Bulimia and GERD – How to reduce symptoms

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) also know as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), gastric reflux disease, or acid reflux disease is a chronic condition where stomach acid comes up from the stomach into the esophagus.

Why do people develop GERD

GERD is usually caused by changes in the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus. This barrier is called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and it is responsible for holding the top of the stomach closed.

To function properly, the LES needs to be clamped tightly shut when you are not eating and opened properly when you are eating.

Bulimia can cause GERD

Over time, continual purging by vomiting can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to become weakened or damaged which means it can no longer function the way your body intended.

If you have bulimia nervosa and suffer from occasional acid reflux or have noticed that your bulimia causes heartburn then you may possibly be suffering from GERD.

Take a look at the image below to get a better idea of how this happens:

What are the risks of GERD?

Untreated chronic GERD can result in damage to the esophagus due to acid. This damage can include inflammation, ulcers, bleeding, and scarring of the esophageal tissues.

GERD can also cause serious conditions like which can precede esophageal cancer (adenocarcinoma).

Can GERD caused by bulimia be cured?

While there is no particular cure for GERD (surgery can cure some but not all cases) a lot of people who have bulimia and acid reflux find that when they start to recover their symptoms significantly reduce and some even report that all previous symptoms of GERD disappear completely.

Bulimia recovery can drastically reduce GERD symptoms

When you have bulimia you tend to eat very quickly, consume a lot of food in one sitting during a binge, become stressed and anxious at meal times and not really focus on chewing your food.

But when you start to recover you learn how to eat more slowly, you become more relaxed during meal times, you stop eating very large amounts of food in one sitting and you start to pay a lot more attention to chewing your food. All of these things have been proved to significantly reduce GERD symptoms!

20 Foods that can reduce GERD Symptoms

If you suffer from GERD then you probably know certain foods, especially citrus fruits can aggravate the condition. But what about foods that can lessen GERD? Here is a list of 20 foods that don’t aggravate GERD symptoms whatsoever.

  • Oatmeal
  • Turkey
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Brown and white rice
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Ground beef
  • Grilled chicken
  • Grilled steak
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Feta cheese
  • Multi-grain bread
  • Corn bread
  • Almonds

Getting lots of plant based proteins can really help too

The lower esophageal sphincter seems to have improved tone and tightness when people eat more plant based proteins like beans and lentils.

If you suffer from GERD then it can be a great idea to add more plant based proteins to your meal plan – remember each meal you eat should contain a serving of complex carbohydrate, a serving of fat and a serving of protein so there are plenty of opportunities to include delicious plant based proteins like this!

Be aware of creating new food rules in recovery

Rather than focusing on all the foods you should avoid you should instead focus on all of the foods that can help lessen GERD symptoms.

If you start focusing on all of the foods you “shouldn’t” eat then you can put yourself in danger of creating more unhealthy and damaging food rules.

One of the best parts about recovery for me was the fact that food no longer had rules. There were no good foods and no bad foods.