Bulimia, it affects men as well
In 2011, one study on eating disorders amongst men in Spain found that the majority of the test group suffered from bulimia. Another found that Hispanic men have a 2.2% chance of developing an eating disorder, compared to 15.3% of Hispanic women.
This figure is not dissimilar from the rest of the world. However, many believe that eating disorders in men are increasing, the same as with women, and this needs to be examined in order for it to be prevented. In addition, disordered Spanish men tend to exhibit different behaviors to not only women, but disordered men from other countries. Why is this and can it be stopped?
The differences in male bulimic behaviors
The majority of the risks, symptoms and causes of bulimia are the same in men and women. Frequent periods of bingeing, followed by purging, an obsession with weight and low self-esteem is the general criteria for both sexes. However, there are a few key differences which were discovered in the 2011 study. For example, Spanish men with bulimia tend to purge by vomiting more frequently than Spanish women, but abuse laxatives less. This contrasts with American men with bulimia, who are said to purge by over-exercising rather than vomiting. This difference raises the question of culture. Is it more acceptable to purge through vomiting in Spain, thus making bulimic men feel more comfortable to do so? If this was the case, this doesn’t explain the lower levels of women, as, in theory, they’d be doing the same. Many of the American bulimic men are athletes and this might be why they turn to over-exercising as a method of purging, whereas Spanish men vomit. The lack of information available indicates a need for more studies into why men turn to such drastic methods of preventing weight gain.
The risks of bulimia in men
No matter how the bulimic chooses to purge, the risks remain the same. Heart disease, digestive problems and potential gastric tears can all be life threatening and the sufferer needs treatment. Unfortunately, the individual must want to get help, unless they’re a minor, as otherwise it’ll be ineffective. However, if they want help, therapy and possible inpatient care is designed to restore their physical health and set them on the path to mental recovery. Although health professionals can’t recover for them, they can give them the tools they need in order to do it themselves.