80.Bulimia Moderated discussion and help for gluten free, coeliac, celiac, wheat allergies or intolerance, Cookery and recipes

Bulimia: from Peter on 2002-07-08

Bulimia is an eating disorder, often teenage girls or young women, who make themselves sick after meals.

Recently I was asked to talk to two young women, one who had developed bulimia, but who has now recovered, but still has extensive digestive problems. The second, related to the first who has recently developed bulimia. (But unaware of each other).

Food diaries and discussion revealed classic celiac symptoms which still persisted. The girl describes how she would leave the table feeling quite comfortable, but shortly after some meals her abdomen would feel very distended and uncomfortable until the discomfort reached the point that she could only relieve it by making herself sick. Afterwards she felt tired, lacking in energy, but still hungry.

She had been persuaded by her doctor that this was entirely psychological and to do with her self image, and that she should do her best to ignore the discomfort after meals.

The food diaries show very clearly that the symptoms only occur after meals with gluten, and now while avoiding gluten the sense of swelling and heaviness has gone and she is finding that she doesn't feel hungry all the time and has a lot more energy.

It disturbs me that these young girls were diagnosed as having psychological disorders even when classic coeliac symptoms were clearly present.

Bulimia is a well recognised symptom of the coeliac condition and the coeliac condition should be tested for by both blood tests, endoscopy and a trial gluten-free diet before a psychological cause is considered.


Re: Bulimia: from on 2002-12-01

I was diagnosed with coeliac disease at the age of 30, and I spent 9 years of my life suffering from bulimia and anorexia. I finally got through the problem at the age of 25. I was made to believe I had psychological problems, and I did have severe depression problems.
I still suffer from depression soon after a severe reaction to gluten, I feel confused and can't really concentrate on my work. And in these occasions I find myself thinking...I feel like when I was 17! I wonder whether a non-gluten-free diet can cause depression that can then trigger eating disorders.


Re: Bulimia: from on 2003-05-11

With tingling cheeks, burning kidneys, swelling, bloating, a closed-up throat, and sore lymphnodes, I went to a doctor during college in California begging for a diagnosis, explanation...anything. I thought I was dying. I was 22 at the time, and explained that when I ate rich foods, my body did this. I seemed alright when I ate fruits, vegetables, and lean meats--a diet that I usually followed. I was down to 95 pounds, and was scared to eat foods that seemed to 'hurt'. The doctor did not do a single test on me. Rather, he compared my weight from the years before (around 130 pounds), minded my fear of foods, and suggested that I see a psychologist for what was clearly an eating disorder. I was sick, I was in pain, and I put a lot of stock into a doctor's opinion. It took another seven months of different doctors, more tests, and continued symptoms for me to begin the gluten free diet; and longer than that for me to understand that I wasn't creating my discomfort OR weight loss because of a psychological disorder. Over three years later, I am gluten free, extremely healthy, and IMPLORING the medical profession to consider celiac when a young woman shows the symptoms

Re: Bulimia: from Donna on 2007-03-20

I too was accused of seeking medical help for celiac disease under the pretext of covering possible eating disorders (because my BMI was considered too low (18-19) to have menstruel periods. My extreme bloating, water retention and energy drops were very real...and only relieved by strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. Living in Africa, my husband found information over the Internet ..and, while not seeking to self-diagnose, the gluten question seemed to fit many of my symptoms. Unfortunately, upon having blood tests done by an allergist and an upper endoscopy performed by a gastroenterologist....the results turned up negative. I say "unfortunately" because I was looking for confirmation...yet I was told that false negatives would LIKELY be obtained by strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. My question is this

Do I need to re-start gluten for a certain period of time..and then be re-tested? I am 46 years old (turning 47 in a few months) and I must admit it is embarassing to go out in public with a belly that "screams" 9-months along in her pregnancy! My family has been amazingly supportive...any advice?

Re: Bulimia: from Peter on 2007-03-20

Ultimately you are in charge of your own health.

If you have noted that complete adherence to a gluten-free diet relieves the symptoms that you describe, then you have probably made the correct diagnosis.
It doesn't matter what the medical profession labels your condition if a gluten-free diet is essential for your good health.

A gluten-free diet is a perfectly healthy diet, provided that you follow a well balanced diet, and need not cost more than any other way of eating healthily.

I certainly don't see the point of making yourself ill again just for the sake (possibly) of getting a label put on your condition.

Re: Bulimia: from on 2007-03-30

Wow. Can I tell you how much I needed to find a site like this. I'm going through exactly the same scenario- I'm 24 and 5 years ago, I was officially diganosed with celiacs (after probably 15 years of mis-diagnoses including allergies, asthma, mood disorders, chronic fatigure, irritable bowel, even got called a hypochondriac!!!) But my largest symptom has been 12 years of bulimia!!! It's amazing just to hear that other people have found a correlation! Any more information or resources would be appreciated.


Re: Bulimia: from britt on 2007-04-29

hii i have a question for a freind shes anereix ..she is scared of gaining weight ..she wants to find out if its true that she will be even bigger then she first strated off being befor she was even anerix?

Re: Bulimia: from Peter on 2007-04-29

Tell your friend that she can control her weight to whatever level she wants by taking care to eat healthy food and getting plenty of exercise. So if she knows that she needs to gain a little weight then she can do that slowly - she doesn't have to gain weight rapidly. Once she is at the weight she wants to be, then she can keep it there. There is no need to put on more weight.

Re: Bulimia: from Keren on 2009-02-04

Hi, I have just fallen accross this site whilst looking for a few answers myself. Basically, I have been bullemic for 23 years (!) and have been 'normal for the last six months - after reading that bullemics have a good chance of recovery if they stop eating wheat. And reading the posts on this site makes me smile as I see that not only was it a valid point, but it is backed up by others! I am not coelliac (although I have been diagnosed as such in the past), but do have a wheat intolerance, and have had wheat-related problems throughout my life. I'll definitely be looking at this site more now I've found it

Re: Bulimia: from Mina on 2009-05-08

Hi, I had a endoscopic biopsy to confirm coeliac disease yesterday. I wasnt prepared for them to find 2 stomach ulcers and a hiatus hernia, both I think caused by over a decade of bulimia. Neither serious if treated but neither expected in a 30 yr old female. I don't know why i vomit anymore other than my body just has to, and I don't know when bulimia became coeliac or vice versa, but I suspect they never were mutually exclusive. I hope that a gluten free diet will be the beginning of the end for both problems, but if i could just have one last sandwich