Last reviewed 08/2021

Anorexia is the absence of appetite, from the Greek; an, meaning the opposite of, and orexis meaning appetite.

It is a very non-specific symptom. Anorexia may be present in:

  • malignancy
    • localised to gastrointestinal tract e.g. carcinoma stomach, carcinoma colon
    • disseminated malignancy
  • infection e.g.:
    • localised to gastrointestinal tract e.g. appendicitis, intestinal tuberculosis
    • distant sites e.g. pneumonia
  • inflammatory diseases e.g.:
    • Crohn's disease
    • Bechet's disease
  • right ventricular failure
  • metabolic diseases:
    • uraemia
    • diabetic ketoacidosis
    • lactic acidosis
    • hypercalcaemia
    • hyponatraemia
  • drugs:
    • cytotoxic chemotherapy
  • psychiatric disorders such as anorexia nervosa

It may also be a feature of many other diseases.