Appetite – increased; Hyperphagia; Increased appetite; Hunger; Excessive hunger; Polyphagia
What is excessive hunger or polyphagia?
Excessive hunger or polyphagia is a condition, characterized by increased appetite and excessive food intake. It is a common symptom in many medical and psychiatric conditions., as well as a side effect of certain medications. People with polyphagia have an increased appetite, they often eat more, than usual, or eat more often, than usual. Eating a lot of food does not necessarily mean, that someone is overeating, because there are medical conditions, which can make people feel very hungry.
Causes of polyphagia
The most common causes of polyphagia are medical disorders and medications..
Hyperthyroidism, diabetes, Prader-Willi syndrome and Cushing's disease are some of the diseases, which can lead to polyphagia.
Medicines, such as steroids, neuroleptics and antidepressants, can also cause excessive hunger.
Other potential causes of polyphagia include pregnancy, mental disorders, such as depression or anxiety, as well as substance abuse.
Symptoms of polyphagia
The main symptom of polyphagia is increased appetite., which can lead to overeating. People with polyphagia often eat more food, than usual, and may feel hungry even after a full meal.
Other symptoms of polyphagia include weight gain, fatigue and sleep problems. People may also experience changes in mood, such as feeling irritable or restless, and may have difficulty concentrating.
Diagnosis of polyphagia
If you experience any symptoms of polyphagia, it's important to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will take a detailed medical history and perform a physical examination. He may also order lab tests to check for underlying medical conditions or medications., which can make you feel extremely hungry.
Treatment of polyphagia
Treatment for polyphagia depends on the underlying cause. If the cause is a disease, such as diabetes, treatment will focus on managing the disease. If the cause is the cure, your doctor may adjust your dosage or switch you to another medication. If the reason is psychiatric, your doctor may recommend therapy or medications, to help manage your symptoms.
In addition to treating the underlying cause, it is important to manage your diet. Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day can help you feel full for a longer period of time.. Your doctor may also recommend avoiding foods high in sugar., fat and salt.
Prevention of polyphagia
There is no reliable way to prevent polyphagia, but there are steps, you can take, to reduce the risk.
Eating a balanced diet and avoiding foods high in sugar, fat and salt can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of disease, which can lead to polyphagia.
Regular exercise can also help control appetite and provide other health benefits..
If you are taking medicines, which can cause polyphagia, be sure to follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Finally, if you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, seek professional help as soon as possible.
Used sources and literature
Clemmons DR, Niema LK. Approach to the patient with endocrine disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 208.
Jensen MD. Obesity. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 207.
Katzman DK, Norris ML. Feeding and eating disorders. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Schlesinger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 9.