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poor appetite, Have you ever know that the 3 reasons behind this symptom? Click here

No matter how appetizing food looks and smells, sometimes you just don’t fancy it. When you lose your appetite like that the only way to eat is to force yourself.

Various factors that affect our mood can put us off our food but if left untreated, so the body becomes malnourished and weakens, it can become a health issue.

The three main causes of losingappetite are: physical health problems, mental health problems and side effects of drug use.

Loss of appetite symptoms

Those who lose their appetite don’t even want to eat the foods they like. This leads to losing weight. It also affects their mental and physical health, including depression, tiredness, lack of motivation to do things they like, having less energy to do anything, insomnia, constipation, nausea, abnormally fast or slow heartbeat, fever, and hypothermia.

Loss of appetite causes

1.        Physical health problems – Loss of appetite due to health problems is usually caused by bacterial and viral infections with cold symptoms such as coughing, fatigue and sneezing. Those suffering from dementia, heart problems, chronic liver failure, chronic renal failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hepatitis, HIV, and hypothyroidism as well as pregnant women in the first trimester, may also experience loss of appetite.

Another group that often experiences loss of appetite is cancer patients, including colon cancer, ovarian cancer, stomach cancer and pancreatic cancer. This is because in all cancer cases, the body produces Interleukin 1B and Leptin. Interleukin 1B is a neurotransmitter that acts on the Vagus nerve, the 10th pair of nerves that transmit sensationto the brain stem and hypothalamus which is involved in appetite control.


In addition, Leptin, a hormone produced by adipocyte cells and transported through the blood brain barrier, gives rise to feelings of fullness.

2.        Mental health problems Those feeling stress, depression, extreme sadness, boredom and anxiety can also feel like they don't want to eat as usual. Also included are those with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa who have a habit of eating less to control their weight to the point that they become underweight while still being constantly anxious that their weight is actually increasing. If left untreated, the patient will become malnourished and fall sick.

3.        Side effects from drug use Medications that decrease appetite include antibiotics, chemotherapy for cancer, codeine and morphine.


When does loss of appetite get so serious that you need to see a doctor?

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention:

-          Nausea and inability to eat for several days

-          Rapid weight loss for unknown reasons. Clinically significant weight loss is defined as loss of 5% or more of body weight in one month, or more than 10% in three months. So if someone weighs 50 kg and loses more than 2.5 kg in a month or more than 5 kg in 3 months, such weight loss is deemed significant.

-          No defecation and urination for 2 or more consecutive days

-          Low urine output with strong odor and dark color

-          Vomiting over 24 hours or more

-          Unable to drink water or swallow liquids

-          Severe abdominal pain

-          Lack of menstruation


How to treat loss of appetite

Treatments for loss of appetite are classified according to its causes, as follows:

1.        Loss of appetite from physical health problems – Those who have been exposed to bacteria or a virus will improve on their own once the symptoms are treated. If a patient is malnourished and has low levels of minerals in their body, saline or nutrients will be administered through a vein. Treating loss of appetite in cancer patients and those suffering from chronic diseases is difficult. However, it is possible to create an environment that stimulates them to eat more. Suggestions include:

·         Dining with friends and family – This will create a happy atmosphere so the patient enjoys eating.

·         Eat one large meal – Don’t force them to eat but offer snacks or fruits during the day.

·         Divide the daily diet into small meals – Say 5-6 separate meals spaced throughout the day.

·         Eat enough protein

·         Drink enough water

·         Do light exercise for an hour after meals to stimulate the digestive juices

2.        Loss of appetite from mental health problems – Consult a psychiatrist.

3.        Side effects from drug use – Consult a doctor for a change of medication but don’t decide to change or change the dose by yourself.

Loss of appetite will disappear when the root cause is addressed. So always take care of your body and mind as that will ensure that you’re in the right mood to enjoy your favorite foods.

Krungthai-AXA life insurance customers can check basic symptoms or consult a doctor online via the Emma by AXA application. Just press “TeleHealth” and confirm your policy number when you use it for the first time. For more information, please visit:


·         Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University

·         Pobpad website

·         Medical News Today


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