Pain perception in recovered bulimia nervosa patients




Decreased pain sensitivity is found in individuals who are ill with bulimia nervosa (BN). The purpose of this study is to determine whether altered pain perception persists after recovery from bulimia nervosa (RBN).


Eleven women who were recovered from BN for more than 1 year were compared with 15 healthy volunteer women. The participants received two pain evaluations—thermal pain stimulation (TPS), which evaluates threshold and tolerance to heat, and the submaximal effort tourniquet test (SETT), which assesses threshold and tolerance to ischemic pain induced by inflation of a blood pressure cuff.


Compared with the controls, the RBN women showed elevated pain threshold as measured with the SETT and a tendency to elevated pain threshold on the TPS.


Decreased pain sensitivity persists after recovery from BN and may reflect altered modulatory function in this illness. © 2003 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 34: 331–336, 2003.