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The Bulimia & Acid Reflux Connection


In many industrialized countries, there’s a lot of societal pressure to look a certain way and be a certain size.

Unfortunately, correlating self worth with body weight has led many people to unhealthy obsessions and preoccupations with their body’s figure and the number on the scale.

Bulimia, anorexia, and other eating disorders have become increasingly common over the last half century. In fact, today 10-15% of all Americans suffer from some type of serious eating disorder.

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by bouts of extreme overeating followed by fasting or self-induced vomiting. The condition can become life-threatening in many circumstances if it goes untreated.

In addition to a loss of body fat, there are other negative effects of bulimia to one’s health.

One of the negative side-effects of continual self-induced vomiting is that the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) becomes weakened or damaged over time.

A healthy LES opens when a person is eating food, and stays tightly shut when they aren’t.

However, with the continual vomiting that occurs for people with bulimia, the LES malfunctions and will allow stomach acid to come back up through the esophagus.

When this happens, people experience heartburn and indigestion. In some cases, symptoms can progress to the point that people are unable to eat a regular sized meal without vomiting involuntarily.

If you have (or had) bulimia nervosa and experience these symptoms, then you are most likely suffering from acid reflux or GERD, a more severe form of reflux.

It’s important that you take steps to treating and curing your acid reflux.

Untreated GERD can result in damage to the esophagus due to acid, which can lead to a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus and potentially esophageal cancer.

If your battle with bulimia has caused you to develop acid reflux, there’s a few things you can do to begin the healing process and prevent the flare-up of symptoms.

Give Your Body Time to Digest Before Sleeping

You can minimize occurrences of indigestion and heartburn by eating at at least three hours before going to sleep or lying down.

Elevating your head while sleeping can also help. Use pillows or raise the head of your bed six to eight inches by placing wooden blocks under your bedposts.

Changing the Size and Frequency of Meals.

To minimize instances of bringing, people in eating disorder recovery are advised to add structure to their meal consumption.

This usually means eating three pre-planned meals and three snacks a day, aiming to eat every three hours.

You should try to eat more slowly, remain relaxed during meal times, and pay more attention to chewing food.

Luckily, following these suggestions kills two birds with one stone–they can also reduce GERD symptoms.

Focus on Foods That Won’t Trigger Symptoms.

Several types of food can cause acid reflux and heartburn. There can include fatty or fried foods, alcohol, coffee, soda, citrus fruits, and tomatoes.

That said, if you are in eating disorder recovery, it can work against you to create new food rules. If your frame of mind is too focused on all the food you “shouldn’t” eat, you are at risk for creating more unhealthy and damaging food rules.

My suggestion for healthy eating disorder and acid reflux recovery is to focus on all of the foods that can help lessen GERD symptoms.

These include vegetables, ginger, oatmeal, non-citrus fruits, lean meats, and healthy fats.

Learning to blend your bulimia and acid reflux processes may take some practice, but in the end it will be worth it.

If you deal with Acid Reflux and are curious about how to heal it naturally, click here to learn more