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kdonov2

Eating Disorder Brought On By Gluten Intolerance?

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Eating disorders are extremely difficult to overcome. If you had an eating disorder prior to being diagnosed, I think it can become more difficult to manage because now you HAVE to think about food all the time, which was probably already happening anyways. It may be helpful to meet with a dietician who is knowledgable about celiac disease and eating disorders to help you create a meal plan that works for you while allowing you to devote less personal time to thinking about food. Also, seeing a counselor may be a very helpful thing to do as well to learn how to manage negative emotions and to learn more effective coping skills.

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Hi.

I've suffered with Binge eating disorder for all of my life, except for a one year period when I was anorexic. I've only been gluten free for 2 weeks and I have only binged once in that period of time, compared to every day! I believe the malnutrition/deficiencies, along with the opoids/casomorphins can lead to extreme cravings and this kind of behavior. I am on a forum for binge eaters and people who are bulimic, and there are LOTS of people who are gluten intolerant/celiac and lactose intolerant, and those are just the ones that know they are!

My sister is gluten intolerant and often feels the urge to purge because the food feels 'abnormally gross' in her stomach. I do think this can lead to bulimia.

Also, my mother is gluten intolerant and suffers from Binge Eating Disorder as well. She has had it all of her life, and because she is not off of gluten, she still suffers from it.

I am a firm believer in the connection between eating disorders and celiac/lactose intolerance. :D

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I have also had a past history of binge-purge cycles. Never full-blown eating disorder, but a severe struggle that felt similar to the alcoholism that my brother has fought to overcome (my "binge fix" was food rather than alcohol). As others said, I felt uncontrollable urges to binge, then after binging I felt so horrible that it was a relief to purge it out.

I did get the purging part under control many years ago (mostly just a problem when college age), but continued to binge for years after. Now that I'm gluten free, I do not have the same urge to binge. Food is more satisfying to me overall, and while I do still crave something sweet now and then, a little will do the trick now. SOooooo much better!

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I too believe there may be a link between both Celiac's and eating disorders, but is not necessarily the cause of it. correlation does not always infer causation. Many of the Celiac's have mentioned that their eating disorders have been in remission since becoming gluten free, though some cannot make the same claim and still deal with occasional anorexia and bulimia related mishaps which suggests there must be an additional 3rd variable (at least).

Certainly, I can understand how gluten intolerance could trigger a binge(as in my own experience, gluten causes insatiable hunger)and perhaps a wave of resounding guilt, but a well adjusted individual is not likely to think that inducing vomiting is the answer. Nor would they purposely abuse their body, lose excessive amounts of weight,obsess about calories and harbor these inaccurate cognitive distortions that completely rob you of your health and sanity. I believe there must be an underlying psychological component that contributes to a person's susceptibility to an eating disorder. Personally, I do not believe an individual has an eating disorder if they only have the symptom of food restriction without the usual accompanying thought disturbances.

Furthermore, there may be another factor that has been overlooked. I do not claim to be an expert or anything, but maybe Celiac symptoms do not directly effect eating disordered behavior, but rather people with Celiac have compromised bodily systems as it is, and as a result, are susceptible to depression and other mood/thought/psychological disturbances that eating disordered people are prone to have? On the other hand, it remains a "chicken and egg" conundrum because sometimes depression can contribute to an eating disorder, other times it is the result of a person's eating disorder. Anyway, just a thought.

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There seems to be a really strong connection between eating disorders and either gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

I myself have had this problem. I have had active celiac symptoms since I was at least 16, and discovered I had celiac disease at 22. At the age of 18 I became uncomfortable with my body and I noticed that my stomach protruded, and whenever I ate I felt a bit off. I was seemingly gaining a lot of weight and I didn't know where it came from. I began dieting, and as I ate less and less I noticed I felt better, because I was eating less gluten. It wasn't until I was eating nothing at all that I felt best. I would go weeks without eating, and often times stuck to simply fresh fruits and vegetables (and a raw food diet on other occasions). It was only when I "caved in" and ate something I "shouldn't" that I felt miserable again, so the cycle perpetuated.

Eventually eating so little did catch up to me, and even though I didn't want to eat and I felt wholly miserable doing so (gluten gives me panic attacks) I began to eat as a way for myself to fit into society. I never lost an extreme amount of weight on an anorexic diet, but I did feel more normal.

My urges to avoid food did not disappear until I was wholly gluten free. These days I don't feel strange when I look in a mirror, and upon switching to a gluten-free diet I lost fifteen pounds, and still am losing weight slowly (which may not be good if I lose too much more). Whenever I eat gluten my body seems to accumulate ten pounds of water weight and stores fat because it thinks I'm starving it and even though others do not see me as chubby or overweight, I feel like the ugliest woman.

These days I feel a lot better mentally and physically. I never needed treatment for an eating disorder, I needed treatment for celiac disease.

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Disclaimer: I have not read the article.

Celiac Disease is a life-long condition. It can not be outgrown and does not go away. Symptoms can go into remission, but damage to the body still occurs when gluten is ingested. Celiac can cause may symptoms, Bulimia may be a respose to the gastric discomfort that results from eating gluten. It upsets your tummy, so you decide to barf it out.

WOW! Great response. You could have had bulimia. Actually, I did for years before my celiac disease dx. Throwing up to relieve gastric pain was exactly what I did until I learned the true cause of my excruciating gut pain (gluten intolerance and 6 other delayed reaction food allergies). Nevertheless getting diagnosed with celiac disease and subsequent food allergies led me to abstain from 7 different foods (mostly ingredients in baked goods). Over the past 8 years since my diagnoses I've slowly become a 'normal/healthy eater' or about as normal as someone can be with 7 food restrictions.

What helped me avoid those foods without feeling deprived (and triggering binge/purge mentality) was passionately seeking tasty, satisfying substitutes for every allergen containing foods which I formerly loved to eat (or consume during binges). Also resolving digestive issues (low stomach acid production and low thyroid, which caused impaired intestinal motility) helped me to feel comfortable during and after eating, which eliminated the desire to throw up. I still occasionally experience guilt about eating perfectly safe foods. However, I feel guilty only because I ate something I baked for my husband. I resolved that issue by telling my husband that the 'baker' (me) can eat anything she bakes (even his birthday cake!).

I believe having undiagnosed celiac disease or other digestive problems can certainly influence fear of eating, excessive dieting in attempt to avoid what seems to cause pain, body dysmorphia so that someone can feel 'fat' because their stomach bloats after eating small amounts of gluten, and even make vomiting after meals a very tempting method to relieve painful intestinal reaction symptoms. All those behaviors are commonly labeled 'eating disorder' symptoms by therapists and doctors. Doctors should test for gastrointestinal disorders, rather than referring patients to eating disorder therapists who believe eating behaviors are always caused by mental health issues. Of course if all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail.

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I don't think I have an eating disorder, but I definitely have disordered eating. My first gastrointestinal celiac symptom to show up was intense, insane, 24/7 acid reflux. It got so bad that I stopped eating solid foods, and often would go without any food at all. I lived off ensure, which is packed full of soy and dairy (baaaad idea), and was depressed all the time. In order to achieve enough calories not to waste away, I got into bad habits like drinking tons of eggnog, eating peanut butter by the jar... over one Christmas break I lived on hot chocolate made with whole milk and marshmallows. I have a serious and scary sugar addiction that I am always trying to break and failing.

there were times too when the reflux made me feel so gross and nauseated that I tried to make myself vomit, but I was saved from this bulimia by a complete lack of a gag reflex (seriously, I could stick my finger all the way down and wiggle it and... nothing...)

Even months and months after diagnosis and going gluten free, I was feeling tons better, but the reflux would come back periodically and whenever I'm having it I can't eat normal sized portions. So I still eat peanut butter by the spoonful and will eat really calorie-dense foods, or I will eat nothing. I don't really get pleasure out of eating and typically only eat in order to maintain strength, because I hate fatigue most of all. After a while of forcing myself to eat I just get tired of it and go hungry more often than not.

I have maintained my weight since high school, however, minus when I first was getting diagnosed with celiac and lost 10 lbs over two weeks from starvation. Then I think my body went into starvation-conserve-calories mode so that my disordered eating didn't cause further weight loss. I reallyreally didn't want to lose weight so I did what I could to keep it on. I actually want to gain muscle weight if I can.

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I don't think I have an eating disorder, but I definitely have disordered eating. My first gastrointestinal celiac symptom to show up was intense, insane, 24/7 acid reflux. It got so bad that I stopped eating solid foods, and often would go without any food at all. I lived off ensure, which is packed full of soy and dairy (baaaad idea), and was depressed all the time. In order to achieve enough calories not to waste away, I got into bad habits like drinking tons of eggnog, eating peanut butter by the jar... over one Christmas break I lived on hot chocolate made with whole milk and marshmallows. I have a serious and scary sugar addiction that I am always trying to break and failing.

there were times too when the reflux made me feel so gross and nauseated that I tried to make myself vomit, but I was saved from this bulimia by a complete lack of a gag reflex (seriously, I could stick my finger all the way down and wiggle it and... nothing...)

Even months and months after diagnosis and going gluten free, I was feeling tons better, but the reflux would come back periodically and whenever I'm having it I can't eat normal sized portions. So I still eat peanut butter by the spoonful and will eat really calorie-dense foods, or I will eat nothing. I don't really get pleasure out of eating and typically only eat in order to maintain strength, because I hate fatigue most of all. After a while of forcing myself to eat I just get tired of it and go hungry more often than not.

I have maintained my weight since high school, however, minus when I first was getting diagnosed with celiac and lost 10 lbs over two weeks from starvation. Then I think my body went into starvation-conserve-calories mode so that my disordered eating didn't cause further weight loss. I reallyreally didn't want to lose weight so I did what I could to keep it on. I actually want to gain muscle weight if I can.

I much prefer the term 'disordered eating' to 'eating disorder'. Having undiagnosed celiac or gluten intolerance symptoms does influence 'disordered eating' habits as we try to cope with gastrointestinal discomfort (if not excruciating pain) caused by reactions to gluten. We may develop abnormal eating habits, just as someone develops a limp in order to walk with leg pain. Those disordered eating habits are ways to cope with symptoms of an undiagnosed gastrointestinal problem. After diagnosis and a gluten free diet, slowly we can return to normal (as possible with gluten restrictions) eating habits. However, we may always need to be vigilant about what we eat, unlike people who don't have gastrointestinal problems.

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Yeah, except I've been gluten-free for a year and my eating is still rather disordered.

far better than it was, but far worse than it should be...

I had to eliminate (through blood tests) all my other delayed reaction allergies and then abstain from those, resolve my other digestive problems (8 different gastrointestinal 'bugs' and hypochloridia) as well as find great, tasty substitutes for all my formerly favorite (allergen containing) foods, before I really started to enjoy eating again. I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2004 and learned all my other allergens by 2006, struggled with those gut bugs for another 4 years and finally found a doc who helped me resolve low immunity issues, which involved getting thyroid supplements. For me getting my metabolism normalised with adequate thyroid made a huge difference in my disordered eating beliefs and habits. (Yeah, what you believe influences what you do.) That all took about 6 years. So if you're fairly new to the gluten free diet, hang in there. Also consider finding a holistic, naturopathic or integrative medicine doc who can resolve any other digestive issues which may make eating uncomfortable.

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