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Alternative Names Return to topHyperphagia; Increased appetite; Hunger; Excessive hunger; Polyphagia
Definition Return to top
Increased appetite means you have an excess desire for food.
Considerations Return to top
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.
Causes Return to top
Causes of increased appetite include:
Home Care Return to top
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.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Contact your health care provider if:
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
Your health care provider will perform a physical exam. During the physical examination, the health care provider will probably weigh you. You also may have a psychological evaluation
The doctor will ask you questions about your medical history, with emphasis on your eating habits. Questions may include:
Tests that may be done includee:
References Return to top
Jensen MD. Obesity. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 239.
Saper CB. Autonomic disorders and their management. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 445.Update Date: 11/16/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.