Objectives: The prevalence of eating disorders is rising worldwide. The low body weight in anorexia nervosa as well as the increase in body mass index due to binge eating disorder are contributing to a strikingly high morbidity and mortality. In a similar pattern, the prevalence and burden of the disease of functional gastrointestinal disorders such as functional dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome is increasing. As gastrointestinal complaints are commonly reported by patients with eating disorders, the question arose whether there is a relationship between eating disorders and functional gastrointestinal disorders.
Methods: To address the need to better understand the interplay between eating disorders and functional gastrointestinal disorders as well as factors that might influence this connection, the data bases Medline, Web of Science and Embase were systematically searched.
Results: After removal of duplicates the search yielded 388 studies which were screened manually. As a result, 36 publications were selected for inclusion in this systematic review.
Conclusion: The occurrence of functional gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia in patients with eating disorders is considerably high and often associated with psychological, hormonal and functional alterations. In the future, further research addressing the underlying mechanisms accounting for this relationship is required.