Loss of appetite


Loss of appetite or inappetence means that the desire to eat is not present. If this lasts for several days, one speaks of anorexia. Almost everyone knows the feeling of lack of appetite.

If this lasts only for a short time, it is often a sign of tension or an infection in the body. But serious illnesses can also lead to loss of appetite. The appetite is influenced by various factors.

Unlike hunger, it is a psychological signal and not a physical one. Many hormones and other messenger substances are responsible in the brain for the development of hunger and appetite. At the sight of tasty food or the smell of it, they signal the body the signal “appetite”. As a result, our mouths start to water. Appetite can also be present when there is no physical need for food, i.e. no hunger.


Many different causes can lead to loss of appetite. Often psychological problems or stress are at the root of it. Loss of appetite often occurs in the context of depression.

Migraine attacks can also lead to this. Especially older people often suffer from loss of appetite. This is due to the fact that sensory impressions, such as tasting and smelling, decrease with age and thus the desire to eat diminishes.

Loneliness, as a psychological stress factor, can also lead to loss of appetite. This can be dangerous if you do not make sure that you still eat enough food. In addition, there are many physical causes associated with loss of appetite.

Gastrointestinal diseases are a common reason for this. A common gastrointestinal infection or food poisoning is often the trigger. However, inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis) or peptic ulcers (ulcer) of the gastrointestinal tract can also lead to inappetence, as can chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Even if other organs of the abdominal cavity are diseased, this can cause a loss of appetite. Diseases of the liver, kidney, inflammation of the gall bladder or pancreas and appendicitis are among them. In addition to gastrointestinal diseases, many other diseases can also lead to loss of appetite.

A flu-like infection is often accompanied by a loss of appetite, as the general feeling of well-being is severely restricted. In the case of tonsillitis or other inflammations of the mouth and throat, the patient usually does not feel any appetite either, as eating is associated with pain. Almost any infection of the body can, but need not, lead to loss of appetite.

Children are mainly triggered by childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella or chickenpox. Heart failure and other diseases of the heart can also be associated with loss of appetite. Another complex of causes is the metabolic disorders that can cause inappetence.

Diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypofunction of the pituitary or thyroid gland or hyperthyroidism are among the possible causes. Food intolerances can also be the cause of inappetence. In addition, appetite can also be affected by external influences, such as drug or alcohol addiction or the regular intake of medication.

Chemotherapy in particular often reduces the appetite. All in all, it can be said that any illness, especially if it has a chronic course or is accompanied by chronic pain, can reduce appetite due to the heavy psychological strain. If the loss of appetite is accompanied by a high weight loss, if the affected person also has fever and night sweats, this can be an indication of a malignant disease and a doctor should be consulted.

Inappetence can also occur during pregnancy. In this case, however, it mainly affects certain foods or dishes. The thyroid gland produces hormones that are essentially responsible for regulating metabolic processes in the human body.

They influence the supply of energy. If the thyroid gland is hypothyroid, this regulatory mechanism no longer functions properly and physical symptoms of hypothyroidism occur, which manifest themselves mainly in weakness and fatigue. The heart rate and blood pressure are also lowered.

Loss of appetite and freezing are also among the symptoms. If a persistent loss of appetite occurs in connection with any of these symptoms, a doctor should be consulted and the function of the thyroid gland checked. Causes of hypothyroidism can be autoimmune diseases or iodine deficiency. An acute inflammation of the thyroid gland can also show loss of appetite as a possible symptom.