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Symptoms of Eating Disorders

By Jennifer Ashton, M.D., Ob-Gyn with Christine Larson
WebMD Feature by “The Body Scoop for Girls”

One of the key signs of anorexia is a 15 to 20 percent drop in weight. So if your 120-pound friend drops below 102 or so, you should be worried.

Another sign is bizarre dressing. Girls with anorexia will often wear big, heavy, loose clothing even on hot days. Giant sweatshirts hide their wasted figures and provide much-needed warmth for their bodies. At critically low body weight, the part of the brain in charge of regulating body temperature starts to shut down. People with eating disorders are always cold.

Girls with bulimia may not show much weight loss, since the binge-and purge cycle may keep them at a stable weight. A girl with bulimia may make frequent trips to the bathroom or leave the table immediately after eating. She might have scrapes on her knuckles from sticking her finger down her throat to induce vomiting. Her breath may smell fruity or just plain bad. In severe cases she may have dental problems: Stomach acid, brought up by vomiting, is very bad for teeth. In rare cases blood chemistry changes can also lead to serious heart problems or even a stomach rupture from vomiting.

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