People who feel hungry less often might not have reasons to worry as long as they do not suffer from prolonged loss of appetite, which can affect well-being. If you do not feel like eating for days, it could indicate some health problems that might not be entirely evident initially. However, it is essential to differentiate between a reduction in appetite and not feeling like eating, which is a definite sign of some illness that requires proper medical investigation and diagnosis.
What might cause loss of appetite?
Appetite is a regular desire to eat food. Usually, everyone with at least three square meals a day has a regular eating habit or appetite, which is essential for living as the food supplies nutrients and energy our bodies need to stay healthy. If you lose your appetite, there must be some medical or psychological reason behind it. There is a direct link between your activity level and appetite; a lower level of activity can result in poor appetite. Your state of mind, such as a significant event in your life, can impact your appetite, too. For example, one might lose their sleep or appetite before an exciting event. Luckily, such a phenomenon is temporary, and your appetite returns to normal after a few days of the event’s completion. However, losing appetite for longer without any reason is a cause for concern.
Some of the common causes of temporary loss of appetite are indigestion and acid reflux, depression and anxiety, urine and chest infections, flu, common colds, HIV and TB(tuberculosis), gallstones, conditions affecting the gut, cancer, diabetes, etc. if there is apathy for food for an extended period there must be some serious health issues that need proper medical attention.
Here are some causes for losing the desire to eat, for which you should consult a doctor.
Malfunction of thyroid glands
The thyroid glands produce hormones that regulate the body’s development, growth, and metabolic rate. Since the thyroid glands regulate the metabolic rate, they are responsible for the amount of energy or calories that the body consumes. Since the body receives energy and nutrients from food, a malfunctioning thyroid can lead to a significant decrease in hunger or not having an appetite at all. The disinterest in food results from hypothyroidism, which means an underactive thyroid, and if the condition persists, it can adversely affect your health. Managing thyroid disorders should be a priority to maintain proper health, which is only possible by undergoing adequate treatment.
Not feeling hungry or developing apathy for food could be due to underlying gastrointestinal issues. When the gut does not function properly, the food moves sluggishly along the intestine, resulting in bloating and poor digestion. Gastrointestinal issues can manifest in many ways, but the most visible impact is loss of appetite, which can persist for a shorter period or become a chronic problem that affects overall health. The various conditions occurring from gastrointestinal problems include peptic ulcers, gastritis, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Peptic ulcers affect the digestive tract, causing reduced appetite and stomach pain. All such conditions are controllable with treatment and proper diagnosis unless these have some connection to some more significant health issues.
Some severe conditions like HIV and tuberculosis (TB), which are long-term infections, can adversely impact appetite. When someone suffers from these infections, the body’s immune response to counter these infections can stress the digestive system, which can start malfunctioning. During such times, losing appetite becomes inevitable. To restore normalcy in eating, proper treatment of the infections is necessary.
There is a direct link between overall well-being and mental health. An individual’s appetite may be significantly impacted by mental health issues. When someone is in a state of grief or suffers from anxiety or depression, it can considerably reduce the urge to eat. Stress and panic attacks also cause a reduction in appetite, which can go away on overcoming the mental condition. Reduced appetite is one of the significant physical symptoms of some problems with your mental health. Determining the root cause of mental stress is essential to cure the condition and restore appetite.
Indication of Cancer
Prolonged disinterest in food can be a severe issue if the cause remains unexplained, as it can happen in some types of cancers. Reduced interest in food can be a sign of cancer of the digestive system, such as pancreatic cancer or stomach cancer. Detecting cancer early through regular screenings can lead to successful recovery from the deadly disease and restoration of appetite.
Never take loss of appetite lightly if the condition persists for a long time. Delay in treating the condition could mean risking your life as some life-threatening disease might be behind the problem.