OXFORD, England, April 9 (UPI) -- Due to the perception held by many -- including some doctors -- that anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder primarily affecting young women, some men are not diagnosed, and one man with the eating disorder was told to "man up."
Researchers at the University of Oxford and the University of Glasgow said some estimate anorexia nervosa in men at 1 in 4 cases, but recognition of the signs and symptoms of eating disorders in men is poor.
The researchers interviewed 39 young people ages 16 to 25 -- 25 percent were men -- about their experiences with eating disorders.
The men with the eating disorder said they were slow to identify anorexia symptoms -- no eating for days; purging; and obsessive calorie counting, exercise and weighing -- because they thought eating disorders occurred in "fragile teenage girls," or it was "something girls got," Medical Xpress said.
"Men with eating disorders are under diagnosed, under treated and under researched," the researchers wrote in the journal BMJ Open.
"Our findings suggest that men may experience particular problems in recognizing that they may have an eating disorder as a result of the continuing cultural construction of eating disorders as uniquely or predominantly a female problem."
Once the men were diagnosed with anorexia -- often due to a crisis resulting in a hospital emergency visit -- they delayed treatment because they feared they wouldn't be taken seriously by physicians. One was told to "man up."