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Anorexia Nervosa - 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 tract camera.gif.
  • 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.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 25, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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