Are You Dealing With Loss of Appetite?

You need to eat nutritious foods to stay healthy. Nutrients, vitamins, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates fuel your body, providing you with the energy you need to live. If you’ve ever experienced loss of appetite, you already know how it can affect your body.

Some of the signs and symptoms of appetite loss include:

  • Losing interest in foods
  • Not enjoying your favorite foods
  • Frequently skipping meals
  • Weight fluctuations and weight loss

When you lose your appetite, you may also experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Low energy levels
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pains
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Changes to your hair, skin, or nails

There are many reasons why you might experience a loss of appetite. Some of these reasons include:

  • Underlying medical conditions including Crohn’s disease, cancer, and diabetes
  • Side effects of medications you are taking, including antibiotics, amphetamines, chemotherapy, fluoxetine, and opioids
  • Emotional and mental health difficulties including anxiety, an eating disorder, depression, and stress
  • Physical changes your body is experiencing including recovery from a surgical procedure

Your gastroenterologist will begin treatment for appetite loss by ordering laboratory testing and imaging studies to determine the cause of your appetite loss. Depending on the cause of your appetite loss, your gastroenterologist may recommend:

  • Dietary modifications including eating small meals throughout the day
  • Referral to a dietician for development of an eating plan
  • Medications to stimulate your appetite, including corticosteroids and others
  • Medication adjustment if your appetite loss is caused by a medication you are taking
  • IV nutrient, vitamin, and mineral solutions to compensate for decreased food intake
  • Oral vitamin, nutrient, and mineral supplementation
  • Referral to a mental health specialist for help with an eating disorder

You can do a lot at home to help minimize appetite loss. Remember to:

  • Eat regular, small meals, even if you are not hungry
  • Consume liquid meals to help maintain nutrient levels
  • Eat bland foods to prevent irritation of your stomach

Appetite loss can dramatically affect the health of your body and your mind. Your gastroenterologist can help with appetite loss. To learn more about the causes and treatment of appetite loss, talk with your gastroenterologist today.

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