A woman suffering from bulimia found a tooth in her vomit after a session of binging and purging.
Alisha Ahmed was left petrified when she found one of her molar tooth in her vomit after forcing herself to throw up. She’s suffered from the eating disorder Bulimia Nervosa all throughout her life.
Bulimia is a behavioural eating disorder where a person will eat copious amounts of food (binge-eat) and then self-induce vomit (purge) to avoid weight gain.
She said: “After I threw up I looked in the toilet and along with the mangled up food came out one of my teeth.
“I wasn’t punched, I didn’t fall… I threw up my tooth because of all the acid that was in my mouth that consumed it.”
The Youtube health guru could binge and purge up to three to four times a day until she’d pass out.
She said: “I wouldn’t stop eating and being sick because I’m done or bored, it would be because I’d pass out.
The 35-year-old’s bulimic behaviour has caused her to have digestive issues, skin problems and a missing tooth.
Alisha confessed to eating up to 5,000 calories in one sitting.
She said: “I would trek down to the nearest supermarket and walk out with four bags full of every food you could think of.
“I’d eat it all, then I’d find it hard to accept that I’d just eaten 5,000 calories of food. So then I go to the toilet and make myself throw up.”
Most people with bulimia are reluctant to ask for treatment as they see their eating disorder as misunderstood.
Back in her twenties, Alisha visited the hospital to ask for treatment for her bulimia but was discouraged when a doctor made a comment about her weight.
Alisha said: “I remember telling the doctor that I’m bulimic. He looked at me and said ‘well it’s not working very well is it?’”.
She has not reached out for medical help ever since.
A recent survey showed that 7 out of 10 of people with bulimia feel that the NHS does not understand their eating disorder.
The survey also showed that bulimic sufferers feel that ‘the NHS only takes anorexia seriously’.
Tara Bo Bara also suffered from the illness in her teenage years. Her parents took her to an eating disorder clinic but she was dismissed for ‘not being under-weight enough’.
She said: “I went to an appointment and one of the nurses commented on the fact that I was overweight.
She also laughed at the fact that I was wasting their time because I was not anorexic. I would never go back to treatment. Not for me.”
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Chief executive of charity Anorexia & Bulimia Care, Jane Smith believes that the NHS treatments ‘are not effective’.
Jane said: “It takes 4-5 years for someone to recover so it’s not a surprise that if the NHS is only offering someone 6-12 weeks then it’s really not going to help them recover.”
The government has planned for more funding towards the mental health department, but Jane is not hopefully that eating disorders will benefit from it.
She added: “The government are making a step in the right direction.
“But what we don’t know is if eating disorders will receive any of that money or will it just go towards depression and anxiety.”
Listen to the interview here.
Consultant psychiatrist at the Eating Disorder Unit in South London NHS Trust, Janet Treasure believes that their treatment for bulimia is actually more effective anorexia NHS treatments.
She said: “The treatments available for bulimia are much more evidence based and have been proved to be effective rather than the ones for anorexia.”
“There can be some problems for bulimia but most of the physical signs do tend to settle.”