What Dr. Luke has to say about Nausea and Vomiting caused by Bulemia


Today Dr. Luke will talk about a cause of nausea and vomiting not related to an infection but by another cause. Though not infectious in nature it is very common around the world.  First, let us listen to a story of a person with this problem.

Ma Jing was a 23 year old young woman in one of China’s largest cities. She had just graduated from college and was settling into her new job. One day as Ma Jing looked into the mirror and she tried to hold back the tears.  She examined the reflection that she sees in the glass, closely scrutinizing every inch of her body.  She turned away from the mirror in disgust.  Her mind is filled with thoughts of being ugly and fat, eating like a pig and not deserving food.

Ma Jing made her way back into the kitchen.  In her anger and her depression she opens the cabinet and reaches for a bag of sweets.  She turns on the television and starts eating.  Before she knows it, she has eaten most of the bag.  Now she is even more angry with herself.  She goes back to the bathroom and makes her self throw up the food she has just eaten.  This process has occurred over and over for the past three years.  Ma Jing  eats food to she really doesn't want, gets angry and disgusted with herself, and then purges herself to get rid of the food by vomiting or by using laxatives.  You see, Judy has an eating disorder called bulimia.

Ma Jing is just one of millions of people who suffer from eating disorders.  The disorder that Ma Jing has is called bulimia.  While males can be diagnosed with an eating disorder, females are much more likely to have this problem.

Ma Jing had eating binges every day and followed each binge with vomiting.  She hid the symptoms from everyone else, including her family.  But she knew what she was doing and she became increasingly self-critical.  She also had many symptoms of depression which seem to worsening has the bulimia worsened.  One day, she decided that the only way she could get relief from the disease was to commit suicide.  She waited until an afternoon when her family was going to be out of the house.  She held a kitchen knife in her hand and then began to cut.  She could have both suffer wrist very deeply and lay down in the floor while she waited to lead to death.  Because she passed out, she did not hear her mother come back into the house.  She had forgotten something and came back to pick it up.  She found her daughter on the floor, called an ambulance, and Judy was taken to the hospital.  Fortunately, Judy did not die.  She certainly would have if her mother hadn't come back to the house unexpectedly.  After several days in the hospital Judy returned home.  While her family knew about the depression and suicide attempt, they still did not know about the eating disorder.  She was still depressed, still had the eating disorder and still wanted to die.

A friend Ma Jing’s from work came to visit her just after she returned home. This friend was about 32 years and old and someone whom Ma Jing respected as being a stable person. She had heard about what had happened to Ma Jing. As they talked Ma Jing was embarrassed. However, her friend told her that there was nothing to be ashamed about. This surprised Ma Jing. What could she be thinking?  Her friend told her that all of have problems at different times in our lives and at those times we need help. Ma Jing’s friend went on to say that she there was a person who could take care of all of our problems. That person was Jesus Christ.

Her friend went onto show a place in the Bible which says, ‘I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.  All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  He will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10.7-10).’ Ma Jing’s friend explained that this meant that Jesus really cares for us like a shepherd for sheep. Coming to Jesus gives us salvation and this salvation gives us new life.

Ma Jing knew she really needed a new life. But how could she know this Jesus, she asked her friend?  Ma Jing’s friend showed her another place in the Bible which said, ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-just as the Father knows me and I know the Father-and I lay down my life for the sheep (John 10.14,15).’  Her friend explained that we come to know Jesus as we believe that he laid down his life for us. Ma Jing asked why Jesus would do this for us? 

Ma Jing’s friend again read from the Bible, ‘But now a righteousness from Gid, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Jesus as a sacrifice, as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking away the sin of mankind, through faith in his blood (Romans 3.21-25a).’ Ma Jing’s friend told her that this shows us that all people have sinned and thus fall short of what God wants for us. However, Jesus Christ took our punishment in his place so we would not have to bear the punishment of our sin or wrongdoings before God.

It is this work of Jesus Christ on the Cross 2,000 years ago which gives us peace with God.  The puts it this way, Ma Jing’s friend said, ‘therefore since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5.1).’  It is this peace which also gives meaning and purpose in life.

Ma Jing was very interested in this. She desperately needed peace in her life. Her life was a mess and a wreck. The next week she returned to the doctor as he wanted to talk to Ma Jing more about bulimia and what to do about it.

The doctor told Ma Jing that this disease is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating.  The engine eating is defined as eating, in a discrete period of time, an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances.  It is also defined as a sense of lack of control over eating during the episode.  For example, the person may have a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what were how much one is eating.  A second symptom is that the person will engage in behaviors to prevent weight gain such as self-induced vomiting: misuse of laxatives diuretics, enemas or other medications: fasting: or excessive exercise.  The binge eating episodes tend to occur at least twice a week.  People with bulimia nervosa tend to evaluate their self-worth on their body shape or weight.  Most people with bulimia nervosa are within the normal weight range, although some may be slightly under weight or overweight.  They may have a history of being more overweight and their peers.  They also tend to have an increased frequency of depression or anxiety researchers found that the depression and anxiety symptoms go away once the bulimia is treated.  Ma Jing knew for sure that the doctor was describing her. How did her know her so well she asked him?  The doctor told her that most all patients with bulimia have these symptoms and behaviors.

 The doctor went on to tell Ma Jing that persons with bulimia tend to experience a number of health difficulties created by the disease.  They tend to have several chemical abnormalities and digestive difficulties.  They also experience a significant and permanent loss of dental enamel because of the recurrent vomiting.  Individuals who chronically abuse laxatives may become dependent on them.  Some of the health complications can result in death.  Again, most documented cases of bulimia occur in industrialized countries.  Western countries tend to have a higher incidence of this disease but it does exist in China as well.  90 percent of individuals with this disorder are female.  The disorder usually begins in late adolescence or early adult life and usually persists for several years.  Studies suggest that there is a higher incidence of bulimia in families where a parent has the disease.

The doctor told Ma Jing that research has found that the vast majority of people with anorexia or bulimia have a very low self-esteem.  They have a very strong tendency to the self-critical in their faults and to be perfectionists.  Most will have a very strong concern about the opinions that others have on them.  They tend to associate much of their value are worth with having a good appearance. Ma Jing’s attitude towards herself was clearly going down in the past year.

The doctor told Ma Jing that bulemia can be fatal if left untreated.  The individual can appear to be fairly healthy although thin.  The death can occur suddenly.  There are numerous cases of girls to appear to be fairly healthy upon going to bed who then died in their sleep because of heart abnormalities.  They literally starved themselves to death in order to maintain the appearance they wanted.  This scared Ma Jing a lot but the doctor told her he wanted her to get the real picture of the problems with bulimia.

The doctor told Ma Jing that the most important thing for her to do was to be up front with the problem and not hide the problem. When she had the need to binge eat she needed to tell someone who could just sit with her during the periods of cravings. Thus for the next few weeks it was important to have friends with her during the day as much as possible. Ma Jing’s friend offered to help her at work.

Later in the day Ma Jing’s friend talked with her more about her bulimia and the need to have Jesus Christ in your life. Ma Jing definitely was interested. She knew she did not have the power to overcome her problems on her own. She told her friend that she was powerless. Her friend showed her the following place in the Bible which says, ‘you see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrated his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5.6-9).’

What a powerful statement Ma Jing said. How, amazing that even in total powerlessness God not only loved us but he did something about it. This was a great love. If he loved us that a much how could Ma Jing know that love and peace?  She knew she needed something new and Jesus seemed right.  The Bible seemed to give her all of the right answers.

Ma Jing’s friend turned to the same place in the Bible which said, ‘Since we have know been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have this reconciliation (Romans 5.9-11).’ This means that God saved us from our sins but dying on the Cross so we could have new life in Jesus Christ.

Ma Jing told her friend how she could accept this Jesus into her life. She asked her to repeat the following prayer after her, ‘Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and that I need you as a savior to save me from my sins. I believe that Jesus died on the cross in my place for my sins and afterwards he rose from the dead to show his victory over sin and death. I place my trust in you now. I ask you to come into my life and take control of  my life. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.’

Ma Jing felt a load lifted from her life. She felt that a new peace and joy were in here life. She from that day forward less and less became dependent on what she could do on her own efforts and the need to be concerned about what she looked like. Jesus Christ had made her a new creation.

You too can become a new creation through Jesus Christ like Ma Jing if you today accept Jesus Christ into your heart.