J Korean Med Assoc.  2018 Mar;61(3):191-197. 10.5124/jkma.2018.61.3.191.

Medical complications and management of eating disorders

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Seoul Paik Hospital, College of Medicine, Inje University, Seoul, Korea. youlri.kim@paik.ac.kr
  • 2Institute of Eating Disorders and Mental Health, Inje University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Institute for Gender Research, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.


As the physical abnormalities seen in eating disorders seem to be largely secondary to these patients' disturbed eating habits and their compromised nutritional state, most physical abnormalities associated with eating disorders are reversed by restoring healthy eating habits and sound nutrition. However, some medical consequences of eating disorders are irreversible or have later repercussions on health, especially those affecting the skeleton, the reproductive system, and the brain. Early medical intervention and psychiatric treatment are particularly important for those with or at risk of severe emaciation. Eating disorders are common among adolescent girls and young women and are associated with potentially serious medical complications, yet they often go undetected and untreated. All patients with eating disorders should be evaluated and treated for medical complications of the disease at the same time that psychotherapy and nutritional counseling are undertaken.


Feeding and eating disorders; Anorexia nervosa; Bulimia nervosa; Binge-eating disorder; Complications

MeSH Terms

Anorexia Nervosa
Binge-Eating Disorder
Bulimia Nervosa
Early Medical Intervention
Feeding and Eating Disorders


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