• eating disorders;
  • electrogastrography;
  • gastric myoelectrical activity

Abstract  Eating disorders are common psychiatric disorders in young women. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the gastric electrical acitivity of patients with eating disorders and its relation to their symptoms. The electrogastrography (EGG) was performed before and after a water load test for outpatients with eating disorders (n = 36; 14 anorexia nervosa, 14 bulimia nervosa, eight eating disorder not otherwise specified) and healthy women (n = 19). A structured interview (Eating Disorder Examination) was used to assess clinical symptoms. The percentage of normal gastric myoelectrical power was significantly smaller in the eating disorder patients (44.5% vs 74.2%; P < 0.05), while the percentage of bradygastric power was significantly greater, both before and after the water load test compared with the control subjects (30.4% vs 10.4%; P < 0.05). In addition, moderate correlation was found between the duration of illness and the percentage of bradygastria (P < 0.05). In conclusion, it is suggested that longstanding abnormal eating in patients with eating disorders may induce disturbances to gastric motor function, resulting in their abnormal, eating-related behavior, and form a symptomatic vicious circle. The EGG may be a promising method for determining the pathophysiology of eating disorders and for developing effective therapeutic approaches.