Loss of Appetite


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By Medicover Hospitals / 10 Mar 2021
Home | symptoms | loss-of-appetite
  • Anyone can experience a loss of appetite and for many reasons. People may have much less desire to eat, lose interest in food, or experience nauseous to eat. Along with the loss of appetite, a person can also experience fatigue and weight loss if they are not eating enough food to support their body.
  • Article Context:

    1. What is the Loss of Appetite?
    2. Causes
    3. Diagnosis
    4. Treatment
    5. When to visit a Doctor?
    6. Home Remedies
    7. FAQ's

    What is the Loss of Appetite?

  • Loss of appetite medically called anorexia may be because of many situations and diseases. Any of the symptoms, such as lack of appetite from the effects of drugs, maybe acute and reversible. Some conditions can be more serious, such as those arising from the effects of underlying cancer. A healthcare professional should evaluate any persistent lack of appetite. A large range of factors can induce a decline in your appetite. These vary between mental and physical illnesses.
  • If you have a loss of appetite, you may also have related symptoms, such as weight loss or malnutrition. If left unchecked, these can be serious, so it's important to find the cause for and treat your reduced appetite.
  • Causes:

    Bacteria and Viruses:

  • Appetite loss can arise anywhere because of bacterial, viral, fungal, or different infections. Here are just a few of the reasons why it could work:
    • An upper respiratory infection
    • Pneumonia
    • Gastroenteritis
    • Colitis
    • A skin infection
    • Meningitis
  • After proper treatment for the disease, your appetite will return.
  • Psychological causes:

  • There are several psychological causes for decreased appetite. Many older adults lose their appetite, although experts don't know exactly why. Your appetite may also tend to decrease when you are sad, depressed, upset, or anxious. A decreased appetite has also been related to boredom and stress. Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, can also lead to a general decrease in appetite. A person with anorexia nervosa goes through starvation or other methods of losing weight. People with this condition are often underweight and afraid of gaining weight. Anorexia nervosa can also cause malnutrition.
  • Medical conditions:

  • The following medical conditions can cause your appetite to decrease:
    • Chronic liver disease
    • Kidney failure
    • Heart failure
    • Hepatitis
    • HIV
    • Dementia
    • Hypothyroidism
  • Cancer can also cause loss of appetite, especially if the cancer is concentrated in the following areas:
    • Colon
    • Stomach
    • Ovaries
    • Pancreas
  • Pregnancy can also cause loss of appetite during the first trimester.
  • Medications:

  • Some medicines and drugs can reduce your appetite. These include illicit drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines, along with prescription drugs. Some prescription drugs that reduce appetite include:
    • Certain antibiotics
    • Codeine
    • Morphine
    • Chemotherapy drugs


  • If your decreased appetite is caused by a short-term condition, you will likely recover naturally with no long-term effects. However, if it is caused by a medical condition, the condition could get worse without treatment. If left untreated, decreased appetite can also be accompanied by more serious symptoms, such as:
    • Extreme fatigue
    • Weight loss
    • A fast heart rate
    • Fever
    • Irritability
    • General malaise or malaise
  • You can have life-threatening complications if your decreased appetite continues and you experience malnutrition or vitamin and electrolyte shortages.
  • Diagnosis:

  • Although there is no laboratory test to detect eating disorders, your doctor may use a variety of physical and psychological evaluations, as well as laboratory tests to determine your diagnosis, including:
    • A physical exam, during which your provider will check your height, weight, and vital signs.
    • Laboratory tests, including a complete blood count, liver, kidney, and thyroid function tests, urinalysis, X-rays, and an EKG.
    • Psychological assessment, which includes personal questions about your eating behaviors, bingeing, purging, exercise habits, and body image.


  • A doctor may prescribe certain medications to help increase your appetite and reduce other symptoms, such as nausea. If depression or anxiety causes people to experience loss of appetite, talking therapies and sometimes antidepressants can help.
  • If a doctor believes that a specific medication is a reason for the loss of appetite, they may be able to change the dose of the medication.
  • When to visit a Doctor?

  • A continued loss of appetite can lead to weight loss and malnutrition. It is vital that people find out the reason for the loss of appetite, as not treating it can be serious. People can talk to a doctor if they have a loss of appetite for a long time. If they notice unexpected or rapid weight loss, they should also see their doctor.
  • A person should seek medical help if they notice any other symptoms along with loss of appetite, such as:
    • Stomach pain
    • Fever
    • Shortness of breath
    • Cough
    • Fast or irregular heartbeat

    Home Remedies:

    • People may find it easier to eat several small meals a day rather than three larger ones.
    • Try to make these meals high in calories and protein to make sure the body receives enough nutrients and energy. People may also find liquid foods, such as shakes and protein drinks, easier to drink.
    • Adding herbs, spices, or other seasonings to foods can also encourage people to eat more easily. Eating in a relaxed or social setting can make eating more enjoyable.
    • People can also continue to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Gentle exercise, such as a short walk, can also sometimes increase your appetite.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    • Overcome lack of appetite
    • Get enough rest
    • Exercise before meals to stimulate your appetite
    • Select pleasant foods and foods that have a pleasant aroma
    • Plan meals the day before you eat them
    • Stay well hydrated
    • Aim for 6 to 8 small meals and snacks a day
    • Eat meals and snacks at scheduled times, even if you are not hungry
  • Certain vitamins and minerals, including zinc and vitamin B-1, can increase your appetite.
  • Eat foods that are high in calories and protein. High protein foods are peanut butter, eggs, nuts, cereals, chicken, steak, meat, etc.
  • Features of dehydration include thirst and neurological changes such as headaches, malaise, loss of appetite, decreased urine volume (unless polyuria causes dehydration), confusion, unexplained tiredness, purple nails, and seizures.
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