Food is an essential source of energy and nutrition for an individual. Hence, a reduction in food intake may cause several severe health conditions.
But, many people experience a decrease in their appetite for different reasons they aren’t aware of.
Hence, this article will cover essential information like causes, treatments, etc., related to loss of appetite for better knowledge of the medical condition.
What Is Loss Of Appetite?
Anorexia or loss of appetite is a medical condition in which the patient’s desire to eat food gets suppressed.
Such medical conditions could be temporary and reversible, while some cases are severe and require medical attention.
Sometimes loss of appetite could be a side effect of different underlying diseases. In such cases, you may use multiple home remedies to recover your appetite, which will be discussed further in the article.
Causes Of Loss Of Appetite
An individual’s appetite may decline due to underlying medical conditions or other factors. Some of these conditions include:
Bacterial Or Viral Infections
Suffering from bacterial or viral infections may affect an individual’s desire to eat. Several infections caused by harmful microbes, including pneumonia, colitis, skin infections, gastroenteritis, etc., could cause loss of appetite.
Moreover, other common diseases, like flu, cold, fever, etc., may impact an individual’s diet. But, the condition may return to normal after the person recovers from the existing medical condition.
An individual may experience a loss of appetite due to several psychological problems like anxiety, stress, depression, sadness, etc.
Sometimes eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia could cause low or loss of appetite.
People suffering from such psychological conditions may experience self-starvation or follow unusual methods to lose weight.
Thus, eating disorder patients are underweight as they fear gaining weight which may lead to malnutrition in extreme cases. Hence, you should manage your psychological health to reverse appetite loss.
Medications for certain diseases may impact an individual’s digestive system and cause appetite loss. Generally, medicines that pass through the digestive tract or stomach show such side effects.
These medications may sometimes show additional symptoms, including constipation, diarrhea, etc.
The medications and treatments that impact an individual’s appetite include sedatives, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, a few antibiotics, and radiation therapy nearby the stomach region.
Sometimes anesthetic drugs may cause similar side effects to the patient.People consuming recreational drugs like cannabis, cocaine, etc., could experience hunger issues resulting in loss of appetite.
Aging slows down an individual’s metabolism, decreasing the rate of food breakdown. Thus, older people may experience a loss of appetite.
Moreover, aging suppresses the digestive system, hormone activity, and the sense of smell and taste, which could cause a loss of appetite.
Other conditions, like several diseases, medications, etc., may also impact an older individual’s appetite.
Certain medical conditions directly impact an individual’s appetite; thus, they may experience a sudden drop in eating desire. Some of these medical conditions are as follows:
- Anemia: Anemia is a severe medical condition in which the blood cell levels drastically drop. Such a condition may show symptoms including loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, etc.
- Diabetes: People who have diabetes may experience loss of appetite due to multiple reasons. Sometimes, a diabetic patient’s digestive tract works slowly, resulting in less hunger.
On the other hand, people with untreated high sugar levels would accumulate high levels of ketones in their blood and urine, which may impact their appetite.
- Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland fails to produce sufficient thyroid hormone. Thus, such a condition may suppress appetite and cause sudden weight gain.
- Pregnancy: Loss of appetite is mainly observed in the first trimester of pregnancy. Generally, a pregnant woman experiences side effects like nausea with or without vomiting that may affect her appetite.
- Certain Stomach or Digestive Issues: People suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, stomach ache, or other digestive issues may show less desire to eat.
- Cancer: Sudden loss of appetite or weight loss could be a potential symptom of some cancers, including ovarian, stomach, and pancreatic.
People suffering from these cancers may experience additional symptoms, including feeling full quickly, heartburn, stomach pain, etc., which could impact their diet.
Remedies For Loss Of Appetite
You may follow different techniques or treatments to regain your usual appetite for good health and weight. Moreover, several home remedies or care could help treat the loss of appetite.
But, if the condition persists, you should consult a doctor for appropriate treatment.
Eat Favorite Food
Eating healthy is good, but eating delicious food could treat appetite loss. Generally, people who lose their appetite struggle to eat sufficient calories for the day.
Hence, eating something they love could help them eat sufficiently to keep themselves energetic.
In severe cases, you shouldn’t bother about a healthy diet as in such cases, a dessert or carb-rich food would be beneficial. Moreover, you could fill your plate with colorful and delicious food items to create a visual appeal.
Prefer Consuming Smaller And More Frequent Meals
Usually, people prefer consuming three big meals daily, i.e., breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But, people suffering from loss of appetite would hesitate to consume such large meals.
Thus, splitting those meals into multiple meals throughout the day could help you eat the required calories daily.
You may consider eating small meals every 5-6 hours to stay full. Moreover, it won’t be an issue if you mistakenly skip any meal.
Consider Consuming Nutritional Supplements
You would find multiple nutritional supplements containing essential nutrients in the required amounts. Consuming these supplements alongside food could help meet the body’s daily nutrient needs.
Moreover, it would prevent conditions like nutrient deficiency, weight loss, etc. Generally, these nutritional supplements are available in different flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, etc.
Hence, you could pick supplements of your choice to consume quickly. Besides drinks, you would find nutrient-rich bars, puddings, etc., that directly supply essential nutrients to the body.
Avoiding Food With Strong Odors
People suffering from loss of appetite may avoid food based on its strong odor. Hence, avoiding such food items may help you eat without hesitation.
Generally, people suffering from long-term illnesses may experience suppressed senses of taste and smell.Offering them food with a strong odor, like stinky cheese, seafood, sprouts, etc., may suppress their desire to eat.
Thus, allowing the food to cool down could help suppress the strong odor and eat without hesitation.
Treat Nausea And Constipation Issues
People suffering from loss of appetite alongside nausea and constipation problems may struggle to eat sufficient food daily.
Generally, constipation problems could make you feel full without eating adequate food. Here, you should consider treating constipation to prevent yourself from nutrient deprivation.
You may consider consuming laxative and fiber-rich food like apples, bananas, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc., that helps improve constipation symptoms.
You should drink sufficient water to pass your stool and increase frequency smoothly. People suffering from nausea may opt for bland foods like rice, toast, applesauce, etc. They may try ginger tea to lower nausea-like symptoms.
Consider Natural Ingredients
You would find several natural ingredients that may help increase an individual’s hunger. These natural ingredients contain multiple beneficial compounds that play a significant role in treating the loss of appetite.
Some examples of such ingredients include cardamom, fennel, garlic, cayenne pepper, ginger, cloves, etc. Moreover, consuming these naturopathic ingredients may interact with medications treating the loss of appetite.
When To Visit A Doctor?
Loss of appetite could be reversed by home remedies if identified early. But, in some severe cases, an individual may require a specialist’s attention to treat the condition.
You should immediately visit a doctor if you start losing weight uncontrollably without any specific cause.
Moreover, people who suffer from decreased appetite due to alcohol or drug consumption, depression, eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, etc., should consult any healthcare specialist for immediate medical help.
Additionally, some people prefer visiting a doctor for temporary appetite loss due to microbial infections.
Medical Treatments For Loss Of Appetite
The doctor would ask you about different symptoms during a patient’s first visit. Moreover, they may ask you about your medical history, medications, and diet to examine the cause of appetite loss.
Besides questioning essential details, the doctor would measure the patient’s weight and height to compare it with a healthy person. These data would be required for appropriate treatment of the condition.
If the doctor fails to identify the cause by questioning, they may ask you to undergo different tests.
You may be asked to undergo specific tests to determine your condition’s cause. Some of the standard tests recommended by doctors are as follows:
- CBC or Complete Blood Count.
- Abdomen’s Ultrasound
- X-rays of the upper gastrointestinal series, including the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.
- Tests of vital organs like kidneys, liver, and thyroid.
- CT scan
- Pregnancy Test
- HIV Test
Doctors would recommend treatments or medications based on the cause of appetite loss.
They may recommend some medicines to increase an individual’s appetite and reduce minor symptoms like nausea, constipation, etc.
In severe cases like malnutrition, the patients may be given nutrients intravenously. If some medications are causing appetite loss, then doctors may change the medicines or prescribe medicines with different compositions.
People suffering from appetite loss due to psychological problems would be forwarded to mental health specialists for therapies and essential medications like antidepressants.
Loss of appetite may occur due to multiple underlying conditions. Hence, you should be cautious with the changes in your diet to avoid the severity of the disease.
You should immediately consult a healthcare specialist to seek medical attention in case of severe conditions.