Appetite - increased

Definition

Increased appetite means you have an excess desire for food.

Alternative Names

Hyperphagia; Increased appetite; Hunger; Excessive hunger; Polyphagia

Considerations

An increased appetite can be a symptom of different diseases. For example, it may be due to a mental condition or a problem with the endocrine gland.

An increased appetite can come and go (intermittent), or it can last for long periods of time (persistent). This will depend on the cause. It does not always result in weight gain.

The terms "hyperphagia" and "polyphagia" refer to someone who is focused only on eating, or who eats a large amount before feeling full.

Causes

Causes may include:

Home Care

Emotional support is recommended. Counseling may be needed in some cases.

If a medicine is causing increased appetite and weight gain, your health care provider may decrease your dose or have you try another drug. Do not stop taking your medicine without talking to your provider.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Contact your provider if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your provider will do a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history. You also may have a psychological evaluation.

Questions may include:

Tests that may be done include:

References

Clemmons DR, Neiman LK. Approach to the patient with endocrine disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 221.

Jensen MD. Obesity. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 220.

Katzman DK, Kearney SA, Becker AE. Feeding and eating disorders. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 9.


Review Date: 12/10/2016
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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