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Anorexia nervosa and the gastrointestinal tract
  1. Wisam Jafar,
  2. James Morgan
  1. Gastroenterology, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, Stockport, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Wisam Jafar, Gastroenterology, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, Stockport SK2 7JE, UK; wisam.jafar{at}


Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a complex eating disorder associated with a high morbidity and mortality, however, there is a lack of dedicated training for healthcare professionals outside of mental health specialities. There has been a reported increase in acute admissions of patients with AN, which may have been precipitated by the isolation and loss of support networks created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this review is to highlight that AN can present with a wide variety of signs and symptoms relating to both the hollow and solid organs of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract some of which may even be life threatening. The overlap of symptoms with several other functional and organic GI diseases makes diagnosis challenging. Gastroenterologists and allied healthcare professionals need to be aware of the wide array of possible GI manifestations not only to help rationalise investigations but to also facilitate early involvement of the relevant multidisciplinary teams. Many of the GI manifestations of AN can be reversed with careful nutritional therapy under the guidance of nutrition support teams.

  • nutrition
  • motility disorders
  • liver
  • pancreas

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  • Contributors WJ submitted the article.WJ and JM wrote, planned and edited the manuscript.WJ and JM both take responsibility for the overall content

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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