What Causes Cold Chills After Eating When You Have An Eating Disorder?

According to recent estimates, at least 30 million men and women currently struggle with some form of eating disorder in the U.S. Contrary to popular belief, there are many different types of eating disorders, from anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa to pica and binge eating disorder.

Most eating disorders are characterized by distorted ideas of body image and an intense fear of gaining weight. Over time these toxic impulses may cause a person to deprive their body of food, pushing them to critically low body weight and increasing their risk of developing several life-threatening complications.

Prior to the development of more extreme side effects, people with eating disorders typically have to contend with a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms, including acne, hair loss, constipation, fatigue, depression, anemia, and post-meal chills. In this article, we’ll discuss the final entry on the preceding symptom list and explore the two main reasons why people with eating disorders might experience cold chills after eating.

Cold Chills Due to Body Weight

When the body is underweight, even slight disruptions in the metabolic system can cause significant fluctuations in temperature regulation. What’s more, people who are underweight typically have less physical insulation against the cold, further exacerbating any post-meal cold chills.

Another common characteristic of people with eating disorders is moderate to severe nutritional and caloric deprivation. If a person eats a meal during a period of low energy availability, the body’s digestive system may need to siphon energy resources from the thermoregulation system, potentially leading to cold chills and lethargy.

Cold Chills Due to Related Health Risks

As previously discussed, people with long-term eating disorders have a higher risk of developing secondary illnesses or health conditions. Unfortunately, many of these secondary health problems can also disrupt the body’s internal temperature regulation processes, causing both fever and cold chills. Some of the most common secondary explanations for post-meal cold chills among people with eating disorders are listed below:

  • Autoimmune and non-autoimmune thyroid issues.
  • Acute or chronic kidney disease.
  • Anormal or imbalanced electrolyte levels.
  • Pancreatitis.

Remember, eating disorders won’t always be what causes cold chills after a meal. In some cases, cold chills after eating could signify a serious yet unrelated health problem. To ensure you’re getting the treatment you need, we strongly encourage anyone suffering post-meal cold chills to reach out and consult with their doctor.

Sources: Gaudiani Clinic, WebMD

Photo: Pixabay

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