The One Thing Im Realizing Two Years After My Eating Disorder
When I was in the deepest, darkest depths of my orthorexia, I had one fear that overwhelmed all of the others. Food. Not all food, but certainly most foods.
While other young girls my age where enamored with boys, I was concerned with sandwiches. While other students in my college classes were going to happy hours, I was going to the gym and then straight home to bulk cook my specially prepared salt-less, fat-less, yummy-less meals.
I was obsessed with not only eating clean and pure foods at all times of the day, but I was also obsessed with living an entire lifestyle that revolved around appearing healthy. Every semi-enjoyable activity I did was scheduled around how hard I workout out earlier, how many calories I burned, how many I ate, and how good I was at eating the standards I set for myself.
That was my life for about five years. Its been two years since those days and Im fortunate to be able to say that I experience freedom with my food choices today, as well as how I move my body. Ive said goodbye to being chained by a perfect body and instead, I live my intuition-driven life exactly how I want, which has led to so many fulfilling side effects.
One side effect I did not expect has been creeping up on me lately. Since I began eating disorder recovery, I have been slowly eating all of the foods that once terrified me. It was so liberating. I could drink lattes, eat burritos, have pizza, salads with numerous ingredients and unlimited amounts of fruit!
Can Eating Disorders Cause Ibs
One of the most common frustrations of the eating disorder clients I work with is gut problems. Bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain are frequent points of discussion in session. At times, healthcare providers have been dismissive of these symptoms- assuming they are an excuse to restrict. There is a growing body of evidence, however, that supports what clients have been experiencing all along.
Nestled in with the expected risk factors for eating disorders such as gender, weight concerns, and a negative self-evaluation is a rather surprising one- gastrointestinal problems. One study shows that 16% of those with functional gastrointestinal disorders have eating disorders.
What Happens When You Start Eating More
One thing to look out for if you are very malnourished is refeeding syndrome shifts in fluid and electrolytes due to moving from a state of tissue breakdown to a state of building up of tissue when you start to eat more food. If the body immediately starts to make more energy as you eat more food and doesnt have the nutrients and building blocks required to meet the demand of processing more energy, this can cause problems. If you are eating a very low amount of food, or at a very low weight, you should be monitored by professionals to make sure you are safe.
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The Link Between Disordered Eating And Ibs
This article was written by Registered Associate Nutritionist Sophie Gastman and Registered Dietitian Maeve Hanan.
There are a number of links between disordered eating and IBS. Sometimes it can be a chicken and egg situation as struggling with disordered eating can increase the risk of IBS, and having IBS can increase the risk of disordered eating.
Read on to learn more about the connection between disordered eating and IBS.
Intuitive Eating And Ibs: Part 3
IBS is incredibly common among people who struggle with eating disorders or disordered eating, but most of the dietary advice can make disordered eating worse. This part 3 of intuitive eating and IBS, learn about the relationship between disordered eating and IBS, and strategies for coping with IBS when youre in eating disorder recovery.
This post is the final installment of a series on intuitive eating and IBS. Read part 1 to learn more about what IBS is, and a discussion of the pros and cons of different dietary approaches to treatment, and part 2 to learn approaches to managing symptoms that dont involve dietary restriction. Todays post will discuss the relationship between disordered eating and IBS, and strategies for coping with IBS when you are also struggling with disordered eating.
Looking back on my dietitian education, one thing I really wasnt aware of early on was the relationship between IBS and disordered eating. This is frustrating to me today, because I see where I could do a lot of harm treating clients with digestive disorders with a restrictive approach to food, without fully screening for disordered eating. I mention this because if you have IBS and struggle with disordered eating, you may have received a lot of dietary advice, even from professionals, that worsened your disordered eating. So please know that although Im sure it was well intentioned, it may have been given by someone who really didnt understand how harmful it can be.
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Ibs Diet: What To Do And What To Avoid
The influence of diet is unique to each person. There is no generalized dietary advice that will work for everyone.
A healthcare provider can take a brief dietary history and help identify dietary and/or other factors that may impact symptoms. Keeping a diary for 23 weeks of dietary intake, symptoms, and any associated factors can help with this.
For those with irritable bowel syndrome who benefit from simple dietary modifications, it makes sense to adjust the diet and reduce the intake of the offending food. It does not make sense to adopt unnecessarily limited diets. This can lead to reduced quality of life or even malnutrition.
Healthcare providers and patients need to talk about diet. Guidance needs to be provided by a knowledgeable health care professional . They can assess individual circumstances affecting IBS, while helping make sure that nutritional needs are being met through a balanced diet, and healthy eating habits.
Or Do Eating Disorders Cause Ibs
Up to 98% of people with eating disorders have GI symptoms. . Many of these are IBS-like symptoms in the lower gut. Anorexia, binge eating disorders, and other eating disorders all have the potential of affecting our GI system.
As food intake becomes less and less, constipation can become a problem. In turn, constipation itself can cause other symptoms such as bloating, gas, and pain. Also, there can be damage to the colon with laxative abuse.
While many of these symptoms overlap with IBS, they may not be caused by IBS. The process of being diagnosed with true IBS is a long one as it is based on ruling out several other potential diagnoses such as celiac, colon cancer, endometriosis, etc. If you think you might have IBS, it is worth getting the full workup rather than self-diagnosing.
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How Eating Disorders Impact The Gut
The relationship between disordered eating, eating disorders, and the gut is complex because its difficult to determine which concern happened first when they present together.
Disordered eating behaviors, whether in the presence of an eating disorder or not, can have an impact on gut function. This can included altered motility, which can then result in constipation or diarrhea , as well as bloating. Gastric emptying and motility can also be altered in the presence of disordered eating, which can lead to early fullness, bloating, pain, and slowed motility.
Restriction of carbohydrate-rich foods can lead to poor fiber intake, which can also impact gut motility and the health of gut microbes, which then impact digestion.
Diarrhea Right After Eating
Frequent bouts of diarrhea are a common IBS symptom. This symptom is also common with inflammatory bowel disease , a group of conditions that cause inflammation of the intestines. It is also seen in celiac disease, which is an immune reaction to a protein found in wheat and other grains.
The simple act of eating can cause contractions in your intestines. This can lead to diarrhea.
A couple of other conditions could also cause this symptom. These conditions are less common. If you have a sudden, immediate diarrhea right after eating, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may want to consider:
- Bile acid malabsorption, when too much bile acid reaches your large intestine
- Dumping syndrome, when food moves too quickly from your stomach to the small intestine
These conditions are relatively rare. It is still possible that diarrhea after eating is a symptom of your IBS. Still, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor about other possibilities.
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Be Wary Of Elimination Diets
Elimination diets are appealing, but they can do a lot more harm than good if youre not in a good place with food. Elimination diets can create a lot of stress around food, even for someone without disordered eating! That stress often worsens symptoms. Before eliminating any food or attempting an elimination diet, make sure youre working wIth a dietitian who has experience with IBS and disordered eating . Working with a dietitian, they may be able to do a food-symptom journal and identify likely dietary triggers, like lactose intolerance, which can quickly and easily be tested in a methodical way, rather than randomly eliminating more and more foods.
Do Anorexia Irritable Bowel Syndrome Chronic Fatigues Share A Common Cause
- Lancaster University
- Irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and anorexia nervosa may all have a common origin, according to researchers. They speculate that all three disorders may be caused by antibodies to the body’s own nerve cells because of a mistake by the immune system following infection.
Irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and anorexia nervosa may all have a common origin according to researchers.
They speculate that all three disorders may be caused by antibodies to the body’s own nerve cells because of a mistake by the immune system following infection.
At the moment, the ultimate cause of these illnesses remains a mystery.
Writing in Medical Hypotheses, Dr Jim Morris from the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, Dr Sue Broughton and Dr Quenton Wessels from Lancaster University say current explanations are unsatisfactory.
“Psychological factors might be important, but are unconvincing as the primary or major cause.
“There might, for instance, be an increased incidence of physical and sexual abuse in childhood in those who go on to manifest functional disorders. It is easy to see how this could influence symptoms in adults but it stretches credulity to imagine abuse as the sole and sufficient cause of the functional disorder.”
Even anorexia could be influenced by secretions from bacteria affecting the brain, triggering the production of antibodies which affect mood and motivation.
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Eating Disorders Can Also Give Rise To Gut Issues
Individuals who suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa , bulimia nervosa , binge eating disorder or avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder tend to suffer from myriad psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression, in addition to disordered eating behaviors and rigid thought patterns.
Here again, we see the effects of anxiety on gut function, whereby during especially high stress periods, individuals with eating disorders may experience significant gut distress in the form of cramping, pain, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation.
Additionally, certain disordered eating patterns can have a direct and unpleasant effect on digestion and overall gut function. For example, individuals with BN or BED may eat extremely large quantities of food in one sitting, which can stretch the stomachs capacity and lead to bloating, pain or cramping.
Individuals with BN who frequently purge put severe stress on their entire GI tract, which can cause stomach damage or rupture, esophageal damage and/or chronic GERD , and imbalance of important electrolytes, which can also further exacerbate gut issues.
Finally, those with AN may find that their entire GI tract begins to slow due to lack of food intake, leading to delayed gastric emptying, gastroparesis, and/or constipation, with accompanying symptoms of early satiety, nausea, vomiting and/or bloating.
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Where Do These Problems Come From How Do I Maintain A Healthy Diet
It is important to be aware of your family history regarding food allergies and intolerances allergies, in particular, can run in families. Monitor what children eat and gauge their physical reactions to new foods since most food allergies develop in childhood. If you suspect a food allergy, a visit to an allergist can help determine which particular foods you may have immune reactions to. A healthy diet can still be maintained if someone has a food intolerance or a limited number of allergies. Still, individuals with complex allergies and severe reactions should work with a registered dietician to ensure that they consume the macro and micronutrients they need while avoiding the allergens.
For further information about food allergies, visit .
Resources for Phoenix-area families can be found at .
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Can An Ed Cause Ibs
The majority of participants had developed their ED before the onset of IBS, with a mean of 10 years between the onset of ED and IBS. All EDE subscales were associated with current IBS symptoms, whereas ED duration was not. Conclusion: Preliminary findings suggest that EDs may increase the risk of developing IBS.
How To Manage Mood Disorders
Eat nutritious food, exercise, and get your ZZZs, because healthy habits like those can help you fight your anxiety or depression. But treatment for BED also might include sessions with a mental health professional, who could recommend talk therapy, antidepressant medications, or other medicines that can help treat binge-eating behavior.
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How Can We Support You
IBS symptoms can be reduced with consuming a balanced diet, the restoration of normal body weight and eating at the right time intervals. This could make the recovery process easier for people with eating disorders.
Our team of nutritionists, psychologists, and dieticians can teach you how to make health conscious eating choices and de-stress your life. The nutritional and psychology therapy we offer is a unique collaboration aimed to target both the physical and mental aspects of eating disorders.
First Off When I Work With A Client Who Has Ibs One Thing I Always Want To Work Through With My Clients Is How The Ibs Could Be Related To The Eating Disorder
ED behaviours can cause a huge disruption in normal digestion and the bodys ability to send signals regarding hunger and fullness levels.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to explore the following questions with your dietitian:
How often am I engaging in behaviours ? If I increase or decrease behaviours, do I notice a change in my hunger/fullness or my digestion? And how so? I have definitely had clients whose IBS symptoms dramatically improved once they started nourishing properly.
Sometimes, that is the first line of defence in preventing or decreasing GI symptoms. That being said, thats not always the case! And Ill talk more about this later in my post.
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Tips Forreducing Food Stress & Soothing Your Gut
References & Resources:
Managing Gut Issues With Disordered Eating
As gut issues are so common in disordered eating, making progress with recovery leads to a significant improvement in gut symptoms.
Although gut symptoms can sometimes feel worse before it starts to feel better while the body is healing and adapting.
One of the most important steps in managing gut issues if you have disordered eating is to first focus on consistency and balance. Nourishing your gut with regular, adequate, balanced, and varied meals throughout the day will help reduce any IBS symptoms that are related to disordered eating habits. A dietitian can support you with this step, as well as helping to identify any possible individual food triggers that may be present.
Taking the time to eat and properly chew and digest your food can also make a big difference.
Its important to understand that many filler foods and low-calorie foods are gut irritants that could be contributing to symptoms.
- Chewing too much gum can cause you to swallow a lot of air, resulting in bloating.
- Drinking too much coffee as an appetite suppressant can have a laxative effect.
- A high intake of sweeteners can irritate the gut and trigger symptoms like bloating and diarrhoea.
- Excessive fibre intake from eating too much fruit and vegetables can also cause extreme gas and bloating.
Research has shown that there is a significant connection between IBS and the gut-brain axis .
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