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HealthInfo Canterbury

About anorexia

Anorexia (also called anorexia nervosa) is a condition in which a person loses a large amount of weight but still thinks they're fat, even though others would describe them as very thin. People with anorexia are obsessed with controlling their weight and what they eat, sometimes to the point of starvation.

Anorexia is much more common in girls and women, although boys and men get anorexia too.

Men with anorexia are often preoccupied with body-building, weight-lifting, or muscle toning. They may have lowered testosterone levels, and lose interest in sex. They're likely to have thinning hair or serious hair loss, and grow a type of downy body hair called lanugo.

Some people with bulimia have also had anorexia, and vice versa.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by the South Island Eating Disorders Service, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed December 2017.

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Page reference: 73479

Review key: HIEDI-73561