Signs & Symptoms of Loss in Appetite

Loss of appetite is when you do not feel like you are hungry or you do not want to eat. You may not be physically able to eat if your stomach is upset and won't allow you to eat. Disease and illnesses can cause loss of appetite as well as medications that you take. There are physical, mental and emotional signs and symptoms associated with a decreased appetite.


Diseases and even minor illnesses that can cause a decreased appetite include cancer, hyperthyroidism, AIDS, eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, the flue, a fever or a headache. When you get sick your body can change quickly and even if you previously had a good appetite, the illness can take that away. When you are sick, you may not have the strength to eat or the desire.


There are prescription medications that are associated with loss of appetite. Cancer drugs, antibiotics, pain medications and even over the counter medications for the common cold can all affect your appetite. The Mayo Clinic says that health problems and medications can interfere with your sense of smell and taste or affect your chewing which can all contribute to decreased appetite.


All kinds of emotional feelings such as being bored, nervous, lonely or tense can cause loss in appetite because they can upset your stomach or cause you to lose the desire to eat. Stress often makes you feel sick in the stomach and can cause stomach problems that lead to decreased appetite. The National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health say that when elderly people are depressed loss of appetite can occur without other causes. Both kids and adults experience anxiety and worry. If they are not able to manage these emotions they may have a range of eating problems including a loss of appetite or more serious eating disorder.


In the first trimester of pregnancy it is normal for you to have a loss in appetite. You may experience nausea and your stomach is not up to receiving food. For some women, loss in appetite is a sign that they are pregnant. Later at the very end of the pregnancy women may also develop a decreased appetite because the body is getting ready for delivery.

Weight Loss

If you start to lose weight and you are not on a diet or have any medical conditions, it can be a sign that you are getting sick. You should see a doctor and evaluate your appetite. Long term loss in appetite can lead to malnutrition, where your body is not going to get necessary nutrients to stay healthy. Your body won't be able to function as it should and serious illness that could lead to death is possible.