Anorexia nervosa is a complex psychiatric disorder with significant morbidity and mortality. It is important for gastroenterologists to be aware of the physiological effects and potential complications of anorexia nervosa, as they are frequently involved in treating patients with this disorder. We review the classic, GI, and neuroendocrinological features of anorexia nervosa. We also discuss gender differences and treatment options in anorexia nervosa. Further studies of GI physiology and pharmacology are needed to determine whether any disturbances may be amenable to therapeutic intervention. Future treatments directed at improving GI sensorimotor function and neurohormonal abnormalities in patients with anorexia nervosa may impact their nutritional rehabilitation and may have important health economic implications as patients avoid hospitalization and are restored to full activities in society. The current team approach, which incorporates psychiatrists, psychologists, nutritionists, pediatricians, internists, and gastroenterologists in the treatment of patients with anorexia nervosa, will continue to be essential.
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