Bulimia and GERD

I was diagnosed the other day with a type of silent GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).  I was experiencing chronic dry coughing which lasted a month and soreness/irritation in my chest and throat.  At first I thought maybe I was getting sick because it’s the flu/cold season so I was surprised that it lasted so long.  I was also confused because I wasn’t experiencing any flu or cold symptoms, usually the only time I ever cough is when I have a bad cold or something like bronchitis, plus I’m not and have never been a smoker.  My main concerns were that it was driving me crazy, coughing all day, giving me headaches from doing it so much and I was worried maybe I had some sort of upper respiratory infection and I didn’t want to get people around me sick.  I’m in college so when I have class part of the time I’d be coughing and the other part of the time I’d be trying to hold it in which is very uncomfortable of course!  It was annoying to me so I’m sure it was annoying to others.

When I went to the doctor they diagnosed me with GERD.  At first I didn’t understand because I thought GERD was strictly when someone experiences acid coming up into the mouth frequently which I have experienced before but not in a long time.  They explained to me what silent GERD and how it can cause irritation in the chest and throat area and result in chronic coughing.  They said it is likely that it was caused by the many years of bulimia.  I was prescribed something for it and I haven’t experienced all the coughing and barely any irritation in my throat or chest for the first time in quite awhile.  It’s such a relief!

I am so glad that I finally stopped the binge/purge behavior about 2 months ago.  It went on for around 5 years. Purging had caused a lot of damage to my teeth over time and I always told myself I’d stop before anything else happened but continued convincing myself that I had been doing it for so long and hadn’t had any other kinds of problems so it was unlikely anything else would be affected by it.  Of course, that’s completely illogical thinking.  I’m glad it’s over and that I won’t cause any further damage, there’s a long list of very serious health problems resulting from bulimia, the worst being death.  This motivates me to continue on my recovery.  I hope anyone who’s struggling with bulimia reaches out to help from someone and takes the first step toward recovery.  Take things one step at a time, your health and happiness is much more important than the effort to avoid gaining weight.


Photo taken by me in the summer of 2018 at a local rose garde,