Purging May Cause Throat Cancer

throat examBarrett’s esophagus is a disease usually seen in adults over 40 with GERD [gastroesophageal reflux disease] or acid reflux disease. Unfortunately Barrett’s disease significantly increases the risk of developing a deadly cancer in the esophagus. However, a teenager with the eating disorder, bulimia, may be fast forwarding the body into creating the conditions for Barrett’s by exposing the delicate cells of the esophagus to stomach acids meant for tougher intestinal cells.

Bulimia is defined as secretive excessive eating, or binge eating, followed by purging of this food  by forced vomiting. It is the vomiting that exposes the esophagus to repeated, unnatural stomach acid. Frequent  or habitual vomiting damages the cells in the esophagus, even after a relatively short time, causing the esophagus to stop reproducing esophageal cells and making intestinal cells instead.  The esophagus repair cells are actually stem cells which can create almost any cell in the body. To protect the esophagus from stomach acid the body makes intestinal cells. It is these intestinal cells in the esophogus which can open the gate for throat cancer.

Check out this article about a young woman with a short history of bulimia and how she developed throat cancer.

References:

About Marty Davey

Marty Davey is a Registered Dietitian and has a Masters degree in Food and Nutrition from Marywood University. She became a vegetarian in 1980 when she discovered that the French didn't want our meat products due to factory farming methods. She began studying nutrition while cleansing her diet to a totally plant-based lifestyle. She has a private practice specializing in assisting clients transitioning from the conventional Western foods to a plant-based regime.

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12 Responses to Purging May Cause Throat Cancer

  1. I am vomiting since the last many year now i feel that i have something i my throat

  2. ash says:

    Does this apply to my situation: I throw up about twice a month during my monthly cycle because it upsets my stomach so bad. It can’t be helped at all. Even if I don’t eat at all day the first day I will still throw up bile. This has been happening almost on a monthly basis for about a decade. Can this cause throat cancer? I can’t seem to get the vomiting under control even when I try.

  3. Dinah says:

    my throat feel if there is something stuck inside
    that is for quite a while. I struggle to eat
    my tongue is so swollen
    my lips on the inside is swollen also. I have a stomach run since Saturday. night. cry when I must eat. its really sore to swallow thr foof. its like my tongue is to big. my throat to small. my neck and head is so sore
    cause off this
    during night time when I sleep I need to look at the way I sleep ….otherwise I struggle with breathing. in the morning when I woke up my throat is still sore or numb. my tongue feel a little beter. but as soon as I eat my tongue start swell …….. I lost about 5 kg
    due to the fact rhat I struggle to eat
    when I look in the mirror my one side . off my throat is swollen. don’t have tonsils anymore
    please tell me whay I need to do.

  4. L says:

    I have an issue with bn. I eat healthy and work out and continue to struggle to be happy with the way I look. Reading these articles makes me think how stupid I am to vomit. Depression is also something I struggle with. Anti drepresent medication make me gain weight.

  5. Don't matter says:

    I stuff my face with food ever day and then throw it up that could cause throat cancer even if i brush my theeth right after ?

  6. Emilia says:

    I am 29 years old and I have a history of being bulimic. In the times I had bulimia my throat often felt sore and painful. Now it’s been almost 3 years since I’ve overcome bulimia but my problems with throat persist. Mostly it’s the feeling of having a lump in a throat, feeling of tightness and heaviness in my throat and chest, sometimes I struggle to breathe. I also noticed my voice has slightly changed. I sometimes wake up at night needing to cough to clear my breathing. When I take a very deep breath I definitely feel some pain in the oesophagus. Please let me know if this is anything to be concerned about. Thank you.

    • I am not a physician so cannot give you a diagnosis. I suggest that today you call and make an appointment with your primary care physician, or a gastroenterologist (specialist in the digestive track). No matter what the outcome, you are experiencing discomfort and it is important to take care of your health.
      My best to you,

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