Lack of Appetite or Decreased Appetite

General or Other | Gastroenterology | Lack of Appetite or Decreased Appetite (Symptom)


A decreased appetite is when you have a reduced desire to eat. The medical term for a loss of appetite is anorexia. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder. It is serious and can be a life-threatening condition. It is characterized by intentional weight loss of 15% or more of a person's normal body weight. Occasionally it can become chronic.


A decreased appetite is almost always seen among elderly adults, and no cause may be found. However, sadness, depression, grief, or anxiety are a common cause of weight loss that is not explained by other factors, especially among the elderly.

Cancer may also cause decreased appetite. Cancers that may cause you to lose your appetite include: colon cancer, ovarian cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer.

Other causes of decreased appetite may include: chronic liver and kidney diseases, COPD, dementia, heart failure, hepatitis, HIV, hypothyroidism, pregnancy (first trimester), use of certain medications, including antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, codeine, and morphine, use of street drugs including amphetamines (speed), cocaine, and heroin.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If appetite loss develops gradually and is accompanied by weight loss, medical examination is necessary, thus such appetite loss can signal about serious problems with health. Treatment for loss of appetite depends on the reason which have caused this condition. For example, if appetite loss is caused by pregnancy the treatment is not required, appetite will be restored by a natural way in some weeks. As a rule, appetite is restored after full treatment of the illness which have caused this condition.


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