Sudden weight loss

Weight loss that occurs suddenly and noticeably might occur after a stressful incident, but it can also be an indication of a serious illness. After the stress of a job change, divorce, redundancy, or bereavement, it's usual to lose a significant amount of weight. When you start to feel better, after you've had time to grieve or adjust to the change, your weight usually returns to normal. It's possible that you'll require counseling and support to get to this point.

An eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, can also cause significant weight loss. If you suspect you have an eating disorder, talk to a trusted friend or family member, and see your doctor. Several organizations, such as the eating disorders charity Beat, can also give you with information and advice. If you haven't lost weight owing to one of the above factors and haven't lost weight through dieting or exercise, consult your doctor since you may have a condition that needs to be treated.

The following information may help you figure out what's causing your weight loss, but don't use it to make a diagnosis. Always consult a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis.


What is the maximum amount of weight loss that you are concerned about?

Your body weight may fluctuate on a regular basis, but unintended weight loss of more than 5% over 6 to 12 months is usually cause for concern. Losing this much weight could indicate malnutrition, which occurs when a person's diet lacks the necessary nutrients. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical assistance immediately.

  • tiredness

  • a decrease in appetite

  • a shift in your bathroom habits

  • a rise in the number of illnesses or infections

  • Unexpected weight loss can also be caused by a variety of other factors.


Unintentional weight loss does not always have a clear reason, although it is frequently the result of the following factors, in addition to those already mentioned:

  • depression

  • over-treating an underactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) or an overactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)

  • cancer


Unexpected weight loss can have a variety of causes. Unexpected weight loss is more likely to occur as a result of:

  • the negative effects of some drugs

  • Misuse of alcohol or drugs

  • illness of the heart, kidneys, lungs, or liver

  • Addison's illness or undetected diabetes are examples of problems with hormone-secreting glands.

  • a chronic inflammatory disease like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus

  • Experiencing dental issues, such as tooth loss, new orthodontics, or mouth ulcers

  • dysphagia is a condition that causes difficulty swallowing (swallowing problems)

  • A stomach ulcer, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or celiac disease are all examples of gastrointestinal problems.

  • chronic gastroenteritis, tuberculosis (TB), or HIV and AIDS are examples of bacterial, viral, or parasite infections.

  • Dementia - Dementia patients may be unable to convey their food requirements.