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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Symptoms

Symptoms of anorexia nervosa include:

  • Significant weight loss (more than 15% of ideal body weight)

  • Extreme dieting, including skipping meals or extended fasting

  • Obsessions about food and fears about eating in public

  • Obsessive exercise

  • Use of laxatives

  • Binging and purging

  • Distorted self-image; feeling fat despite being thin

  • Self-esteem that depends on weight and appearance

  • Amenorrhea (stopping of menstrual periods or a delay of starting menstruation in young teens)

  • Skin dryness or flakiness

  • Brittle nails and hair

  • Anemia

  • Swelling in feet and ankles

  • Intolerance to cold

  • Hypothermia (low body temperature)

  • Poor concentration

  • Dehydration

  • Fainting

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