Anorexia nervosa is a type of eating and emotional disorder in which individuals generally become obsessed with losing weight and are overly apprehensive of gaining weight. It is more common in teenage girls and young women than in other groups. There are several signs of anorexia in girls who have this disorder. Signs of anorexia in girls can include obvious physical symptoms like severe weight loss, vomiting, and abdominal problems. Young women with anorexia also often exhibit emotional and psychological signs, including being critical of themselves and being preoccupied with food.
The most common sign of anorexia in girls is drastic weight loss even without suffering from an illness. They also often develop dry, flaking skin and brittle nails, and they may have thin hairs growing on their face, legs, and arms. Most of the time, they criticize themselves for being fat despite being obviously thin. Eating habits may also change, such as eating very small portions, making excuses during mealtimes, and even pretending to eat. Some may also skip meals or avoid dining in public places.
Behavior changes are also common, and these include being preoccupied with food counting calories, excessively exercising, and denying being very thin. Girls with anorexia may also constantly weigh themselves and complain too much about small weight fluctuations. They often find imperfections in themselves, and are overly concerned with their body image. Many have also resort to taking weight loss pills and other appetite suppressants to shed weight and to avoid weight gain. Throwing up or vomiting after meals is not uncommon.
Other symptoms of anorexia in girls are related to the extreme body changes related to drastic weight loss. Anorexic girls usually have abdominal pain, slow heart rate, low blood pressure, and constipation. Constipation is defined as infrequent bowel movement in a given week and passing out stools that are often hard and dry.
Anorexia in girls also often results in irregular menstrual periods or even cessation of their monthly menstrual cycle. Anemia is also frequently present due to malnutrition. These girls may also be prone to infections due to lowered immune functions. Bone density loss is also often associated with anorexia in girls because it is usually during this period where most of their bone mass is acquired. Some studies have indicated that anorexia in girls can lead to bone fractures as they grow old.