Sudden Loss of Appetite and Weight Loss

While many of us wish that we could shift some weight, and wouldn’t see a loss of appetite as necessarily an entirely bad turn of affairs, it is nevertheless a cause for concern if this loss of appetite and weight loss come on suddenly and without any obvious trigger – as this could be the sign of a medical or psychological condition.

Following are some reasons for a sudden loss of appetite and accompanying weight loss. If you suspect that any of these are responsible for your symptoms, then you should get yourself checked out by a medical expert.

Psychological Causes


Depression is a common cause for a loss of appetite and weight loss, and other symptoms are of course a low mood, feelings of worthless, low energy, lack of interest and low libido. If you suspect that you are suffering from depression then you should see a therapist who can help talk you through your problems, teach you useful strategies for combating the feelings and thoughts leading to depression, and potentially prescribe medication. Depression can also be caused by an event such as the loss of a loved one, and in this case it should pass after a time.


Anorexia is characterized by a sudden lack of desire to eat. This is not always caused by a lack of body image or a desire to lose weight, but can sometimes be a more complex physical manifestation of psychological and emotional problems. Anorexia can cause severe damage to your internal organs, so if you are suffering from this condition you should get help in overcoming it.


Anxiety and stress can both result in a lack of appetite, as well as in a state of heightened excitability which will result in your body burning more calories.

Medical Conditions


Sometimes a flu or the common cold can cause you to have a lack of appetite resulting in weight loss. This may be further compounded by a sore throat which makes it difficult to swallow, and by a reduced sense of taste that can leave foods tasting ‘samey’ and even unpleasant. Likewise other conditions that cause a sore throat such as tonsillitis may also result in a reduced appetite. Try eating soft foods such as yoghurt or ice cream.

Viral Gastroenteritis

Viral gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining caused by infection. This results in stomach ache and may cause vomiting after eating. Gastritis is a similar condition that can also cause weight loss and lack of appetite.


Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by common diarrhea and stomach pains, and may be related to stress.


Parasites in the stomach can prevent you from getting the nutrients from your food while making you feel full. Conditions such as roundworm can cause this as well as a range of other health problems.

Colon or Stomach Cancer

One of the major concerns for those facing sudden lack of appetite and weight loss is that a serious condition such as cancer might be involved. While colon cancer is a relatively unlikely explanation, it can sometimes be responsible which is why it’s important to get the problem checked by a medical professional if the problem persists. Kidney and liver disease may also be responsible.

Zinc Deficiency

A zinc deficiency can also cause lack of appetite, and this can be handled with supplementation or changes in diet.


Hyperthyroidism is a hormonal disorder that is caused by a malfunction of the thyroid gland. This results in an overactive metabolism which burns fat and which leaves you with less appetite. This can be treated with medications.


In some cases loss of appetite can be a side effect of drugs and these can include medications taken for health reasons, as well as recreational drugs.

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