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Not Feeling Hungry? THIS Is Why Your *Sudden* Loss Of Appetite Should Be Taken More Seriously

Not Feeling Hungry? THIS Is Why Your *Sudden* Loss Of Appetite Should Be Taken More Seriously

We've all dealt with an appetite loss at some point in our lives and still do, every now and then. Remember when you were sick and had too many antibiotics which made your food taste bitter? Or when you were too stressed out about work and didn't feel like eating anything at all? Or how about when you ate little but felt full after a few bites? Although these incidents do indicate a certain loss of appetite, they are rarely given much importance since they last only for a short while. So, when is the right time to start taking your loss of appetite seriously? Read on to find out, along with all the symptoms, causes and remedies that must be kept in mind - just in case!


What Is Loss of Appetite?


Loss of appetite basically refers to your reduced desire to eat or an 'absence of hunger'. And even though your sudden loss of appetite should be a matter of concern, sometimes it's just a short-term reaction to either being sick, overfed or stressed. However, if it continues for a significant period of time - then that's a problem you need to identify asap. An ongoing loss of appetite can lead to serious complications in your physical health - especially if you suffer from rapid weight loss or a deficiency of nutrients in your body. Wondering how this happens?


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Growing up, we were all taught that a human body works like a car and its parts depend on each other just like they would in a machine. Your heart is just like an engine and your brain is similar to a car's computer system. So, do you think your car can ever function properly if its engine stops requiring oil? Or when a computer fails to load memory due to its low battery? Of course not.


Similarly, our body too, NEEDS to maintain a homeostatic state for all its parts to function properly without a long pause, and this is merely dependant on the kind of appetite we feed it on a regular basis. That's why the importance of a healthy, balanced diet is emphasized to help your bodily organs meet its right amount of energy (in the form of calories), proteins, vitamins and minerals - whilst maintaining a healthy body weight (in the form of muscles and fat).


When Does Loss Of Appetite Become *Really* Serious?


When you don't end up feeding your body with the right amount of food for several days, your body begins to slow down automatically due to the lack of nutrients. This is what makes you feel tired, drowsy, nauseous and unpleasant for a while. But when does this condition really start becoming worrisome? When it leads to an excess loss of muscle weight along with a lack of strength or mental energy to live a normal and healthy life.


And unfortunately, it doesn't end there. Even if you begin craving food after a while, your body becomes so used to its current lack of functioning that it forgets how to process it - just like we forget to pursue a certain activity after a long gap. Can you imagine food or liquids then, being transferred into your body through a steroid injection? Sounds scary, doesn't it? This is why you need to start taking your loss of appetite seriously.


What Are The Symptoms Of Appetite Loss?


While the most common sign that you can expect while dealing with loss of appetite is your lack of interest in eating, despite staying for a long period without food - there are some other equally or more significant symptoms that you might begin to recognise if this continues for a long time:


1. Feeling full without eating too much or even a bare minimum


2. Feeling nauseous or drowsy all the time


3. Feeling weak and fatigued after a minimal amount of activity


4. Suffering from stomach pain for a long period of time


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5. Consistent lack of sleep and energy to concentrate


6. Swollen ankles due to water retention in your body


7. Suffering from fever or body aches and sudden chills


8. RAPID WEIGHT LOSS within an extremely short time


What Is The Cause Of This *Sudden* Loss Of Appetite?


When you begin to identify the above symptoms for a prolonged period of time, it's imperative to get to the root cause of this problem. And let's face it - any longer denial of this condition could lead to more trouble than you're already experiencing. Hence, below listed are some of the minor/major causes that could lead to a loss of appetite in an individual.


Common (Short - Term) Causes


1. Viral or bacterial infections such as flu or cold - As a response to these conditions, the body produces certain chemicals called cytokines which make you feel tired and not eager to eat for a while.


2. Increased nausea due to constipation or food poisoning - These conditions directly affect the normal functioning of your digestive system (hence, the name 'stomach upset') and induce pain or an uncomfortable sensation in your body - which leads to an instant decrease of hunger.


3. Gastritis - This leads to stomach inflammation or erosion of the lining of your stomach which makes you feel woozy and less hungry.


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Physiological Causes


1. Reaction to certain antibiotics - Some of these medicines include those to treat depression, migraines, high blood pressure, cold and flu etc. Sometimes, a prolonged medication to cure certain diseases may also induce an appetite loss due to an over-intake of medicines.


2. Sedentary lifestyle - A sedentary lifestyle is a kind which involves little or no activity in your daily routine. Since it usually leads to weight gain and an increase in your leptin levels, you may stop feeling hungry after a while.


3. Overeating - Overeating hours before your usual meal time can increase the satiety hormones in your body which end up making you feel less hungry when you're actually supposed to eat.


4. Pregnancy - It may occur as a result of nausea that many moms-to-be suffer from during their first trimester. Even though it's known as a 'morning' sickness, it can take place at any time of the day. 


5. Old Age - Changes in the digestive system, slowing down of metabolism, overuse of medications, depression, reduced activities and change in taste and smell are some of the most contributing factors.


Psychological Causes


1. Depression, anxiety (panic attacks), grief or stress - When you experience such psychological problems, your body reacts as if its in danger. Certain chemicals including adrenaline are then released by your brain which makes your heart beat faster and slows down your digestion. This makes you want to stay away from food as much as possible.


2. Eating disorders (anorexia nervosa or bulimia) - These potentially life-threatening illnesses make the person either starve intentionally or binge eat. After bingeing, the person may feel bloated, ashamed, regretful and overwhelmed with the fear of gaining weight and looking unattractive. So, they try to compensate by over-exercising and purging through self-induced vomiting or laxatives.


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Medical Conditions (and their major factors which cause appetite loss)


1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Crohn's disease - An extreme amount of fatigue, nausea or vomiting


2. Liver diseases - Fluid accumulation in the abdomen, fatigue and pain


3. Kidney failure - Nausea, abdominal pain, leg cramps and insomnia


4. Hormonal conditions such as Addison's disease - Worsening fatigue and muscle weaknesses


5. Diabetes - Changes in diet, reaction to consistent medications and bloating of stomach


6. Hypothyroidism - Slowing down of metabolism and low energy levels


7. Migraine - An extreme amount of nausea, dizziness and vomiting


8. Anaemia - Lack of healthy, red blood cells which make you feel weak and tired


9. Heart diseases - Fatigue, shortness of breath and nausea which makes it hard for people with heart failure to take in enough calories and nutrients. Weight loss and shedding of muscles are common.


10. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) - Shortness of breath and consistent coughing (leading to difficulty in eating meals) along with low energy


11. Cancer - Pancreatic cancer, bladder cancer, stomach cancer, rectal cancer, ovarian cancer and colon cancer cause stomach inflammation and other negative changes in the digestive organs. Reaction to treatments like radiation and chemotherapy also leads to nausea, pain, dehydration, yellowing of the skin and eyes, heartburn and blood in their stools.


12. Cachexia - This is a serious, life-limiting disease that people may experience in the later stages of their consistent appetite loss which leads to constant weight loss, muscle wastage, inability to keep liquids down, vomiting for more than a day, pain while trying to eat and irregular urination.


Medical Treatment & Diagnosis For Appetite Loss


A continued loss of appetite can lead to malnutrition and excessive weight loss. Hence, it's vital to visit a doctor if you are suffering from an appetite loss for a large period of time. He/she may prescribe certain medications to help you increase your appetite and reduce symptoms like nausea, fatigue or vomiting. If you think that you or someone you know might be suffering from a psychological disorder, then talking to a therapist or taking antidepressants should help.


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For diagnosis, a doctor will simply understand the symptoms that you might be facing and use them to figure out the reason for your appetite loss. He/she might also tell you to take certain tests such as a blood test, an abdominal X-ray or an endoscopy (which enables the doctor to look inside your body).


Natural Remedies For An Appetite Loss


1. Try changing your eating patterns by splitting two or three BIG meals of the day into five to six smaller ones. This will help you remain full throughout the day and train your body in regulating your appetite. 


2. Limit your consumption of caffeine like coffee or cold drinks as they can increase your anxiety, lead to indigestion and decrease your appetite. And if you want to, make sure you don't consume large amounts of them right before meals (or during) as they can easily suppress your appetite and leave you feeling full quicker.


3, Try changing your diet by including the kind of food which provides a decent amount of calories, proteins and healthy fats, such as those cooked with olive oil, butter, eggs, beef or other red meats, full-fat dairy products, protein smoothies, coconut milk, avocados, bananas, etc. 


4. Keep a good variety of food that you love already stacked at home so that you never have a shortage of it. This should include enough fresh fruits, veggies and quick bites that you can consume at any time of the day. You can also add as many spices, salts or condiments as you want to make them even more delicious and irresistible.


5. To prevent indigestion, it's best to include an ample amount of high-fibre foods such as chia or flax seeds, roasted root vegetables, foods high in magnesium, fish and probiotic foods like fermented yoghurt in your diet on a regular basis.


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6. In case you feel nauseous, you should drink a chilled glass of milk or lemonade to make you feel better from within. And if you're PMSing, drink some chamomile tea with a zest of lemon to calm your cramps and nausea.


7. It's always nice to step outside in the fresh air for a while. For those who have a pretty sedentary lifestyle, they must start exercising - even if it's a 30-minute walk in the mornings or evenings. Also, walking before meals is known to increase your appetite and enhance your digestion by 50% - apart from its other benefits such as reducing stress, improving your metabolism, sleep and muscle mass.


8. In order to prevent fatigue, make sure you're giving your mind and body enough rest by sleeping for at least 7-8 hours daily, no matter what. You must also start giving yourself enough breaks throughout the day to unwind and relax instead of exerting yourself strenuously throughout the day without eating anything for too long.


9. To improve your mental health for battling stress or depression, it's imperative to go out and be more social instead of staying at home all day long. You should also practice yoga, meditation or deep breathing before going to bed, every night - and sleep in a cool, dark room.


10. Try to avoid eating food in a hurry or while commuting. It's always best to eat with your family or friends while engaging in a nice conversation. Keep trying different restaurants or new kinds of dishes as a change in your setting or the curiosity of trying new food can also increase your appetite.


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Frequently Answered Questions (FAQs):


1. Is There A Pill To Increase My Appetite?


Yes, an Eatmor Appetite Stimulant is one such pill that encourages a healthy appetite by working with your body to send hunger signals to your subconscious mind. It gives you the much-needed boost to consume more calories. However, this pill should only be taken AFTER a consultation from your doctor who should be aware of your symptoms and the diagnosis of your appetite loss.


2. What Happens If I Am Hungry But Without An Appetite?


You know you're hungry if you begin to feel gnawing somersaults in your tummy or an empty sensation in your abdomen. However, hunger pangs can take place even if your body does not *want* food but needs it. This makes you feel hungry at first and yet, nauseous or weak after eating a few small bites, thereby indicating that you have an appetite loss. Hence, you must start doing everything it takes to increase it - before it lingers on for too long.


3. Does An Absence Of Hunger Always Lead To Weight Loss?


You can experience weight loss for many different reasons. If you're suffering from a serious medical condition for a prolonged period of time wherein your appetite loss is almost linked to your recovery, then you may experience an unexpected drop in your weight. However, if you're trying to lose weight through self-induced starvation, it actually won't. Sometimes, if you're intentionally trying to starve yourself to lose weight, your stomach may end up more bloated due to a sudden absence of food. This will also induce extreme hunger pangs after a while which will only lead you to gain weight.


4. How Can I Increase My Appetite When I’m Feeling Sick?


In order to increase your appetite while suffering from an illness, you must try to go beyond three meals a day and drink tonnes of liquids. If you don't feel like eating at all, you should start by consuming soft foods such as pancakes, eggs, cheese, pasta or mashed potatoes. If your doctor has prescribed you to follow a certain diet, stick to it but try to increase the amount of intake as much as you can. However, if your illness does not limit you to a certain type of meal - you SHOULD eat whatever you like! Almost makes all the pain worth it, don't you think?


Cover Image Source: tolivetelugu


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Published on May 13, 2019
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