Bloating, Fatigue, Pain: How To Deal With The Hard Parts of Recovery No One Talks About

I recently decided enough was enough with my eating disorder. I had bulimia for three years.

With the love and support of my family and boyfriend, I’ve been able to start my path to recovery and stick to it.

I knew it was going to be hard but what I didn’t know was how painful it was going to be! This article is about the physical aspect of recovery and the tricks that worked for me.

Here is what I have experienced in the past few weeks since I’ve started my recovery:

Bloating

Now there really isn’t much you can do about the bloating. Just wear comfy clothes, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest.

Don’t let the bulimia bloat get to you mentally. Your health is not worth that extra size smaller. Around my 15th day, I was feeling better, almost normal. There wasn’t any bloating after breakfast or dinner, just around my evening snack.

Fatigue

During this whole process, you’ll get straight-up worn out! It’s totally okay. Don’t think there is something wrong with you.

Your body is just using all of your energy to try to heal itself. Take naps throughout the day and rest when you need to.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

According to Mayo Clinic, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine, causing cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation.

There are lots of ways to help with these symptoms. My parents are doctors so I basically had access to a pharmacy in my dad’s bathroom, but a lot of it was over the counter meds.

I took Axid (Nizatidine) in the morning and at night, Gas-X (Simethicone) 20 minutes after I ate, Tylenol when needed, and Tums when needed. In the beginning, I also took melatonin to help me sleep through my bubbly stomach.

Of course, you should discuss using any of these medications with your treatment team or regular doctor before using them. 

How to deal with it all

In my opinion, the worst symptom is the abdominal pain. I felt so bloated that it felt like my stomach was going to explode.

There were several nights where I was doubled over in pain, tears streaming down my face, calling for my mom. That experience alone keeps me on the road to recovery.

Here are some things to avoid or prevent the bloating and abdominal pain:

Avoid high gas foods such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, some raw fruits, beans, etc.

Heating pads are a lifesaver

Sip hot tea- mint, ginger, lemon, and turmeric are all good choices.

Get plenty of rest. I found that when I was well rested, recovery symptoms didn’t seem to be as bad.

Lazy Bowel Syndrome

The beginning stages of recovery is often characterized by infrequent bowel movements. Some signs and symptoms include:

Less than three bowel movements in a week
Constipation
Painful bowel movements
Bloated stomach
Nausea
Incomplete defecation

Here is how I dealt with some of these symptoms:

Hot tea and more hot tea. I like to drink some when I first wake up in the morning. Tea is great for waking up your digestive system and getting things working.

Increase hydration. This goes along with the whole tea thing. Don’t go overboard, but remember to keep yourself hydrated.

Eating digestive system friendly foods. In the beginning, I couldn’t eat a whole lot of different things just because the stomach doesn’t have the proper bacteria to break down food anymore.

 

Each recovery is different

Find out what works for you the best and move forward from there. My mom has given me a lot of support and advice throughout this journey but the best advice she has given me is “start low, go slow.”

You’re recovering, take it easy. It’s a great way to learn what your bodies needs are and having be a little less painful.

Keep your head up and keep moving forward. Take it day by day. It gets easier, warrior. I promise.

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