Loss of Appetite

The impact of appetite loss

A lack of appetite is a major challenge when you have inflammation because you need more calories to fight the disease. This means you need to eat more when you are having a flare, even though you might not feel like it. 

If you do not eat enough calories, you can lose weight and become malnourished.

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Causes of appetite loss

The main reasons you might lose your appetite are symptoms of IBD such as nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. Mouth ulcers can stop you from wanting to eat, and fatigue can stop you from wanting to prepare healthy meals.

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Strategies to improve appetite

If you notice a loss in appetite, make sure to tell your IBD team. Your gastroenterologist can treat any inflammation, which could relieve symptoms and help increase your appetite. Your dietitian can help make sure you are taking in all the nutrients you need. The dietitian will take a look at your diet and consider any dietary restrictions and foods you can tolerate.

Here are some other tips for managing appetite loss:
  • Eat smaller meals more frequently. This helps keep your energy up by keeping your glucose level constant. Smaller meals are also less likely to cause bloating.

  • Eat healthy, nutritious food that you enjoy, if you can tolerate them. It helps if they are foods you actually like eating.

  • If very hot or cold foods bring on nausea, try eating the food at a different temperature. Choose a temperature that suits you best.

  • Drink lots of fluids throughout the day.

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