Digestive Disorders and Eating Disorders: Answering Common Questions
Did you know that the majority of clients who suffer from an eating disorder (ED) also struggle with significant digestive health challenges?
When I returned from maternity leave, I went to social media to ask – what content do you want from me? The resounding answer: digestive issues!! which is not surprising …
Some studies put that number as high as 98%. If you’re familiar with my work, you know this is a passion topic of mine, born out of my experience with my clients.
While I cannot give this topic justice in a single article, I am going to give you the highlight reel of some of the most practical bits of information for you to take to your clients ASAP.
Answers to the most common questions, lightning round style.
Does having a digestive health condition increase the risk of developing an ED? Yes, it is a risk factor because these conditions often require dietary surveillance and modification.
Does having an ED contribute to poor digestive health symptoms? That’s a resounding yes. Nearly all ED symptoms alter digestive processes.
BUT there is a very important 3rd factor that mediates both
EDs and digestive health and that is mental and emotional well-being.
What does mental health and temperament have to do with symptoms like reflux, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea?! A HUGE amount. Our nervous system is like a 2 lane highway between our head brain and gut brain. This means there is a direct physical link between our mind and our body. For those of us (hand raised) who tend to feel things pretty intensely, you better believe that means we feel things more intensely in our bellies too.
Since restriction is best to be avoided as much as possible for folks with an EDs, what in the world are we supposed to do to help our clients? Thanks for asking such an important question! 😉 Since digestive concerns can have so many triggers (many of which have nothing to do with food) we need to be able to offer our clients a variety of tools to support their symptoms.
And that is why I have created a brand new, FREE guide, Beyond Food Restriction: 23 Essential Tools for Clinicians Treating Digestive and Eating Disorders.
Inside this 4-page guide, I detail:
- The 4 most common pathways to poor digestive symptoms
- The 5 digestive support tools: Food and Nutrition; ED Symptoms, Mind/Body, Medical, and Digestive Aids
- 23 specific strategies to explore
- A client-ready handout to put these tools to use
Click here to get your guide.
I also strongly recommend listening to podcast interviews I’ve done on this topic, because I get into all the juicy details and have some excellent conversations:
- Is Your Disordered Eating Impacting Your Digestive Health?
- How Malnourishment Plays a Role in the Gut Brain Axis and Gut Microbiome
- Digestive Issues, Eating Disorder Recovery, and Body Image
- What About My Child’s Gut Health?
- The Truth About Digestion and Gut Health
And last but not least, I have to tell you a bit about my online course with the one and only Lauren Dear, digestive and ED specialist extraordinaire. She and I co-built and teach a 10-hour online training that is quite literally packed with content and clinical resources.
We cover everything from teasing out the most up-to-date research, clarifying the overlap between digestive and eating disorders, explaining how to conduct your clinical assessment, detailing ED-informed interventions based on symptom and diagnosis, and exploring the future of the gut microbiome.
You can read all the details about this training for Digestive Disorders and Eating Disorders here! In these immensely stressful times, I’m sending you, your nervous systems, and your bellies some extra love. I sure hope these resources help.