Navigate Up

Seniors Center - A-Z Index

#
Q
Y
Z

Print This Page

Appetite - increased

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 certain mental conditions and endocrine gland disorders.

An increased appetite can come and go (intermittent), or it can last for long periods of time (persistent), depending 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 excessively before feeling full.

Common Causes

Causes of increased appetite include:

Home Care

Emotional support, and in some cases counseling, are recommended.

If a medication is causing increased appetite and weight gain, your health care provider may decrease your dosage or recommend a different drug. Never stop taking your medication without first talking to your health care provider.

Call your health care provider if

Contact your health care provider if:

  • You have an unexplained, persistent increase in appetite
  • You have other unexplained symptoms

What to expect at your health care provider's office

Your health care provider will exam you, weigh you, and ask questions about your medical history. exam. You also may have a psychological evaluation.

Questions may include:

  • Eating habits
    • Have you changed your eating habits?
    • Have you begun dieting?
    • Do you have concerns about your weight?
    • What do you eat in a typical day?
    • How much do you eat?
  • Medication
    • What medications are you taking?
    • Are you taking any new medications, or have you changed the dose of your medications?
    • Do you use any illicit drugs? If so, which ones?
  • Time pattern
    • Does the hunger occur during the sleep period?
    • Does the hunger seem to occur in a pattern related to your menstrual cycle?
  • Other
    • What other symptoms are you having at the same time?
    • Have you noticed an increase in anxiety?
    • Do you frequently urinate ?
    • Do you have an increased heart rate?
    • Do you have palpitations ?
    • Do you feel more thirsty ?
    • Have you had an unintentional weight gain?
    • Do you experience intentional or unintentional vomiting ?

Tests that may be done include:

References

Jensen MD. Obesity. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 227.

Clemmons DR. Approach to the patient with endocrine disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 228.

Becker AE, Baker CW. Eating disorders. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2010:chap 8.

Updated: 10/14/2012

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com