Appetite - increased
Increased appetite means you have an excess desire for food.
Hyperphagia; Increased appetite; Hunger; Excessive hunger; Polyphagia
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 may include:
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 health care provider if:
- You have an unexplained, persistent increase in appetite
- You have other unexplained symptoms
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your health care provider will do a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history. You also may have a psychological evaluation.
Questions may include:
- What are your typical eating habits?
- Have you begun dieting or do you have concerns about your weight?
- What medicines are you taking and have you recently changed the dose or started new ones? Do you use any illicit drugs?
- Do you get hungry during sleep? Is your hunger related to your menstrual cycle?
- Have you noticed any other symptoms such as anxiety, palpitations, increased thirst, vomiting, frequent urination, or unintentional weight gain?
Tests that may be done include:
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: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 8.
Clemmons DR. Approach to the patient with endocrine disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 228.
Jensen MD. Obesity. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 227.
Reviewed By: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, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency
or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional
should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911
for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they
do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.
Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.