Inappetence In Children: 8 Causes For Loss Of Appetite
The word “inappetence” comes from the French word “inappétence,” which represents lack of appetite, found in chronic, digestive and febrile illnesses. The term is synonymous with “anorexia,” but it`s different than “psychogenic/nervous/mental anorexia,” the latter denoting the repulsion of food, associated with a total loss of appetite and occurs most commonly in the teenagers obsessed with body weight (around 80%).
Table of Contents
- 1 Mechanism of Hunger & Satiety
- 2 8 Causes for Loss of Appetite in Children
- 3 Doctor`s Advice
Mechanism of Hunger & Satiety
It exists in the brain, in the hypothalamus to be more exact, a center of hunger and one of satiety, both of them conducting the eating behavior of each individual. The sensation of hunger is triggered when the stomach is empty (due to the increased level of acidity in the stomach), just as when the level of essential fatty acids and blood sugar decreases. The sensation of satiety occurs when these needs are satisfied.
If the regulation of appetite is normal, it`s noticed a correlation between the need to ingest, the energy necessities and, the child`s needs of growth. Inappetence appears when this imbalance is disturbed, and the immediate consequences can involve: weight loss, stagnation of growth.
You should keep in mind that each organism is unique in its own way, and its needs vary from one individual to the next. So, there are children physiologically eat more (the calm child who doesn`t perform intense physical or mental activities) and children who eat less (the active child who usually has intense physical or mental activities, due to increased metabolism, which leads to increased levels of blood sugar) from one season to another. Thus, inappetence appears more often.
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It should be mentioned that appetite suffers changes from one day to the next, as well as from one season to the next. The frequency of the periods of inappetence grows generally in the cold season due to the increase of the frequency of occurrence of acute respiratory illnesses, and not only. In the spring, the number of persons affected by anemia increases, including lack of appetite and clinical manifestations. In the summer, there may be a decrease in appetite, but most of the times this will associate with an increased ingestion of liquids due to massive losses of water.
8 Causes for Loss of Appetite in Children
1. Vitamin Deficiencies
Particular avitaminoses and mineral deficiencies might lead to loss of appetite when children are involved. We mostly refer here at the iron and zinc deficiencies and lack of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 can be found in beef, chicken or turkey meat, dairy, fish or liver.
Hepatitis A virus infection appears in poor hygienic conditions, by faecal-oral contamination from persons who are infected through dirty hands.
The symptoms include:
- Flu signs.
- Muscle pains.
For hepatitis A virus infection, there`s no specific treatment. It`s recommended rest, hygiene-dietetic regimen an d avoiding medications with liver toxicity.
The recovery takes place in a few weeks, but there may appear hepatic insufficiency complications.
3. Crohn`s Disease
This is an chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive tract, characterized by abdominal pains, weight loss, astheria, inappetence, fever or malnutrition.
Appendicitis, a frequent condition of children and adolescents, can be another cause of inappetence.
It`s accompanied by nausea, sometimes diarrhea, abdominal pains, gases, vomiting, constipation and abdominal distension. Recommended treatment includes surgery.
5. Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia nervosa occurs usually in teenagers, but also in children, especially girls, being an eating disorder that is characterized by improper nutrition due to some wrong opinions related to their own weight or refusal to eat.
These persons feel themselves overweight in the conditions in which their weight is under normal levels.
Parents are able to help the children if:
- They manage to cultivate a positive image about themselves.
- They maintain a affectionate environment within the family, with zero fights or conflicts.
- They spend as much time with them as possible, in various constructive activities that involve games, reading or walks in the park.
- The meals are taken within the family and there`s no skipping meals, making a regular schedule of daily meals.
- The parents don`t force the child to eat more than he wants.
- The parents encourage the child to express his emotions, be open and spontaneous, without keeping him under a strict “discipline” and authority.
Anorexia can accompany other mental and behavioral disorders, such as drug consumption, anxiety or depression.
Gastroenteritis are common conditions in children, usually caused by a viral and bacterial infection, which produced the inflammation of the digestive tract. The most common signs are: vomiting, diarrhea and nausea.
To these, other signs may include: lack of appetite, abdominal cramps or pains or fever. The treatment is symptomatic:
- Diet that includes vegetable soups.
- Cereal crackers.
- Antibiotics for bacterial infections (E.Coli, Salmonella, Shigella).
Infection with Koch bacillus is widely spread and the signs include: persistent cough, night sweats, bloody expectoration, lack of appetite, fever, weight loss. The treatment includes long-term antibiotic treatment under medical supervision.
8. Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a genetic condition which affects the intestinal absorption and digestion of particular nutrients, cereal gluten being one of them.
The signs include:
- Abdominal meteorism.
- Chronic diarrhea.
- Loss of appetite.
- Abdominal, muscle-joint pains.
- Weight loss.
- Growth disorders.
Don`t give your child lots of multivitamin complexes without getting the doctor`s advice first, because these may lead to weight gain. – More info!
If you didn`t notice in your little one infectious manifestations (fever, vomiting, diarrhea or rashes), then you should really visit a doctor to try Baby Care Apetit (12 ml syrup, a 100% natural product, specifically designed to increase appetite in children over 1 year).
How to Administer Baby Care Apetit?
One teaspoon (5ml) of syrup 3 times per day, at least 15 minutes early than the meal.
Baby Care Apetit syrup contains a bottle of 24 mg of beer yeast, 1.32 mg malt and 4.8 mg lecithin.
The administration of this product leads to an improvement of appetite, supports the digestion, improves the ability of concentration and memory, increases the physical performance and accelerates the recovery process of the organism after consuming illnesses.
Besides the administration of this syrup, you should pay attention to the non-specific measures of excluding inappetence:
- The meals need to respect a fixed schedule that is associated with a ritual of washing the hands under the form of a game to increase the interest for the actual activity.
- To ensure a warm and calm ambiance, and if the child refuses to eat, it`s required to be explained to him nicely the fact that he won`t get anything to eat until the next meal.
- You shouldn`t force him to eat, because these insistences might make him even more stubborn.
- Don`t give your child small snacks between meals, especially sweets, because these will cut his appetite.
- You shouldn`t fight or punish him about the quantity of food that he needs to eat or about his refusal of a certain type of food.
- Don`t force him to eat.
- Don`t restrict him from viewing his favorite TV show to put him to eat.
- The duration of the meal shouldn`t exceed 20 minutes. However, if the situation worsens, the pediatrician and psychologist and neuropsychologist need to collaborate.