The most common reason for not feeling hungry is usually anxiety. Anxiety can cause you to lose interest in food, not feel hungry, and also feel nauseated at the thought of food. Even after being anxious, some people may feel like nibbling on something to distract themselves or ease their anxiety. However, many people end up losing their appetite completely when they are anxious. Others signs and symptoms that indicate that anxiety is the reason behind your loss of appetite include:
- Constant worry
- Feelings of unease
- Being irritable
- Feeling on edge
- Feeling overly tearful
- Finding it difficult to concentrate
You may also notice that you start breathing faster, having a pounding heartbeat, and experience palpitations. You may also feel faint or experience butterflies in your stomach.
If you can relate with any of these signs and symptoms, then there is a high chance that the reason you are not feeling hungry is due to anxiety. You can get help for anxiety or any panic disorders by consulting a trained medical professional. Breathing exercises for alleviating stress and exercises to reduce anxiety will also help.
People who are clinically depressed also frequently experience a loss of appetite. In such cases, a loss of appetite may also be accompanied by feelings of sadness, guilt, despair, low self-esteem, and irritability. You are also likely to feel anxious and tired at all times, and may even have suicidal thoughts. It has also been observed that apart from losing interest in eating, you may also lose interest in doing activities you used to enjoy normally.
Besides getting professional help to deal with clinical depression with therapy or medications, exercise can also help lift your mood and at the same time calm your anxiety, making you more likely to want to eat. Physical activity is also known to help boost your appetite since the body will feel the requirement to replenish the lost calories.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is an intestinal condition that causes pain in the stomach, diarrhea or constipation, making you feel bloated or gassy, and also makes you lose your appetite. IBS also beings about a change in your regular bowel movements. Due to the feeling of fullness, a buildup of gas, and an increase in flatulence, all triggered by IBS, you are likely to lose interest in eating. However, you will notice that your symptoms and pain will all ease up a little after each bowel movement.
You can get relief from IBS and loss of appetite caused by IBS by changing your lifestyle. Exercise and a good night’s sleep will help your symptoms. Also cut out any stimulants such as colas, coffee, or tea, from your diet as these will only stimulate your intestines further. Try having smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day and increase your intake of fiber. All these changes will help you get back your appetite slowly.
Oral Thrush or Candidiasis
Oral thrush or candidiasis is a fungal infection of the mouth that can cause you to lose your appetite due to the pain and other symptoms caused by the infection. You are also likely to lose any sense of taste or keep feeling an odd taste in your mouth. All these symptoms make eating a very unpleasant experience. Furthermore, the cracks that appear in the mouth due to the infection, as well as a burning sensation in the mouth, will make it very painful for you to chew your food, another reason why many people end up not having food when they have oral thrush.
One of the most common symptoms of candidiasis are the white plaque patches that form on the inner surface of your mouth. While these plaques can be wiped away, upon wiping, they reveal red sore patches underneath. These red sore patches will start to bleed if you keep wiping away at them.
If you experience anything like this that is preventing you from eating food, then make sure to consult a doctor as the fungal infection won’t just clear away on its own. In fact, it is also likely to spread to other parts of your body, proving to be dangerous. This is why you should always practice good oral hygiene and always rinse your mouth properly after having meals. Flossing, brushing two times a day, and being regular in your dental check-ups will make sure that you have good oral health.
Anorexia is an eating disorder that is typically characterized by a loss of appetite. You are also likely to experience weight loss and would be unable to maintain the right weight for your age and height. This is because people suffering from anorexia have a deep-rooted fear of becoming fat, even though you might actually be underweight or just the right weight.
Exercising too much, limiting your food intake, using laxatives, purging your body and inducing vomiting, and highly restricting your calorie intake, are some of the common symptoms of anorexia.
Interpersonal therapy, cognitive analytic therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, family interventions, or focal psychodynamic therapy, are just some of the commonly followed treatments for anorexia. Additionally, doctors also help you to regain the weight you have lost and brought your weight back to a healthy level by slowly increasing the food you consume. The ultimate goal of anorexia treatment is to firmly establish a regular eating pattern once again by putting you on three meals a day pattern. In some severe cases of anorexia, medication might also be required.
Some of the other common reasons for not feeling hungry could include:
- B12 or iron deficiency
- Cancer and the side effects of cancer treatments
- Liver problems and jaundice
- Side effects of taking certain medications such as morphine, codeine, muscle relaxants, antifungals, chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, and diuretics
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Heart failure
- High levels of stress (physical or mental stress)
- Certain types of viral infections such as hepatitis A, B, or C
There are many reasons as to why you may not be feeling hungry. These could be minor causes such as the common cold or the flu or even a headache, but a prolonged loss of appetite could also be indicative of the fact that you have an underlying medical condition that needs to be treated. If you still don’t feel hungry after one or two weeks, or after getting better from the cold or flu, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor to rule out any serious medical condition.