Childhood Gastrointestinal Complaints in Women with Bulimia Nervosa

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Objective:The current study describes childhood gastrointestinal (GI) complaints in adult women presenting for a treatment trial for bulimia nervosa (BN) and examines the correlates of BN symptomatology.Method:The sample comprised 135 women with BN who underwent an assessment including questions regarding childhood GI complaints. Individuals were grouped into one of three categories: no GI complaints, GI complaints with/without constipation (GI complaints), and constipation only. Eating disorder psychopathology was compared across these groups.Results:One third of participants reported GI complaints or constipation only in childhood. Women with GI complaints were younger, and had an earlier onset of BN and self-induced vomiting compared with women with no GI complaints. Trends existed for a younger age of first binge, and a higher frequency of binge eating in this group.Discussion:These findings suggest that individuals with childhood GI complaints and other risk factors for BN may be at greater risk of developing a more severe eating disorder at an earlier age. © 2005 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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