What is the role of lab testing in the workup of anorexia nervosa?

Updated: Jun 10, 2019
  • Author: Bettina E Bernstein, DO; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

Because an eating disorder is a clinical diagnosis, no definitive diagnostic tests are available for anorexia nervosa. However, given the multi-organ system effects of starvation, a thorough medical evaluation is warranted. Basic tests include the following:

  • Physical and mental status evaluation

  • Complete blood count (CBC)

  • Metabolic panel

  • Urinalysis

  • Pregnancy test (in females of childbearing age)

Gastrointestinal signs include intestinal dilation from constipation and diminished intestinal motility.

Fecal occult blood may be indicative of esophagitis, gastritis, or repetitive colonic trauma from laxative abuse. Thyroid function tests, prolactin, and serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels can differentiate anorexia nervosa from alternative causes of primary amenorrhea


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!