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Women and Eating Disorders

[ 0 ] June 20, 2011 |

Women and Eating Disorders

It is clear that the majority of eating disorders affect women.  Even though men are prone to the same, women between the aged of 14 and 25 are most susceptible to this problem.  It is believed that eating disorders result from psychological and social influences, especially in countries where slender bodies are prized.  As such, it is common to find girls as young as 5 conscious of their body size.  Cultural influences focus on losing weight versus a healthy body.  With such pressure on the rise, young women find themselves fighting a losing battle with the bulge and are caught up in unhealthy eating behaviors.

It is these unhealthy eating behaviors that then become eating disorders.  The main ones include binge eating, bulimia, anorexia nervosa and Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (ED-NOS). Most young ladies caught up in this cycle tend to have a negative body image and feel that they ought to lose weight in order to become what society expects of them.  What most of them do not understand is the emotional and physical effects of eating disorders, which if left untreated can lead to a fatality.  That said I would like to take a look at some of the effects of eating disorders:

Women suffering from severe dieting and starvation are likely to have low body temperature, blood pressure and slow heart rate.  In addition, they will have brittle nails and hair and could even suffer hair loss.  Dehydration and dry skin are also part of the physical symptoms to be expected.  One of the most embarrassing physical symptoms of Anorexia is lanugo, the growth of peach fuzz on the back, face and arms.  Young girls have their growth stunted and their period may stop all together.  Emotional effects include anxiety, depression, a perpetual nervous state, as well as withdrawal from loved ones, friends and activities due to lack of energy.  Having lost weight quite dramatically, most women are also terrified of gaining it back.

In some, especially those who include purging as a weight loss method, electrolyte imbalance is common as well as cramping, headaches, sore throat that does not go away, esophageal tears, tooth decay, and difficulty swallowing.  Others may use diuretics as their method of choice and suffer complications such as dehydration, weakness of the muscles, exhaustion, headaches and more.  Those who choose to use laxatives find themselves constipated, exhausted, suffering muscle cramping and weakness, electrolyte imbalance and more.

One of the main questions asked is just how big the problem with eating disorders really is.  Well, the statistics say it all.  In the US alone, there are approximately 10 million girls and women suffering from bulimia and anorexia.  About 25 million people in the US alone are binge eaters.  Of those struggling with binge eating, 65% are female.  Of those suffering from Bulimia and Anorexia, 85% to 95% are female.  This is clearly a women’s issue.  As such, women should begin stressing a healthy body over a thin one if the next generation of women is to escape this vice.

If you think you have an eating disorder, please get help. Skinny is not pretty.

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Category: Health & Wellness

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