Hyperphagia or having an excessive appetite

The word hyperfagia comes from the Greek, in which hyper- means »excess» and -fagia means »eat». It is a disorder in which the desire to eat is much stronger than normal. In addition, food intake is also uncontrolled.

The feeling of hunger is the normal desire to eat when the body needs it. However, in people suffering from hyperphagia, this desire is uncontrollable. Who suffers it ingests huge amounts of food at once.

This pathology It is frequently accompanied by other health complications. Therefore, in this article we explain what is hyperphagia and what are its main causes.

What is hyperphagia?

As we have explained, the feeling of hunger is a physiological desire that pushes us to feed ourselves when we need it. Hyperphagia is that this desire increases excessively. Food intake becomes uncontrollable.

The person with hyperphagia eats huge amounts of food in a single meal. Further, these are usually substances that are not healthy or nutritious.

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What are the symptoms?

The main problem is that there is an impulsive need to eat. This need appears at any time, even at night. It causes the person to be continuously eating, even if he has just had lunch or dinner.

Meals are usually made quickly and without barely chewing. Further, There is a predilection for fatty or sugary foods. But, in addition to this continuous appetite, hyperphagia is accompanied by other symptoms.

Those who suffer from hyperphagia tend to feel ashamed for being unable to control themselves. As well causes a huge sense of guilt. In fact, it is not usually associated with provoked vomiting or laxatives: this is the main difference with bulimia.

On the other hand, depending on the cause, This increased appetite can lead to overweight and obesity. This makes self-esteem even worse and insecurity increases greatly. Therefore, depression can also be considered a symptom derived from this pathology.

Of such obesity other serious diseases are derived such as hypertension and diabetes. Hyperphagia is related to an increase in cholesterol and triglycerides that, as we well know, are harmful to our cardiovascular health.

The fact of eating so fast and so much can cause digestive problems. Digestions are heavier, some nutrients are not absorbed properly and the risk of dehydration increases.

What are the causes of hyperphagia?

In most cases, hyperphagia is due to a psychological disorder. The main causes are low self-esteem, fear or inability to relate correctly with others. Hyperphagia is usually a consequence of the anxiety that these situations produce.

In fact, it can also be linked to a specific problem. For example, It may appear in some women during premenstrual syndrome. Also in people with a disease of the thyroid gland or in diabetics. Other causes are:

  • Bulimia.
  • Gestational diabetes.
  • Certain medications, such as antidepressants.
  • Hypoglycemia

The point is that all these situations cause the levels of leptin to be altered. Leptin is the hormone responsible for the sensation of appetite. The result is that the feeling of hunger and satiety cannot be distinguished.

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What to do with hyperphagia?

The main thing is to go to the doctor to study the possible causes that may be causing hyperphagia. In the event that it is a consequence of any medication, a new dose will surely be scheduled or the treatment will be substituted.

When it is due to a picture of anxiety or depression, the ideal is to start a proper psychological treatment, although the possible metabolic causes must be ruled out first. For this, different complementary tests are performed.

First, blood and urine tests are carried out. The function of the thyroid gland should also be assessed, to rule out a possible pathology such as hyperthyroidism.

In conclusion

Hyperphagia is a pathology that can have many causes, from a problem in the thyroid gland to a psychological disorder. In addition, it is not just an overweight problem, but it can end up leading to different diseases, such as diabetes or hypertension.

Therefore, it is essential to go to the doctor for him to do the relevant exams. Finding the cause and establishing proper treatment is essential to prevent the problem from becoming something more serious.