Increased appetite: Causes and treatment

Increased appetite: Causes and treatment

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If you want to eat more often or in larger quantities than you’re used to, your appetite has increased. If you eat more than your body requires, it leads to weight gain.

It’s normal to have an increased appetite after physical exertion or some other activities. But if your appetite is significantly increased over a prolonged period of time, it could be a symptom of a serious illness, such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

Mental health conditions, such as depression and stress, can also lead to appetite changes and overeating.

Causes of increased appetite

You may have an increased appetite after engaging in sports or other exercise. If it persists, it might be a symptom of an underlying health condition or other issue. For example, increased appetite can result from:

  • stress
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • premenstrual syndrome, or the physical and emotional symptoms that precede menstruation
  • reactions to certain medications, such as corticosteroids, cyproheptadine, and tricyclic antidepressants
  • pregnancy
  • bulimia, an eating disorder in which you binge eat and then induce vomiting or use laxatives to avoid gaining weight
  • hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid gland
  • Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease in which your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormones
  • hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar
  • diabetes, a chronic condition in which your body has trouble regulating blood sugar levels

Treating the cause of your increased appetite

Don’t attempt to treat changes in your appetite using over-the-counter appetite suppressants without talking to your doctor first. Their recommended treatment plan will depend on the cause of your increased appetite.

If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor or dietitian can help you learn how to control your blood sugar levels. They can also instruct you how to recognize the early warning signs of low blood sugar, and how to take steps to correct the problem quickly.

If your appetite problems are caused by medications, your doctor may recommend alternative drugs or adjust your dosage.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend psychological counseling. For example, an eating disorder, depression, or other mental health conditions usually include psychological counseling as part of the treatment

Advocates of acupuncture for weight loss believe that acupuncture can stimulate the body’s energy flow (chi) to impact factors that can reverse obesity such as:

  • increasing metabolism
  • reducing appetite
  • lowering stress
  • affecting the part of the brain that feels hunger

The ear is another area that acupuncture practitioners target for weight loss. It’s believed that food cravings can be controlled by manipulating points on the ear.

Leptin and ghrelin are the hunger hormones in the body; ghrelin tells the body that it is hungry, while leptin tells the body that it is full. [2] [3] Acupuncture can modulate the levels of these hormones to reduce appetite and curb overeating and snacking habits.

Acupuncture is able to induce the release of endorphins in the body, which are feel-good hormones that can reduce stress and anxiety. Many people overeat when they have high levels of stress hormones or are feeling overwhelmed. Acupuncture can help to eliminate those urges.


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