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Loss of appetite

Loss of appetite can be caused by a variety of conditions and diseases. Some of the conditions can be temporary and reversible, such as loss of appetite from the effects of medications. Some of the conditions can be more serious, such as from the effects of underlying cancer.

Loss of appetite may be associated with anorexia nervosa, abnormal taste and food aversion as well as other medical conditions.

In the case of any persistent lack of appetite, seek medical advice.

This list is not an exhaustive list, however the following conditions sometimes have side effects that include loss of appetite:

  • Actinomycosis, a rare type of bacterial infection
  • Addison disease, a hormonal (endocrine) disorder involving destruction of the adrenal glands
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Asthma in children
  • Binge eating disorders
  • Cancer, and the side effects of cancer treatments. Some people who have chemotherapy do not feel like eating or drinking and lose their appetite.
  • Coeliac disease
  • Hand, foot and mouth disease (coxsackie viruses)
  • Crohn's disease, affecting the ability to digest food along with symptoms of pain and diarrhoea.
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Depression affects the body as well as the mind and can affect the way a person eats.
  • Diabetes,
  • Dysentery may result in a person feeling nauseous and losing appetite.
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Endocarditis
  • Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease ( GORD)
  • Giardiasis
  • Glandular Fever
  • Hepatitis C
  • Kidney failure
  • Leptospirosis
  • Mumps
  • Pancreatitis
  • Radiotherapy as a treatment for cancer
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Stress
  • Tapeworm infections
  • Ulcer
  • Ulcerative colitis

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on November 30, 2012

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