Tuesday, April 27, 1999 Published at 01:31 GMT 02:31 UK
Anorexics 'suffer bladder problems'
Eating disorders are linked to anxiety
Anorexic women are more likely to develop problems with their urinary system, scientists have warned.
Researchers from two London hospitals have found that anorexia is often linked to bladder problems, such as needing to go to the toilet very regularly and urgently.
According to the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the researchers found that nearly two-thirds of women with anorexia nervosa are likely to suffer from bladder problems.
This is three times the rate of women without the eating disorder.
The women, assessed at King's College and Maudsley Hospitals, said the condition could dominate day to day life.
Professor Linda Cardozo, professor of Urogynaecology at King's College Hospital, said the symptoms could increase the alienation commonly felt by anorexics.
She said: "Teenage girls and young women with anorexia nervosa, many of whom have gone to extraordinary lengths to hide their condition from their family and friends, often find it particularly difficult to admit having bladder problems.
"The effect of silently suffering from two socially isolating conditions can have a devastating effect on sufferers' lives."
Both anorexia and bladder problems have been linked to feelings of anxiety.
Professor Cardozo said the bladder problems might be associated with the mental state that led the sufferer to develop anorexia in the first place.
Alternatively, it could be that anorexia caused mental changes that brought on the urinary problems.
"Anorexics also tend to have low levels of the hormone oestrogen and it might be that this predisposes them to urinary symptoms," she said.