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Thread: Loss of Appetite?

  1. #1

    Loss of Appetite?

    Recently injured here, quadriplegic as of March 2008 and since I have had no appetite to speak of. I don't feel hungry at all and have no desire to eat. This is a huge change from before when I ate multiple meals each day, I was an athlete. Adding to this not only do I not feel hungry food doesn't taste the same at all. It's all pretty bland now. I would forget to eat or just not eat at all now if it wasn't for my family and caregivers. Just concerned now for a few reasons. Is it just a result of the spinal cord injury, might it be due to depression also or a combination of both? I would kind of like to know if it will change because I used to love food so much. Just hoping for some advice, answers on one of the many issues I'm having now. Thanks guys. Nat.

  2. #2
    When I was in rehab one of the PCAs mentioned that a quad across the hall didn't want to eat unless he "could eat like a horse." I don't understand the eating like a horse part, perhaps something was lost in translation.

    I'm a quad, I don't get those hunger pains either, not strong ones anyway. Everything tastes pretty much the same though.

  3. #3
    Hi Nat, Eh,
    Being an athlete and then a SCI is something I can relate to. I know I was burning 4000 calories per day and I could eat like a horse pre-SCI. Then post-SCI, you just aren't burning the calories that you did. It is a bummer, I used to love to eat anything. So that is probably one reason that you aren't eating like the athlete you were.
    Then the issue of depression comes up, the way I look at it is you would need your head examined if you weren't somewhat situationally depressed. The question is how much. I am a very positive, optimistic person pre and post SCI but I succumbed and took antidepressants for the first year and psychotherapy for many years. It helped. If you were a "can do" athlete , how can this not affect you without feeling depressed?
    But you will get through it and with time respond to new challenges and thrive.
    I hope I am not too much of a cheerleader here......

  4. #4
    A common problem that is multifactorial due to depression, loss of activity, and change in bowel program. Make sure bowel program is good. If no appetite drink high protein liqiuds, to keep nourished.

  5. #5
    Senior Member canuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    BC Canada
    I think the taste issue ties into being on a vent but not sure.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    A common problem that is multifactorial due to depression, loss of activity, and change in bowel program. Make sure bowel program is good. If no appetite drink high protein liqiuds, to keep nourished.
    Nurse, do you mean high protein like the shakes I used to drink when I was working out? My bowel program has been going fairly well and we seem to have a good routine now minus a few accidents here or there. My nutrition is good overall still. Before as much as I ate it was all good clean healthy food and I'm keeping that going just less portions obviously. But still hard eating and even wanting to eat.

    It makes sense that being on a vent now I don't smell as well and that is a big part of taste.

  7. #7
    Senior Member EAK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Are you on any meds? Those might have something to do with the loss of taste? As far as loss of appetite yeah it was the same with me in the beginning. Probably every SCI gets it at the beginning.

  8. #8
    hi im c-4-5 5 yrs eating was hard for me at first also ive found that some was depression my cure for lack of hunger was spicy foods or interesting meals ive taken to eating to replace my loss of physical activity i eat small portions of crazy flavoured food.
    hang in there

  9. #9
    Moderator jody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    east o the southern warren
    I have had trouble eating lately too. the ensure gives me the runs, so I have tried a few experiments so I dont feel like im starving to death. 1c. soy milk
    2 ice cubes of frozen ensure
    2 ice cubes
    1 big spoon of peanut butter
    blend in blender or handblender
    if I go several days without food there is no hunger. just feel awful. this peanut butter shake, is easier to keep in than plain ensure. keep wraped up while sipping if you get cold easy.

  10. #10
    Being on a vent can certainly be a factor. Do you have a trach cuff up all the time, or at meals? This will prevent you from smelling your food, which is a big part of the enjoyment. Have you had a swallow study to show that you are safe to eat orally without the cuff being up?

    Depression can be a factor as well, but if you are maintaining your weight, I would not worry about it too much. This may also improve with time. It is much more common in very high injuries, but can occur in any level of high paraplegia or tetraplegia for some people. At least you are less likely to put on a lot of weight, which can be a problem if people (esp. those who were athletes) try to eat the same way they did before their injury.

    Are you at least taking a good multivitamin?


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