Identifying Chronic Gastritis When You Have An Eating Disorder

Chronic gastritis is estimated to affect approximately 11 percent of all people living in the U.S. While there are many different causes for gastrointestinal conditions, people with eating disorders – especially people with binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa – have a high risk of developing chronic gastritis.

Understanding Chronic Gastritis

Chronic gastritis is an umbrella term for conditions or diseases that cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. The gastrointestinal tract refers to a series of hollow organ systems between the mouth and anus. If left untreated, the severity of chronic gastritis can continue to compound for an indefinite period of time.

Symptoms of Chronic Gastritis

Chronic gastritis does not always produce symptoms, something that makes it a difficult condition to detect and treat. When people with chronic gastritis do experience symptoms, they may include:

  • Discomfort or pain in and around the upper abdominal region
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Incontinence
  • Heartburn

In some cases, people with chronic gastritis can also develop a condition called erosive gastritis. This can lead to several serious complications, including the formation of ulcers or erosions in the stomach lining. The symptoms of erosive gastritis include black colored stools, the presence of blood in stools, and the presence of blood in vomit.

How Do Eating Disorders Cause Chronic Gastritis?

Binge eating: When large volumes of food are erratically introduced to the stomach, it can worsen constipation, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Over time, these symptoms can escalate into generalized chronic gastritis.

Food restriction: Long-term caloric deprivation can cause dangerous levels of atrophy in the digestive tract. This means that when a person does eat, their digestive tract will struggle to efficiently digest the meal, causing bloating, distension, constipation, and abdominal pain.

Frequent purging: Purging behaviors can result in severe chronic gastritis symptoms. Repeated purging episodes, such as self-induced vomiting or laxative misuse, can lead to indigestion, acid reflux, constipation, and micro-tears in the esophagus.

Treatment Options for Chronic Gastritis

Fortunately, chronic gastritis is treatable and generally not life-threatening. For people with eating disorders, chronic gastritis will often recede when they seek out professional eating disorder treatment.

For effective treatment and fast relief, people with chronic gastritis may also be prescribed medication that balances and restores stomach acidity. To give you an idea of the possible treatment options for chronic gastritis, check out the following list of potential medications:

  • Antacids
  • Histamine 1 (H2) blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
  • Antibiotics to treat H. pylori infection

Sources: Mirror Mirror, The Lancet

Photo: Pexels

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