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Gastrointestinal disturbances in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

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Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 98, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Disturbances in the functioning of the upper gastrointestinal (GI ) tract have been described in both Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and Bulimia Nervosa (BN). Patients with AN experience substantial delays in gastric emptying as well as constipation. These problems may give rise to significant medical complications and may contribute to increased difficulties with refeeding and weight restoration. Reported GI disturbances in BN include increased gastric capacity, diminished gastric relaxation, delayed gastric emptying, diminished release of cholecystokinin (CCK) and abnormalities of enteric autonomic function, all of which may play a role in perpetuation of the syndrome. This article reviews evidence for the most common disturbances of GI function in AN and BN and discusses potential GI targets for therapeutic intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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