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What Are The Causes Of Loss Of Appetite?

What Are The Causes Of Loss Of Appetite?

What Are The Causes Of Loss Of Appetite?


Anorexia occurs when a person's desire to eat decreases, and there are many reasons that can affect a person's appetite, and these reasons include mental problems and physical diseases that a person can suffer from, and anorexia can cause symptoms such as weight loss or poor appetite. Nutrition, so finding and treating the underlying cause of anorexia is essential.

Causes of Loss of appetite

There are many medical reasons that lead to loss of appetite, some of which are temporary, as loss of appetite is a side effect of some medications, and some are due to a health problem that lasts for a long time, and sometimes loss of appetite is associated with anorexia nervosa, and at other times it is related to a change in the sense of taste.

Among the medical reasons whose side effects may be loss of appetite are the following:

  • Addison disease, a disease that leads to impaired function of the adrenal gland.
  • Alcoholic liver disease, which means damage to the liver as a result of excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease, which occurs as a result of a viral infection that causes ulcers in the mouth and on the hands and feet.
  • Asthma in children. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the patient's respiratory tract.
  • Binge eating disorders It is an eating disorder and the sufferer suffers from eating large quantities of food, often in a fast manner, then feels guilty and may dispose of the food eaten in unhealthy ways.
  • Cancer, side effects of cancer treatment.
  • wheat allergy disease (in English: coeliac disease); It occurs as a result of an immune reaction against gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, and spelled.
  • Crohn's disease This disease affects the ability to digest food, in addition to symptoms of pain and diarrhea.
  • dementia; is a loose term that means the deterioration of the mental abilities of the patient in a way that affects his life.
  • Depression; affects the body, as well as the mind, and can affect the way a person eats.
  • diabetic.
  • Stress.
  • dysentery; It is an inflammation of the intestines, especially the colon, and usually causes severe diarrhea accompanied by blood and mucus, and leads to nausea and loss of appetite.
  • An ectopic pregnancy.
  • endocarditis;
  •  A rare and life-threatening infection of the innermost layer or lining of the heart.
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter that separates the esophagus from the stomach, causing stomach acids to reflux into the esophagus.
  • Hepatitis C virus.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Pancreatitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Giardiasis; is an infection of the small intestine caused by the parasite Giardia lamblia.
  • ulcerative colitis; is an inflammation of the colon and rectum.

Signs of loss of appetite

Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between anorexia symptoms and dieting behaviors or even normal eating behaviors, and anorexia can be differentiated from other medical conditions by noting the following pathological signs on the patient:

  1. Severe weight loss.
  2. slender appearance;
  3. dizziness, fainting;
  4. general fatigue
  5. convulsions occur.
  6. Weak nails.
  7. Hair weakness, breakage, and loss.
  8. Reduction of Blood pressure.
  9. Absence of menstruation (amenorrhea).
  10. constipation;
  11. Arrhythmia.
  12. intolerance of cold.
  13. Elevated liver enzymes.
  14. Drought.
  15. Osteoporosis, the loss of calcium from the bones, leading to fractures.
  16. Abnormal blood count.

The most serious signs, which may indicate that a person suffers from an eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, are as follows:

  • Refuse to eat.
  • Avoid meals.
  • Denial of hunger, even when a person is starving.
  • Finding excuses not to eat.
  • Obsession with the size and shape of the body.
  • difficulty concentrating
  • Eat a few certain foods, usually low in fat and calories.
  • Adopting eating habits, such as spitting out food after chewing it, or cutting food into small pieces.
  • food weight.
  • Cook meals for others but refuse to eat them.

Diagnosis of anorexia

Anorexia is diagnosed by first knowing the symptoms that the patient suffers from, measuring his weight and height and comparing it with the normal average for height and weight, then knowing the patient’s medical history and the medications he takes, and knowing the patient’s diet. The amount of weight the patient has lost, whether the symptoms occurred as a result of an important event in the patient's life, and whether he suffers from any other symptoms.

After that, the doctor can order certain tests to find out the cause of anorexia, such as an abdominal ultrasound, a complete blood count, a test for liver, thyroid, and kidney functions, and an X-ray image to see the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. The doctor may request a computerized tomography (CT) scan of the head, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. The doctor can also request a pregnancy test if the patient is female, a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test, and a urine test.

Anorexia treatment

Treatment of anorexia depends on the cause. For example, if the cause of anorexia is a viral or bacterial infection; The loss of appetite, in this case, does not require treatment, when the patient recovers from this infection, one's appetite returns as it was.

Home Care

If the cause of loss of appetite is a medical condition such as cancer or a chronic disease, it is difficult in this case to stimulate one’s appetite, but eating with family and friends in addition to cooking the food the person prefers or eating in a restaurant would stimulate the person to eat, in addition, In addition, light exercise may also improve a person's appetite.

One of the tips that may work with people who suffer from anorexia is to eat small meals instead of large ones during the day, as the stomach absorbs them better, emphasizing that these meals are rich in calories and proteins, and the patient can try liquid protein drinks.

The patient can keep a diary to record the meals he eats over a period of several days or a week, and this may help the doctor to assess the amount of food the patient eats and the extent of the decrease in appetite.

drug therapy

The doctor can prescribe to the patient one of the appetite-reducing medicines, and if there is malnutrition, the patient is provided with the necessary nutrients intravenously, and anorexia caused by medicines is also treated by changing the doses of these medicines or replacing the medicine with another, but it must be emphasized not to change If the doctor suspects that the loss of appetite is psychologically caused, the patient is referred to a specialized psychiatrist to treat the cause, whether it is depression, eating disorder, or wrong use of medication.

Complications of not treating anorexia

If the decreased appetite is due to a short-term condition, it is likely that appetite will return to normal as before without any long-term effects, however, if the decreased appetite is a medical condition, the condition may worsen if left untreated, and decreased appetite can accompany more severe symptoms, as follows:

  • The patient feels unwell.
  • extreme tiredness;
  • Weight loss.
  • increased heart rate;
  • high body temperature;
  • irritability

If the patient's loss of appetite lasts for more than a few weeks or causes him to have malnutrition and a lack of important elements in the body; It is necessary to see a doctor as soon as possible so that the patient does not suffer from complications that could threaten his life.