Bulimia. Bulimia is an eating disorder where a person eats large amounts of food, and then purges by vomiting. They may do this many times a day, as an effort to avoid gaining weight. It can result in many physical problems such as esophageal and stomach injury, tooth decay, dehydration, electrolyte depletion, cardiac arrhythmia, and even death. Sometimes laxatives are used also, which worsens things.
Bingeing / vomiting. Bulimia is a pattern of relatively short periods of eating much more than a typical meal (bingeing) followed by periods of doing things to "get rid" of the calories (most commonly inducing vomiting).
Please seek care. Bulimia is a type of eating disorder whereby people will eat and then take measures to purge what they've eaten by either vomiting or taking laxatives. Eating disorders tend to be associated with body dysmorphia (concerns about body image) and can be very unhealthy. Your body chemistry can be altered and that can even affect your heart!
Similar, Different. Both of these terms have to do with unhealthy ways of dealing with food, body weight, and body composition. Bulimia refers to people who go through cycles of overeating and then using abnormal ways of getting rid of what they've eaten (vomiting, laxative abuse). Anorexia has to do with unhealthy ways of trying to stay underweight (starvation, vomiting, laxatives) without the overeating episodes.
5 signs to watch for. You may have an eating disorder if you answer yes to two or more of the following: 1) do you force yourself to vomit because you're uncomfortably full? 2) do you worry that you've lost control over how much you eat? 3) have you lost >14 lbs in a 3 month period? 4) do you believe you're fat when others think you are too thin? 5) does thinking about food dominate your life? (from aarp magazine).