Increased appetite means eating in relatively large quantities or eating more frequently. Increased appetite is medically known as hyperphagia or polyphagia. Having increased appetite once in a while is normal but if there is a drastic increase in appetite over a period of time, it can be arising from a medical reason that needs to be investigated and treated. In some cases, increased appetite may be an accompanying symptom with other symptoms depending on the cause. These include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, anxiety, depression, irritability, bloated abdomen, increased urination, increased thirst, weight loss/gain, stress, nervousness, and sweating.
Homeopathy can be very helpful for persons complaining of increased appetite. There are numerous medicines in homeopathy that can help a person control persistent excessive appetite which help to reduce hunger gradually. Homeopathic medicines for managing it are prepared from naturally occurring substances so are very safe to use without any side effects. It is advised to take any homeopathic medicine under the supervision of a homeopathic physician. In case of serious medical reasons behind increased appetite, like hypoglycaemia, homeopathy is not recommended as it is a medical emergency and if not treated properly, it can be fatal. In such a case, urgent help from conventional mode of treatment is required.
Homeopathic Medicines To Relieve Increased Appetite
1. Iodum – Top-grade Medicine
Iodum is one of the best medicines in homeopathy to manage cases of increased appetite. Persons who need it have a continued increase in appetite and they eat very frequently. If they do not eat, they feel anxious. They must eat every few hours and feel better after eating. They also eat too much during a meal with an insatiable hunger most of the time. A characteristic feature for using this medicine is a person loses weight inspite of eating in excess and too often. It is one of the major homeopathic medicines for managing hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland).
2. Cina – When Person Feels Hungry Soon After A Meal
It is the next best medicine for controlling increased appetite. It is a natural medicine prepared from the unexpanded flower heads of a plant Artemisia Maritima belonging to family compositae. It is indicated for persons who feel hungry soon after a meal. This may happen even a few minutes after a full meal. It is attended with a feeling of emptiness in stomach. They eat food in excess but do not gain weight.
3. Lycopodium – For Excessive Eating Followed By Abdomen Distension
This medicine is prepared from a plant Lycopodium Clavatum, commonly known as ‘club moss’. The use of this medicine is considered in persons who eat in excess which is followed by bloating of abdomen. They feel hungry even when their stomach feels full. The more they eat, the more the craving for food. If they do not eat anything at that particular time, they experience headache.
4. Bryonia – For Increased Appetite With Desire To Eat Often
This medicine is prepared from roots of the plant Bryonia Alba, commonly known as ‘white bryony’ and ‘wild hops’. It is beneficial in cases where appetite rises with a desire to eat often. There may be increased desire specifically for sweets and acidic food. Along with this, there is an increased thirst for cold water and the person drinks too much water at a time.
5. Sulphur – For Headache If Person Doesn’t Eat When Hungry
It is another prominent medicine for cases of excessive appetite when a person has the desire to eat frequently without which he gets a headache. Weakness, lack of energy and need to lie down may attend it. Desire to eat sweets may be particularly present in those needing sulphur.
6. Alumen – For Increased Appetite Inspite Of Full Stomach
This medicine is indicated when a person has an increased appetite inspite of fullness in the stomach. Sometimes there is heat in the stomach which is relieved by drinking cold water. There may be dryness in the mouth and the throat.
7. Phosphorus – For Increased Appetite At Night
Phosphorus is an important medicine for cases in which there is an increased appetite at night. Hunger pangs, nausea and anxiety may be felt. Other than this, it is also indicated when hunger is felt soon after eating. Persons who require it can have an increased urge for cold drinks, cold food, ice-creams and spicy food.
8. Natrum Mur – For Excessive Hunger With Depression
This medicine works well when there is excessive hunger along with depression. Weakness may also attend. Persons needing it have an increased craving to eat something, especially towards noon. Weakness and sleepiness may follow it. There may be excessive thirst for water along with a dry and sticky mouth. Sadness and weeping spells often accompany the above symptoms.
9. Asafoetida – For Increased Appetite With Pain In Upper Abdomen
It is a medicine helpful in cases with an excessive appetite along with pain in the upper abdomen. Persons who require it may have gas in the abdomen that pushes upward. Other than this, belching with garlic-like smell may attend it.
10. Magnesia Mur – For Increased Hunger Followed By Nausea
It is useful when there is excessive hunger followed by nausea. Person needing it has increased hunger but doesn’t know what he wants to eat.
11. Kali Phos – For Excessive Hunger In Case Of Depression
Use of this medicine is indicated when there is excessive hunger in case of depression. Persons needing it feel hungry soon after eating. They feel like eating almost every hour, and always feel tired and exhausted.
What Are The Causes Behind It?
It may simply occur once in a while from reasons like excessive physical activity (it increases calorie demand), inadequate sleep (it can affect appetite-regulating hormones), and stress (increases cortisol hormone that leads to increased hunger and craving for food). It may occur from dietary changes like eating food that is deficient in proteins and fats, as these nutrients make a person feel full and satiated. In children and adolescents, it is normal to have an increased appetite as calorie demand increases in the growing up years. It may also occur in persons who are in the recovery stage of any surgery because it increases calories requirement and in turn, causes increased appetite to fulfill that need.
However, if a person has been having a persistently increased appetite over a long period of time, then there can be some medical reasons behind it.
It firstly includes hyperthyroidism and Grave’s disease. Hyperthyroidism refers to a condition in which the thyroid gland produces hormone thyroxine in excess. It speeds up the body metabolism. It can cause an increased appetite, weight loss inspite of an increase in appetite, palpitations and irregular heartbeat. Other than these, it can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, nervousness, tremors, increased sensitivity to heat, sweating, diarrhea, fatigue, changes in the menstrual cycle, brittle hair, muscle weakness and an enlarged thyroid gland. Graves’ disease is an immune system disorder in which there is an increased production of thyroid hormones causing hyperthyroidism.
Second cause can be diabetes, frequent hunger is an important symptom of diabetes. It is attended with its other symptoms like increased thirst, increased urination, weakness and weight loss.
Next reason that may lead to it is bulimia nervosa. A person eats too much food at a time followed by self-induced vomiting or purging to get rid of consumed food, shed calories and prevent weight gain. The desire to eat is uncontrollable. Persons affected with this problem have a fear of gaining weight and the foremost thought in their mind is that they are fat. They may have depression and mood swings too. They can have weakness, gastric issues (like indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation and bloating), and tooth damage or staining of teeth from stomach acid that rises up while vomiting.
People afflicted with psychological conditions like depression and anxiety disorder can also exhibit a symptom of high appetite. Depression is a mood disorder in which a person feels persistently sad and loses interest in activities that he/she once enjoyed, which interferes with mental well-being and daily life.
In anxiety disorders, there is intense and persistent fear and worry about something.
It may also occur in case of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels).
Apart from these, females may have an increased appetite during pregnancy, breastfeeding or PMS (premenstrual syndrome) — a condition affecting a woman’s behaviour, emotions and physical health prior to the periods. It can cause increased appetite along with other signs and symptoms, like bloated abdomen, headache, acne, sadness, anxiety, irritability, depression, emotional outbursts, breast soreness, constipation or diarrhea.
Lastly, taking certain medicines like antidepressants, and corticosteroids may lead to increased hunger.