You just had a sumptuous breakfast. Within ½ an hour you get the advise to eat, so you consume down the pack of chips. Within the minutes you are hungry again. You search the fridge for leftover cake from party, finish it, and then you are hungry again. And this is not the first time this is happening with you. It has become the daily affair. You are worried that you will put on the weight, and rightly so. You think – What could be causing the hunger? And more importantly what could suppress your extreme hunger? 12 reasons why you Always hungry?
Feeling extremely hungry is normal if you have overdone it in gym or jogged an extra mile. And if you are pregnant, of course, you would have an increased hunger. You might also tend to eat more when recovering from an illness. But extreme hunger can be the symptom of different diseases too. The scientific community terms it hyperphagia or polyphagia.
Notice how you have surplus craving for food when you are harassed out? unrelenting stress and nervousness is the definite trigger for extreme hunger. Whenever we are stressed the brain is activate to produce the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and adrenaline, which suppress hunger. But if stress persevere, the adrenal glands release hormone cortisol, which increases the appetite. If the stress is long-lasting, cortisol might stay prominent causing extreme hunger.
Mental health disorders such as the bipolar disorder and manic depression connected with an imbalance of the chemicals in brain, hormonal deficiencies, and genetic factors can enhance your longing for food extremely. Bipolar disorder is characterized by the severe mood swings, very high energy levels and rashness. Depression, on other hand, is characterized by irresistible unrelenting feelings of sadness, low energy levels, and difficulty concentrating.
Eating disorders like bulimia cause extreme hunger. Bulimia involves the binge eating, which means uncontrolled overeating or eating much larger amounts of food than you usually would within, say, less than 2 hours. This phase of binge eating is followed by the purging or self-induced vomiting. A alike eating disorder is obsessive overeating or binge eating. This disorder starts slowly as in the child who turns to food when upset and over time he learns that food.
At times, extreme hunger might also be tell-tale sign of the worm plague in the intestine. These worms, for example, tapeworm, can live for the long period of time without being noticed by you. These parasites rob body of all necessary nutrients leaving you with the undesired fats and sugars. You start feeling hysterically hungry and be inclined to overeat.
Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is another reason why you feel extremely hungry. Hypoglycemia symptoms such as hunger, exhaustion, headache, cold sweats, confusion and mild tremors can be caused by over-exercising and not eating sufficient carbohydrates, starvation dieting, and alcohol addiction. In these cases, the hypoglycemia is the short termed, and blood sugar levels are restored when you eat. But if you have the liver disease, the hypoglycemia becomes chronic and you have urge to eat all the time. This is because body usually produces the sugar in the liver to avoid the blood sugar levels falling. And if you have a liver disease, your liver won’t be able to produce sugar.
Type-2 diabetes, too, can make you feel hungry continually. Okay, it is easy to understand why you feel so hungry when you have the low blood sugar, but how on earth do you feel hungry when you are overloaded with the sugar? That is what diabetes is all about, is not it? Interestingly, high blood sugar does cause the hunger, however you do not need more food. This is because every cell in your body relies upon insulin to get sugar from the blood. If there is not sufficient insulin, or if it is not working properly, sugar piles up in blood but it cannot get into cells where it is required. So the cells send signal to the brain to get more food. And because this is happening all the time, you tend to feel hungry constantly.
Certain medications such as corticosteroids, cyproheptadine, and tricyclic antidepressants are known to cause the hyperphagia.
Food craving is the common physical symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The syndrome occurs during second half of the menstrual cycle and goes away within 1 to 2 days after period starts. Other symptoms include the bloating, headache, diarrhoea or constipation and breast tenderness. Mood swings, fatigue, and sleep problems too occur during this time.
extreme hunger is also connected with the Hyperthyroidism and Grave’s disease, an autoimmune disease affecting thyroid. The thyroid functions to improve the metabolic rate, so an overactive thyroid shows symptoms of hyperactivity, insomnia, or constant hunger that is unsatisfied by eating. by the way, you do not gain weight here by all the eating; instead you lose the weight since you burn calories at a much faster rate because of overactive thyroid.
Genetic disorders such as Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) are sometimes responsible for extreme hunger. The disorder is characterized by extreme hunger with progressive obesity, short stature and mental retardation. PWS is most common genetic form of obesity, but why it causes extreme hunger is not yet fully known. Researchers think it might due to presence of the high levels of appetite hormone called ghrelin that could be responsible. High levels of ghrelin appear to make the high-calorie foods look more attractive, so it is not difficult to guess why a person with PWS, who has 3-fold higher levels, tends to eat more and become fat.
Chromosomal abnormality, again a gene disorder can cause excessive hunger. It is well known that an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure results in obesity. And a part of the brain, called hypothalamus, regulates these two factors. Hypothalamus contains numerous small nuclei that produce hormones responsible for body temperature, hunger, mood regulation, and other autonomic body functions. One of these nuclei (paraventricular nucleus PVN) is responsible for regulating hunger. When PVN malfunctions because of structural defect, you feel excessive hunger and overeat.
Unfavourable intrauterine environment has been found to be the forerunner to extremely hunger. Researchers from University of Auckland, New Zealand, proposed a very interesting cause for the hyperphagia. They found that excessive hunger to be a result of ‘fetal programming’. It is based on the theory that if there are unfavourable conditions in the uterus of the mother, say malnutrition, metabolic and hormonal changes occur in the fetus to adapt itself to the intrauterine conditions. If these adaptive responses persist even after the baby is born, it leads to metabolic, cardiovascular and endocrine disorders.
Emotional support from family and friends and sometimes counseling may be required to deal with excessive hunger. Contact your doctor if you have persistent increase in appetite. Failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage.