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Sudden Loss of Appetite

Sudden Loss of Appetite

A sudden loss of appetite is an indication of an array of complications from stress to digestive system diseases. To find out the causes, symptoms and treatment for a loss in your appetite, read on...
Rutuja Jathar
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Many people complain about their inability to consume proper food. Some people refuse to eat even when they are hungry. In many people, this feeling is accompanied with nausea which is experienced before and/or after forcefully eating the food. This condition is known as a loss of- or a decreased appetite which is scientifically referred to as anorexia. This feeling of loss of appetite is mostly temporary and people get over it, within the timespan of one or two days.
However, it could be a serious cause of concern when this feeling stays on, for more than two-three days. There are a lot of reasons why a person suffers with a sudden loss of appetite, which is sometimes accompanied with a nauseating feeling, headache and extreme thirst. A sudden occurrence of this feeling is in itself a symptom of a large array of diseases or health conditions. Severity of the underlying health conditions for a decreased appetite mostly depends on the symptoms that are experienced with this feeling. If you're suffering with this health condition for no significant reason, then go through the following article for additional help.
Causes of Sudden Loss of Appetite
As I explained in the introduction, symptoms of this condition include duration of its onset, degree (graduate, sudden or constant), other accompanying medical conditions, sicknesses and symptoms like nausea, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, mood swings, etc. Whether the patient has selective anorexia, which is restricted to either a certain food group or all foods. The doctor will also check whether the patient has recently gone through any mental or physical trauma. The following are some of the most probable causes that are sometimes accompanied with other physiological symptoms.
Emotional Stress
As we all know, emotional highs and lows have a significant effect on our appetite. It is the reason why stressful situations like excess workload, losing a job, losing a loved one, performance anxiety, stressful examination, depression, etc. are some negative types of stress elements that can work negatively on your appetite. On the other hand, people who are charged with extreme excitement like a wedding function, finding a new job, promotion, and other such life changing experiences like falling in love; which are positive stress elements, can cause a sudden but temporary decrease in appetite. Evaluating the severity of the causes behind loss of appetite and consulting a doctor is a mandate for such onsets.
Pregnancy
Many women complain about this problem during pregnancy. This feeling is mostly evident in the first trimester itself. In pregnancy, this condition of decreased appetite is also accompanied with vomiting, nausea and selective anorexia; which means women feel like eating specific types of food only. In an advanced stage of pregnancy, this condition is mainly caused due to the added pressure of the uterus on the bowel, that causes constipation and loss of appetite. Drinking plenty of water, eating smaller servings of healthy meals throughout the day and avoiding fatty foods are some of the things that such women can do. If the symptoms are constant, it is better to consult an ob-gyn.
Several Infections
Various types of viral, bacterial and fungal infections could cause one to lose their appetite. Various types of infections like influenza, pneumonia, liver infections like hepatitis A, hepatitis B, inflammation of liver, lung infections like tuberculosis, kidney infections like pyelonephritis, HIV/AIDS, ulcerative colitis, etc. are common causes that lead to sudden loss of appetite in children as well as adults. However, it is important to understand that in such medical conditions, this feeling is also accompanied with numerous other significant symptoms, making it easy for diagnosis. Some of the common symptoms of infection include severe types of pain, fever, cold, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, etc.
Serious Diseases
Losing one's appetite is one of the common causes of numerous chronic and serious diseases that are mostly life-threatening. Organ failure incidences include liver failure, kidney failure, congestive heart failure, chronic renal failure, etc.; various types of diseases like kidney disease, liver diseases, heart diseases, cirrhosis, pancreatitis, appendicitis, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.; various types of cancer like colon cancer, leukemia, kidney cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, etc. These diseases have pretty uncommon and asymptomatic signs that should never be overlooked. It is the reason why constant onsets of loss of appetite (both sudden and gradual), should better be diagnosed by a professional health care provider.
Autoimmune Disorders
Various autoimmune disorders and diseases like diabetes mellitus, endocrine diseases, scleroderma, various types of arthritis and especially rheumatoid arthritis, etc. may cause a loss in one's appetite. In some cases there is a gradual decrease in the severity of this feeling, while in other cases it is quite sudden. It is also experienced with other symptoms like sudden weight loss, nausea, low blood sugar levels, joint pain, etc. As I mentioned earlier, in case you experience continuous and constant loss of appetite and you have a family history of any of the autoimmune disorders, then it is always advisable to consult a knowledgeable health care professional.
Other Reasons
Apart from all the reasons that are mentioned above, several psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, eating disorders like bulimia, binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, etc. may cause this health condition. Certain types of medication like depression medication, hypertension medication, antibiotics, narcotics, alcohol, metformin, and medical therapies like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc. may also cause a sudden and constant feeling of loss of appetite and nausea, with several other physiological symptoms.
As I have stated it repeatedly, it is always advisable to consult a health care provider if one is suffering with constant onsets of a decreased appetite. Always remember that this health condition is not an illness, but it is a symptom of some underlying health condition. Take care.