Addressing Gastrointestinal Symptoms in ED Recovery


Eating disorder (ED) recovery is often a complicated journey in and of itself, but many times ED recovery is complicated by gastrointestinal (GI) issues. These issues are sometimes addressed using restrictive or limiting diet therapy. However, we know it is possible to address both eating disorders and gastrointestinal problems through an intuitive, non-diet approach.


Eating Disorder Recovery and GI Symptoms

Most disordered eating patterns are not only psycholoagically damaging, but can manifest into serious physical complications as well. Many times, these complications are associated with the gastrointestinal system, including the mouth, salivary glands, gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, and liver. Some of these complications include dental caries, gingivitis, gasteroesophageal reflux, hernias, gastroparesis, dysmotility, and a myriad of other problems. Traditionally, GI issues are addressed with medications or restrictive diets, coined elimination diets.


Elimination Diets

An elimination diet is essentially removing all potential trigger foods and slowing incorporating them back into daily rotation to determine which foods and/or compounds trigger GI symptoms. You may have heard of these diets addressed as elimination diets, low FODMAP, SFED, to GAPS diets. All of these use the same principle of eliminating all possible triggers first, and then incorporating them back in. This can pose a large risk for individuals who are predisposed to disordered eating mentalities, specifically those in ED recovery.

Intuitive Approach to Addressing Symptoms

An elimination approach can pose a risk for people in ED recovery because it mirrors the mentality of restriction that individuals with a history of EDs are trying to recover from. However, an elimination diet is not the only approach that can be successful in treating GI symptoms someone with an ED may experience. A non-elimination approach can still be beneficial, as it helps us understand body cues better and learn what foods cause symptoms without eliminating a large number of food options at once. Many times, a symptom tracking approach is used where foods and consequential symptoms are tracked over time to identify a pattern. Our team of dietitians at Food Ease prioritize an anti diet approach that allows you to heal your relationship with food while addressing any symptoms, both mental and physical. We have the resources to help you overcome your ED while giving you the tools to heal any gastrointestinal symptoms you may be experiencing.




Bern, E. M., Woods, E. R., & Rodriguez, L. (2016). Gastrointestinal manifestations of eating disorders. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition, 63(5).

Hamza, Z. (2022, November 17). Nearly 1 in 7 adults experience bloating on any given week. Medical News. Retrieved November 22, 2022, from 

Have a Question?

Do you have any questions or suggestions? Feel free to contact us! Just leave your email here, and we will get back to you shortly.

Designed by HiveSourced