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A lack of appetite may not be as acutely painful as some other conditions, but it still represents a danger to a person’s health and an obstacle to proper weight management. We’re all so used to letting our stomachs tell us that it’s time for a meal that to not have this system operating normally makes it very easy to simply not eat, either because the person forgets or because they just don’t feel the need. However, even if not feeling hungry seems like a minor issue, it’s still important to figure out what to do if you have no appetite. For some tips, suggestions, and strategies, keep reading as the people at ENU offer their insight.
Reasons Why You Might Have No Appetite
Although our bodies are programmed to let us know when we need more energy and nutrients, there are a number of reasons why that might not happen in either the short or long term. Some of these causes are serious while others are fairly trivial, but whatever the reason you have no appetite, figuring out how to tackle the problem could depend on first understanding why it’s happening. The following are some of the most common reasons why a person might not have an appetite.
Minor Reasons for Appetite Loss
Just because you don’t often feel hungry doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something wrong with you; for instance, pregnancy is often a cause of appetite loss in women, and those of any gender might lose their appetite as they age. And even when there is a problem, it might be minor and eventually resolve on its own. This includes the following common illnesses that could leave you with no appetite:
- The common cold
- The flu
- Acid reflux
- A stomach bug
- An upset stomach
- Food poisoning
- An allergy or intolerance to certain foods
- A bacterial or viral infection
- The side effect of a medication, such as an antibiotic or sedative
Serious Reasons for Having No Appetite
In addition to the list of minor reasons for appetite loss outlined above, there are some more severe causes for this phenomenon, many of which demand immediate medical attention. The following are some of the more serious reasons why you might have no appetite:
- Chronic kidney or liver disease
- Certain cancers, including those of the stomach or colon
- Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy
- HIV or AIDS
- Endocrine disorders, such as diabetes or an overactive or underactive thyroid
- Chronic digestive issues, such as Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Mental illness, especially depression, anxiety, or a panic disorder
How to Deal with Having No Appetite
Ultimately, your strategy for handling your loss of appetite should be tailored to the cause of your condition, which you can determine in consultation with your doctor. Once you’ve nailed down the reason for your lack of hunger, there are typically two main methods of dealing with it: medical intervention and lifestyle changes.
Medical Intervention When You Have No Appetite
This method is typically most helpful for those whose problem stems from an underlying condition, such as depression or an infection. In these cases, applying a targeted treatment can be effective for restoring appetite; for example, a person with depression might start feeling hungry again after beginning therapy or taking antidepressants, while a person with a respiratory infection could see improvements after starting a course of antibiotics.
If your condition is a side effect of a medication, your doctor may be able to adjust the dose of your prescription or switch you to a different drug. For some, the medication in question is necessary and can’t be adjusted, in which case additional medications might be incorporated to stimulate the person’s appetite. Those undergoing chemotherapy, for instance, can’t typically stop their treatments, which is why they often need nutritional support for cancer patients.
Lifestyle Changes When You Have No Appetite
While the medical intervention path relies on your doctor’s decisions, there are some changes you can make on your own at home. One of the most helpful strategies for many people is changing your eating schedule; rather than trying to force down two or three large meals each day, divide each day’s portions into five or six smaller meals. It’s still important to have healthy amounts of calories and nutrients in total, but these smaller meals can be easier on your stomach, and they give you more flexibility to eat when hunger strikes, rather than at set times of the day.
If you find that you still aren’t enjoying your meals, try adding flavor enhancers to your food, such as various herbs, spices, condiments, and anything else you might like. When it’s an option, consider dining with friends or family, too. Both options can encourage you to eat more by making the experience more pleasant.
Another great suggestion for getting proper nutrition when you have no appetite is turning to liquid meals, especially in concert with small, solid meals. This could mean coming up with some homemade protein shake recipes, or it could involve integrating a meal replacement shake into your diet. Either can provide the resources your body needs in more palatable forms, allowing you to increase your calorie and nutrient consumption in a more comfortable way.
Balanced Nutritional Shakes and Supplements for When You Have No Appetite
Whether you recently started noticing that you have no appetite or have struggled with this problem for a while, it’s important to know that help is available. The experts at ENU are proud to offer balanced meal replacement shakes and powdered nutritional supplements carefully formulated to provide a well-rounded mix of those vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients essential to a healthy body. To learn more about how our products can help you tackle your problems with appetite, visit us online or call (855) 266-6733 today.