Dealing With Excessive Hunger

Unlike some other disorders, defining excessive hunger can be subjective. While the problem of excessive hunger does exist, we don't usually consider it to be a medical issue when we are very hungry simply because we haven't eaten for a longer than normal period. Some individuals, who we might think of as suffering from symptoms of excessive hunger, since they eat a great deal more than we do, simply have larger appetites, and in fact nothing is really wrong with them.

Many of us have experienced what may seem to be excessive hunger during our preteen and teen years when we were undergoing periods of rapid growth. A pregnant woman will begin eating enough to feed two people, which she is actually doing. Eating habits during periods of rapid growth or pregnancy can't really be said to be due to excessive hunger, at least not as it is medically defined.

Usually A Symptom, Not A Disease - Excessive hunger is inappropriate hunger. If one has been eating normally in the past, and suddenly experiences hunger and need to eat at a much higher and sustained level that is an inappropriate or abnormal situation. Excessive hunger drives us to eat much more than we normally would, and is usually, though not always, traceable to either a physical or mental disorder. In this respect, excessive hunger is most often a symptom of something rather than a disease in itself.

Got A Worm? - We usually don't like to think of ourselves as playing hosts to worms, especially tapeworms. But that sometimes can happen, and excessive hunger can be brought about by the need to provide nourishment to parasites living within the body. Hypoglycemia, the condition of low blood sugar level, can bring on hunger, and if the hypoglycemia is chronic rather than occurring in a single attack, the feeling of hunger can also become chronic and excessive. Diabetics often have to contend with feelings of excessive hunger. A disorder affecting the thyroid gland or the hypothalamus can upset our metabolism, triggering the brain into thinking we require additional food to sustain our energy level, when in fact we do not.

There are drugs and medications which can sometime increase of feelings of hunger, at times excessively, or at the very least serve as appetite stimulants. Cortisone, some antibiotics, steroids, and a number of pain relief medications often play a role here.

Information You Need To Share - If you believe you are a victim of excessive hunger, the first thing to do is to ask yourself a number of questions, so that you can explain to your doctor in as much detail as possible what you think is going on. There are many different causes, and any treatment to be effective, usually requires some knowledge as to the cause. Besides feeling hungry often or all of the time, are you experiencing any other symptoms?  Have you experienced a significant weight change, or are you eating more but not gaining weight? Whether you gain weight or not can be highly significant in determining the underlying cause. When did the problem first become noticeable, and how different are your eating habits now than they were before the problem surfaced?

You'll also need to know which, if any, medications you are taking, and should tell the doctor if you are using any drugs. Your pattern of exercise may also be important for him or her to know.

Sharing with the doctor any mental or psychological problems you may be experiencing can also be very helpful in conducting the diagnosis and prescribing a course of treatment.

A case of excessive hunger can be quite difficult to diagnose and treat, given all the possible causes. Effective treatment can boil down to a case of “knowing thyself”, and sharing that knowledge with someone who is in a position to provide assistance.


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