Why do you experience loss of appetite and weight loss?

You may experience loss of appetite and weight loss due to many factors—including psychological.

It could be a temporary issue if you’re suffering from an infection or digestive issue, and your appetite may return once you have recovered.

Some people also experience appetite and weight loss due to long-term medical conditions like cancer, which physicians refer to as cachexia.

Anorexia is another medical condition where a person experiences a complete loss of appetite over an extended period. This condition should not be confused with anorexia nervosa—a psychological disorder.

Loss of appetite and weight loss may also be caused by acid reflux, constipation, food intolerances and hormonal imbalances.

As with any medical condition, identifying the right causes can go a long way in helping the individual recover.

Symptoms that could cause loss of appetite

While a loss in appetite could be a symptom of certain medical conditions, it’s also important to consider that it could be an indirect side effect of other symptoms. Getting the right medical advice can help you distinguish between the two and help expedite the recovery process.

Here are some common symptoms that cause your lose your appetite:

  • Loss of taste and smell

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

Symptoms that could cause loss of appetite

Getting the right treatment

Treatment for any condition depends on the cause. If the loss of appetite is caused by a bacterial or viral infection, you might not require specific treatments, as your appetite may return once your body is free of infection.

Meanwhile, you may be able to manage the symptom by following certain home remedies, including: 

  • Eating several small meals throughout the day

  • Engaging in some light exercise

  • Consuming high calorie and protein-rich food

If your symptoms don’t subside in a few days and you aren't sure about the cause, you must seek medical attention.

What you can expect at your appointment

Your physician may inquire about your medical history and ask further questions, such as:

  • When did the symptoms start to appear?

  • Have the symptoms been mild or severe?

  • How much weight have you lost?

  • Are you experiencing any other symptoms?

Based on your answers, they may request you to undergo some medical tests, which can include:

  • A complete blood count

  • An ultrasound of your abdomen

  • X-rays of your stomach, small intestine, and oesophagus

Depending on the diagnosis, you may be prescribed medication to stimulate your appetite or the physician may decide to take a different course of treatment.

Risks of leaving the symptoms untreated

Left untreated, loss of appetite and weight loss could lead to more severe symptoms, such as:

  • Elevated heart rate

  • Fever

  • Malaise

  • Extreme fatigue

Therefore, consulting a specialist is the best course of action you can take if you're experiencing unexplained loss of appetite and weight loss.

symptoms untreated

Meet Dr Suhirdan Vivekanandarajah  

Interventional Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist

Bsc (Med) | M.B.B.S. (Hons) | FRACP

Consult a gastrointestinal specialist

Dr Suhirdan's services are only available to patients in Australia.

Dr Suhirdan Vivekanandarajah is a Sydney-based gastroenterologist and hepatologist. His extensive training has enabled him to help his patients work towards better digestive health.


To find out how you can improve your digestive health, schedule a consultation with him today.