineral supplements with your nutritionist as well.

3. Probiotics

If you have spent any amount of time with an eating disorder, you have likely depleted your body of key nutrients, including bacteria. A probiotic supplement can help increase your nutrient absorption and help your digestive system heal.

4. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is another healing remedy. The juice of the aloe plant helps soothe your stomach and reduces bloating associated with your condition. Drink 1 tablespoon of juice each day for the biggest health benefit.

Continue reading below for more remedies from our Earth Clinic contributors.

References:
Bulimia Nervosa - http://www.helpguide.org/mental/bulimia_signs_symptoms_causes_treatment.htm
Bulimia Nervosa: Home Treatment - http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/bulimia-nervosa/bulimia-nervosa-home-treatment
Diseases and Conditions: Bulimia Nervosa - http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bulimia/basics/definition/con-20033050
Treating Bulimia Nervosa - http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/treating-bulimia-nervosa.shtml



Advice Needed  

Posted by Mel (Wakefield, United Kingdom) on 05/09/2012

Hello, could you help me please? I'm just wondering what can treat LPR? I think that is what's wrong with me but haven't had it confirmed because ENT dr wouldn't do any tests. My main problem is post nasal drip, I also have a hoarse voice, cough, sore throat and I regurgitate small amounts of food and water. I get frequent chest infections, bronchitis and im always breathless too. For the past 5 years I have been going without food for a day or so then binging on curries, pizza, chocolate, pepsi, coffee etc. I've had these problems about 2 and a half years. I'm so worried that I have caused permanent damage and that I going to be stuck like this forever. I hope not because I have my children to look after and I can't enjoy activities such as chasing them in the park because I get so breathless and dizzy. I know I need to eat regular food but I don't feel as though I deserve to. I feel really bad after binging on those foods cos now I realise what it's doing to my body but I can't seem to stop. If I'd have known along time ago that a bad diet could cause this many problems I wouldn't have done it.

Please, please help me! You are my only hope of getting better. The doctors don't listen, they aren't interested because im an NHS patient and I can't afford to go private. I don't want to be like this anymore. kind regards melissa (sorry if this is too much info but I forgot to mention I also have chronic constipation too) p.s. I'm also overweight I used to be 8 1/2 stone and after years of doing this I'm 13 stone and I'm only 5 foot 2.

Replied by Mel
Wakefield, United Kingdom
05/10/2012

Thanks for the replies :-) I'm learning how I can make myself better physically but mentally I don't know how to do it. I want to get better just don't believe I'm worthy of getting better. I feel like I deserve to suffer in pain and I don't deserve the 'good' food.

Replied by Juliette
Reston, Va
05/10/2012

Dear Mel, I'm sorry to hear your having such a rough time! I also have struggled with self worth and my own form of self harm. I have found that when I open myself up spiritually to the healing energy of the universe it really helps. I believe there is one truth and many paths so if you feel like dabbling in different religions and cultures try it, have fun! Try to be open to the idea that a power greater than yourself can help you. The power of positive thought is also very important. Your thoughts become your mood 100%. Pick a positive affirmation and commit yourself to repeating it over and over for 1 day and see what happens! Some days will be better than others but if you pick up some tools that you know will help you and faith in something bigger than you you will be ok! (For a mood lift to get you going I like to drink some Kombucha! ) Sending you some good vibes girly!

Replied by Tina
Houston, Usa
05/10/2012

Hi Mel, Sorry to hear about what you're going through. If you google 'pranic healing uk' you should come up with places in the vicinity where you could attend a session or 2 pro-bono. Pranic healing is a very efficient way of dealing with issues on an energetic level and you will notice a difference right away.

Good luck, T


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Posted by Sophie (Canberra, Australia) on 03/04/2007
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Hi I have had Bulimia for about 5 years but the side effects got so bad that I was forced to recover. Unfortunately,I feel I may have done some permanent damage to my stomach lining. I get bloated after eating pretty much anything and If I eat Garlic or other acidic food I feel really sick and after a few hours of severe pain will start vomiting. The remedy that has helped is drinking pure aloe vera juice and taking aloe vera supplements. This mainly relieved the stomach pains and bloating. My digestion has improved gradually. I found that essential fatty acids in oil form helped such as flax oil or fish oil, even olive oil. The ideal oil would be Udo's oil which is a combination of all these oils and more. Udo's oil is also anti inflammatory which was great. UIts usually in the fridge section in health food stores. There is alot of info about it on the net too.

Replied by Cindy
L.A., C.A.
11/14/2008

I have had bulimia since I was 13. Now being 17 I finally have endured the pain and damage I have done to myself. I began to have serious heart problems, following with extreme heartburn, and constant reflux of everything I ate. Hiding this disease I blocked it out and forgot about it. A few months ago I started feeling different. Heart flutters, heartburn, I couldn't even breathe, and was prescribed albuterol, which I refused to take. Recently I came upon this site looking for some natural help with this situation and luckily I found some. I have begun a food diary and began drinking pure aloe vera juice(breakfast, lunch, dinner) it seems to be slowly healing my eating track. After lunch I follow with a huge tablespoon of flax oil. (Thanks sophie!) I believe I can overcome these health problems. It is a constant struggle, but I feel I am on the right track for a healthy body finally.


General Feedback  

Posted by Sunshine (Dublin, Ireland) on 10/22/2010

Hi all of you! So glad this website exists! I am recovered form eating disorders (anorexia for about 1year and 6 months since I was 16, and following with bulimia for another maybe 7 years). During anorexia years didn't have my period for 9 months. My God.. And Thank God, only Gods miracle cured me. I am 29 in January 2011. And I am a female. Don't have children. Never took contraception (except for one week, couldn't stand anymore grrr side effects).

My question here is what ailments do you experience now (and you think might be a result of ED) and what is your lifestyle now and what do you do in order to stay healthy?
I am 'food friendly' for the past 3 years. Slowly but surely still trying to eat variety of foods and right amounts of it. I exercise, not hard though. The ailments I have that I think might be related to my previous ED: ovarian cyst (right ovary), receding gums, bowel issues. I am taking dong quai tincture, vitamin C, doing oil pulling. No alcohol, no smoking, no coffee. Please share whatever you think. And do you feel like you own your health and is there anything special you do about it? How do you keep the balance? I am thinking to get acupuncture treatments. Look forward to reading about all of you!! Thank you Earth Clinic!


Posted by Jenn (Toronto, Canada) on 01/21/2009

I need help though i am getting better but there are times when i go on purgin period for months. I was fine for 8 months and then bulimia came back in september and till now i have not been able to stop. everyday i promise today i am going to stay healthy but when i go buy food i land up buying wrong stuff. I am vegetarian so i always buy noodles and lentils ( i find they are easy to throw up) but i am getting tired and lot of time i waste doing this, instead i could be studying. please help me. there are days when i only eat fruit like 10 grapes + 3 strawberries and half a banana. can someone tell me ways i give this up bulimic episode.

Replied by Rosy
Orlando, Fl
01/22/2009

Join a support group. You maybe able to meet up with people who can help you through the hard parts, and make life long friends.

Replied by Gean
Salina, KS
01/23/2009

I have had some experience with bulimia, and am convinced it is caused by nutritional deficiencies (different people respond to deficiencies in different ways - depending on genetics - some get asthma, some skin problems, etc.) By deficiencies I don't necessarily mean you are not ingesting enough nutrition, though very possible, but that all the right nutrients are not being absorbed for some reason. Try large amounts of acidophilus (like at least 30 billion per day - check out Puritan's Pride on line). Increase to this slowly as the detox might be too much. This will help nutrient absorption. Also, remember that refined food such as ramen noodles and refined sugars will cause vitamin/mineral deficiencies, which causes food cravings, and the cycle goes on. Whole foods, whole grains, fruits, veges, and nuts, flax seed, daily exercise in fresh air and sunshine, plenty of rest esp. before midnight, plus the good probiotics (acidophilus) should help a lot.

I believe bulimia is a medical, psychiatric problem, due to hormonal, nutritional imbalances, instead of a psychological or spiritual problem. It's impossible to talk yourself out of asthma, same with bulimia. It's like nailbiting due to anxiety. You may cure that particular behavior with enough incentives, but it will pop up in some other area, unless you deal with the root problem. God bless you.

Replied by Lb
Wilmington, Nc
06/16/2011

Hey I wish you the best and hope that everyone on here recovers. I know how hard it can be. I think the trick (for me at least) is to actually let yourself have a treat regularly. If you crave something, let your self have it often and don't make it forbidden. When you do find yourself binging, tell yourself its ok to eat the "bad" food, today I let myself eat a lot of unhealthy foods and told myself it was ok.. I felt the need to overeat go away. Not everyday's perfect but I'm making progress slowly.

With that being said, you need to find what works for you! Do some journaling, sounds cheesy but it helps identify whats really bothering you. When I binge, I've found that its because I'm avoiding thinking or dealing with something.

You have to let yourself eat meals and snack! Its normal to be hungry and if you go too long without eating 100% of the time you will be starving. Eat every few hours even if you aren't hungry. Its very odd to get used to but you will after a few days.


Posted by London (Sandusky , OH) on 12/16/2008

Hi. I was bulimic for awhile after I had my daughter. Guys, it's bad news. I only did it for like a month and a half, but in that short time, I got a real picture of how bad it is for you. It was about 4 months after I gave birth. I gained some weight. More than what I was use too. I was a skinny girl before I had a baby. It sounds cheesy, but after watching a documentary on Bulimic girls on Cable, instead of being discouraged. I decided to try it. I was extremely neurotic about my weight gain at this time.

Anyway, First off, it's difficult to throw up, or rather, make yourself throw up, when your body is not prepared too, in other words, if your not sick, or nauseous. It was difficult, it took me a good half an hour to bring, ANYTHING UP. It was so hard. Girls, I feel so sorry for you. It sucks!! After words, I felt guilty, and went through emotional changes, negative.

I also had heart palpitations. It was the scariest feeling. They stopped after I stopped purging. Please don't do it. I gradually lost the weight over time, and now I'm skinny again. Bulimia is not the answer.


Probiotics  

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Posted by D (Lisbon, Iowa) on 03/04/2009
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Good Probiotics will help Bulimia: I have read that bulimia is a systemic fungal condition. I was a bulimic for more than 5 years and it was not until I started a health program that included probiotics that I was able to resist the compulsion. You should be on the phase one antifungal diet, (see the FAQs on the "Know the Cause" web site). You should also look at natural antifungals, ACV, neem, caprylic acid, etc. A good probiotic is essential, I like Natren, Now PB8, Nature's Way, and Garden of Life. Find the one that works for you and take it with a big glass of water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, immediately upon awaking . Give yourself as long as possible before you eat anything else or drink anything else. Take your shower, exercise whatever. I believe the connection to artificial sweeteners and bulimia to be true, and you must stop all of them. The only sweetener I trust is stevia, (I like the sweet leaf brand with inulin). I have seen other bulimics with almost pathogenic addictions to aspartame, (nutrasweet) and this makes sense to me. It is possible to change and resist the compusion. I ruined my teeth, and I regret every minute doing it, believe me when I say I know what you are going through. Glutamine, digestive enzymes, a good multiple vitamin and aloe vera taken internally would also be really important to consider taking.

Good Luck To All


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Posted by Jules (London, UK) on 07/17/2009
4 out of 5 stars

I have suffered with bulimia for 15 years, I have kept this a secret from nearly everyone. It has only been recently that I have recognised the need for help and told my doctor. I do not believe in Western medicine for many reasons and choose a holistic route to my health.

I take iodine in the form of kelp tablets to assist with chronic fatigue, I also take 50mg of zinc and 1000mg of vit c per day. I drink 2 litres of water and try not to use sweeteners as they are so destructive. I use sea salt on my food to give me potassium, without the requisite levels of salt (not processed) in your system you cant absorb water, however much you drink.

My parter practises Bowen therapy and this has done wonders for me, and has made me really want to give my disgusting habit up. I also use a bioptron lamp on my neck twice a day to assist the damage done and to improve the functioning of my thyroid. Have yours tested as it is probably underactive; leading to more horrible symptoms. Rubbing sea salt into your scalp will help with hair loss and dry hair, as does treating your hair with olive oil (cold pressed) as a hair mask.

Finally eat lots of protein to help your system rebuild and stay away from white sugar, it is evil and poisons your system. I hope some of this helps.


The Artificial Sweetener Link to Bulimia  

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Posted by Susan (Phoenix, AZ) on 06/27/2008
5 out of 5 stars

During the early 80's I had an eating disorder. It was not to the point where I would throw up however I could eat a dozen donuts and then go out for pizza. It was like there was no shut off. Then I would fast and run and work out to undo the damage. One Thanksgiving I ran 11 miles in the pouring rain after dinner then went back in and ate half a pie.

I attended a health fair and there was a speaker there-a PHD specializing in anorexia and bulemia. I told her what was going on and she asked how much diet soda I drank a day. It was considerable amount. I drank it instead of eating after a binge. She told me to not use sacharrin again and the problem would go away. It affected the appetite she said.

So I stopped using saccharine and the problem cleared right up.

Replied by Robn
Rural, VA
06/28/2008

Susan, I had a nearly identical experience at just about the same time. There was no end to my apetite. I was also consuming other artificial sweeteners. My favorite at the time was nutrasweet. I did however recognize that it was making me depressed and zapping my energy. I never linked my eating disorder to the artificial sweeteners, but managed to get myself out of it by changing my diet, and using the artificial sweeteners did stop with that.


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Posted by Shannon (Glen Burnie, Maryland) on 10/01/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I was bulimic for ten years. I severly messed up my stomach and colon. I was taking mass amounts of laxatives and have been severly constipated. My solution is drinking 8-10 cups of water (works better than any prescribed laxative) and I eat flaxseed meal on my yogurt. I also have eliminated fats because it's the hardest thing to digest and i get violent muscle spasms after I eat it. I also eat no flour and sugar because I have a food addiction. I also have to excercise because it stimulates the colon and helps to relieve constipation. My only problem now is my chronic fatigue. I still am so weak some days- even after 2 1/2 years of not binging and purging and I don't know why I still so weak.

Replied by T.K.
Hayward, CA
05/24/2009

YEA, I was builimic for several years since I moved to USA from INDIA. In humid weither in INDIA I used to drink lot of water, when I came to drink water because of dry weither.Yes water will help you . Also avoid tea, cofee, cocoa,s oda as they draw essential nutrients from your body and make you dehydrated.

Replied by Blue
Uk, England
01/04/2012

I have been bulimic most of my life and am 35 now. I'm trying to recover but whatever I eat my stomach balloons so much that I look pregnant.

By the morning the bloat has gone down until I eat again. Any ideas as to what I can do as it's not helping my recovery?

Replied by Jen
Bozeman, Mt, Us
01/04/2012

Hi Blue, You may be missing the good bacteria in your stomach and intestines. Try taking some probiotics to replenish them in your system. You might also try taking som Betaine HCL. When you are bulimic you are continually removing the stomach acid you normally have. Your body probably learned to produce less in order to keep you from removing it. You cannot digest food without it. You also may be missing some of the enzymes found in saliva which are lipase, amylase, and lysozyme. These enzymes are also responsible for helping to break down food. If the food is not broken down properly it creates gas.

You can find a good digestive enzyme package containing these and more of the much needed enzymes either on amazon or at your local health food store. You may need to take them for a little while or more long term depending on the damage you have done. Hopefully your body will relearn how to produce the enzymes and stomach acid at some point. Good luck in your healing and I pray you make a full recovery.