Laxative abuse, eating disorders, and kidney stones: A case report and review of the literature

David E. Leaf, Phillip R. Bukberg, David S. Goldfarb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Kidney stones are listed among the complications of eating disorders; however, very few cases have been reported. We present an additional case of nephrolithiasis associated with laxative abuse, including detailed results of the patient's urine metabolic profiles, in a patient with idiopathic hypercalciuria. We review the literature and provide an explanation for the paucity of cases of nephrolithiasis associated with these disorders. Despite low urine volumes resulting from extracellular fluid volume depletion and hypocitraturia resulting from hypokalemia, both of which would tend to favor the formation of kidney stones, most patients with eating disorders are likely to be protected from stone formation by the hypocalciuric effect of extracellular fluid volume depletion and increased proximal tubular sodium reabsorption. However, patients with underlying idiopathic hypercalciuria who develop eating disorders may be at increased risk of stone formation in the setting of low urine volume and therefore high supersaturation of calcium oxalate and phosphate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-298
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • bulimia
  • citrate
  • hypercalciuria
  • nephrolithiasis
  • urolithiasis


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