Adolescent Girls and Bulimia Nervosa

The media and academic pressure on young girls is fierce. Everywhere you and I look there are images of slim and svelte young women, with perfect bodies and great legs, wearing wonderful clothing and shining smiles.

In the age of mass-media the world has become a celebrity dream factory, where youth and even adults, live their lives vicariously through the media fed circus of daily images and stories of the glamorous people!

But how true is this really? And how does it affect our young women of the future?

As a natural health practitioner, the current focus on externals and extreme thinness leaves me worried.

While I support a health approach that maintains stable weight and internal sustenance, I do not believe the focus on advertising images of size 8 women helps our adolescent girl to develop a healthy and holistic sense of themselves, their bodies and their need for nutrition and healthy choices concerning weight, inner natural health and self-acceptance.

Patient case study – when detoxification is NOT detoxification

Recently a mother and daughter came into A Natural Self Clinic Fremantle and asked to speak with the naturopath. I took the initial consultation and in the course of the interview discovered the adolescent girl had recently been undergoing 4 day a week detoxification cleanses. This scenario had been going on for 6 months.

The mother communicated that the daughter had also been using excessive quantities of laxatives and she had lost over 10 kilograms in the past 6 months. She appeared drawn and tired, quite annoyed and her hair and general pallor was thin and pale and grey. She seemed uninterest4ed in other people and rather withdrawn.

I spoke with the girl privately and after some time concluded the problem may be a case of bulimia nervosa. The mother refuted this because the girl has had no history of vomiting up her food, and I explained that in some cases bulimia nervosa does not include vomiting but may be restricted to laxative use and purging by way of waste elimination via the intestinal tract. While many cases involve both laxative use and vomiting, this case was restricted to severe laxative use and detoxification processes.

The Centre For Eating and Dieting Disorders at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney Australia, undertakes considerable research in the area and also runs programs for the normalisation of eating for those afflicted with an eating disorder.[1]

My view is this form of treatment is excellent when combined with specialised and adequate psychotherapy and with a natural health strategy that revitalises and restores the weakened body with a host of natural remedies and naturopathic modalities.

I would also suggest a thorough consultation with both a naturopath or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and also a nutritionist, to encourage rapid healing and the reintroduction of foods and supplements in a manner that will not be too aggressive or shocking for the weakened system. Homeopathics may also help to heal the compromised immune system.

If you or a member of your family suffers from an eating disorder, seek advice and treatment as soon as possible.

And remember, staying healthy is the way to a fantastic life.


[1] http://www.cedd.org.au/?id=2