There are many common causes of a loss of appetite whether it is only temporary or ongoing. In most cases, a loss of appetite is as a result of a minor illness and normal eating habits resume soon after the illness has subsided. It is only if the illness is more serious and the loss of appetite continues when it is essential that you visit your doctor for advice and treatment, if necessary.
Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, are closely linked and are one of the common causes of a loss of appetite. This complaint causes a person to drastically reduce their food intake, often to the point of starvation. This results in drastic weight loss. In many cases, it is the result of an obsession with gaining weight, thinking that the smallest amount of food will make the person gain weight rapidly. Although the person may be really thin, they convince themselves that they are fat.
Stomach flu or, as it is medically known, viral gastroenteritis is also one of the common causes of a loss of appetite. The virus attacks the stomach and intestines resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. Adults and children can become victims of this complaint which often causes weight loss. There are a number of viruses that can cause this, the most common being Astrovirus. Two other viruses which are found mainly in children are Norovirus and Rotavirus.
We all suffer from stress at some stage and it can affect our eating habits. Often it can be difficult to think about food when suffering from anxiety, frustration and irritability. So the result is a loss of appetite and the inevitable weight loss occurs.
Depression affects many people and the responses to the complaint vary dramatically. Some overeat, some fight it off quickly, others suffer severe mood swings and suffer from more critical stages of depression and, in some cases, many reject food altogether as a result of their depressed state.
The influenza virus causes flu which is also known as one of the common causes of a loss of appetite. This virus causes an infection to the lungs, nose and throat and causes a feeling of weakness and frailty. As well as weight loss, the symptoms can include fever, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, stuffy nose and fatigue.
Another common cause of a loss of appetite is a bacterial throat infection known as Streptococcus from Group A, referred to as strep throat. This is highly contagious and generally occurs during the fall, winter or early spring. The symptoms result in difficulty swallowing, nausea, swollen lymph nodes in the neck area and congested nasal passages.