What To Do While Suffering From Loss Of Appetite

Overview | Causes | Symptoms | Treatment | Complications| Daily Calorie Need Chart | Diagnosis| Remedies| Tips

Loss of appetite can be a frustrating feeling for anyone, especially for those who are struggling to gain weight. But, why do we feel the loss of appetite? Let’s know more about if first.

What is loss of appetite?

Loss of desire of eating is known as loss of appetite. It is also called Poor appetite. But, it is called anorexia, in medical terms. Although, it does not seem like any kind of serious health issues. But the prolonged practice of loss of appetite or not consuming enough food that our body needs, our body may develop serious health issues with malnutrition and fatigue-like symptoms. Hence it is important to treat loss of appetite as soon as possible to avoid any kind of serious health problems further.

Causes of Loss of appetite:

The best thing about the loss of appetite is, it’s treatable. Once you found the cause of your loss of appetite and work on it, your loss of appetite will surely get to normal. Some of the main causes are –

  • Bacterial, viral, fungal it any kind of infection in the body may result in loss of appetite with other problems. Infections may create issues like – Upper respiratory infections, skin infections, colitis, pneumonia, gastroenteritis, etc.
  • Psychological causes of loss of appetite are as follows – Sadness, depression, grieving, stress, etc.
  • Eating disorders
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart failure
  • Dementia
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis
  • Stomach cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer also have shows of appetite as a symptom.
  • Pregnancy ( During first three months)
  • Regular consumption of drugs
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Prolonged medication
  • Digestive issues like upset stomach, constipation etc.
  • Being in the last stage of any serious disease may also lead to loss of appetite.
  • Mental health issues like anorexia nervosa, bulimia, etc.
  • Flu
  • Allergies
  • Food poisoning
  • Food intolerance
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Acid reflux
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Addison’s disease
  • Asthma
  • AIDS
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Excess of calcium in the blood
  • COPD
  • Heart failure
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Radiation therapy of stomach area
  • Anxiety, panic attacks, grief, etc.
  • Age
  • Gastrointestinal disorders like peptic ulcer disease, GERD, ulcerative colitis, etc.
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Slow metabolism
  • Low energy
  • Hormonal changes
  • Loss of physical activity
  • Early feeding difficulties like frequent vomiting, difficulty in sucking, colic, etc.
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Dementia
  • Neurological disorders
  • Decreased sense of taste and smell
  • Poor dental health
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Pneumonia

Symptoms of loss of appetite:

  • Loss of desire of food consumption
  • Weight loss ( without reason)

Treatment of loss of appetite:

  • The doctor may prescribe certain medications to treat loss of appetite. But if the actual reason behind your loss of appetite condition is mental health issues like depression, stress, etc. Then, antidepressants can help, followed by talk therapy.
  • If you are feeling a loss of appetite because of any kind of infection, then your appetite will start functioning normally once you get the treatment of your infection.
  • Exercise daily

Diagnosis of Loss of appetite:

  • To diagnose the loss of appetite, firstly your doctor may examine your abdomen by hand to feel any kind of presence of bloating, lumps or tenderness, etc. Or some tests like blood tests, abdominal X-rays, endoscopies, etc.
  • To confirm the condition, your doctor may prescribe some tests like –

Ultrasound, complete blood count test, tests for liver, thyroid, and kidney functions, upper GI series test, urine test, CT scan, etc.

The treatment of loss of appetite depends on its cause.

What if loss of appetite left untreated?

If your loss of appetite is without any severe medical condition, then you can recover naturally within few days. But if it needed medical help and you did not pay attention to it, then it may develop:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Irritability
  • General ill feeling
  • Malnutrition
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Electrolyte deficiency

Daily Calorie Need: While feeling the loss of appetite, one may develop fatigue and malnutrition due to low energy or less food intake. Due to this, the body may not get the number of calories a person needs in a day. Here is the chart to follow to make sure the intake of required calories in a day.

Home remedies and tips to stimulate the loss of appetite:

  • Make sure the intake of a sufficient amount of calories and protein. So that, your body can get the required amount of nutrients and energy.
  • Exercise can help to increase the appetite. Don’t forget to exercise daily.
  • Have 5 – 6 meals per day, instead of 3 bulky meals. With the increase in appetite, you can add flavors and more ingredients to encourage yourself to eat.
  • Eat nutrients rich food. Go for the healthier options of the unhealthy meals. For example, you can consume a cup of yogurt instead of ice cream.
  • Make sure to eat foods that contain a sufficient amount of proteins, whole grains, and healthy fatty acids.
  • Increase your calorie intake.
  • Having your meals with your loved ones is one of the ways to distract your mind from your food, and may result in more consumption of food. If not this, then try any other options to distract your mind.
  • Serve for yourself on a bigger plate instead of a small plate. And take a full plate of meal. Make sure to complete your meal.
  • Have your meal on time. So that if you are not in a mood, still your mobile alarm will tell you that you need to eat something now.
  • Don’t ever skip breakfast. Breakfast can increase your appetite.
  • Eat less fiber
  • Instead of having unhealthy snacks, go with a healthier option. You can have snacks like fruits, but crackers, popcorn, etc.
  • When you don’t feel like eating, choose your favourite food for a meal.
  • Use herbs and spices in your food to make your digestion better with a pleasing smell.
  • Avoid drinking water or beverages right after your meal. This habit can ruin your digestion. Have water at least half-hour after having your meal.
  • Make sure to include these supplements in your diet:

Zinc, fish oil, thiamine, Echinacea etc.

  • Include dairy in your meal
  • Keep a track of your daily calorie intake.
  • Get enough rest
  • Exercise before your meal to stimulate your appetite.
  • Stay well hydrated.
  • If you are also suffering diarrhea followed by nausea, jump on to BRAT (Banana, white Rice, Applesauce, and Toast).
  • Improve self-care
  • Talk therapy

If things remain the same, talk to your doctor to know how to address this medical condition better.

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