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Anorexia Nervosa (cont.)

When To Call a Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you (or someone you care about) have been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and:

  • Are not able to pass urine.
  • Have a pounding heartbeat, skipping heartbeats, or a slower-than-normal heart rate.
  • Have been fainting.
  • Have severe belly pain; are vomiting up blood; or have black, sticky (tarry) stools. These signs may mean that there is bleeding in the digestive tractClick here to see an illustration..
  • Have severe pain anywhere in the body, such as the joints or torso.

Call your doctor if you (or someone you care about):

  • Have signs of anorexia, including rapid weight loss, eating very little, and being overly concerned about weight and appearance.
  • Have lost a lot of weight and cannot stop losing weight.
  • Are fearful of gaining even a small amount of weight, and this interferes with eating healthy meals.
  • Notice that you are secretive or lie about your eating habits.
  • See yourself as fat and feel that you must diet, even when other people say you look too thin.
  • Have been making yourself vomit or are abusing laxatives or diuretics (bulimia).
  • Are female and are not having menstrual periods when you should.
  • Feel the need to exercise a lot, and do not give yourself healing or rest time when you are injured or exhausted.
  • Have been diagnosed with anorexia and feel dizzy.

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is a wait-and-see approach. Watchful waiting is not a safe way to handle a possible eating disorder.

Getting early treatment improves your chances of overcoming anorexia.

Who to see

The following health professionals can help diagnose or treat an eating disorder:

For severe anorexia, starvation, or life-threatening mental health problems, getting treatment in a hospital or an eating disorder treatment center is needed.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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