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maloof 04-01-2010 09:22 PM

I never feel hunger...
Hey everyone, I have something odd to ask you all: I'm in my late teens and I can never remember feeling hunger. When I was a baby I cried for food and such but after the first few years of life I only ate when it was meal time or because I wanted to, never because I was hungry. I can remember back to about age 4 and I remember I never felt hunger then, nor since then.

I know this sounds crazy but before you read on let me assure you that I eat a healthy, well balanced diet. I am not under or overweight and this problem has not affected me negatively in any way that I can think of. Also, even though I haven't told anyone about this (I didn't really know this was abnormal for a long while and then I just never thought it was worth telling) I have always passed all physical examinations and such and have always been told I was a healthy boy.

I eat when it's about meal time or sometimes when I want to (with restraint of course) but it never has anything to do with hunger. In general: I eat breakfast when I get up, lunch during the scheduled lunch time if I'm at school or at about 1pm if it's a weekend / vacation and my mother normally makes dinner for me at around 6.

I have at times (unintentionally) gone a whole day or two without eating because I was on break and my family was not around so I just kind of forgot to eat... If I miss a meal and / or a meal is late I don't feel as if I have to eat.

I also never seem to feel "full" after eating. I eat what I know / feel is a good portion and if I go over that I don't feel full, I just get a stomach ache or a minor case of indigestion. This isn't because I eat too fast (I've actually been told I'm a very slow eater and I never rush a meal) or anything, I believe it is directly related to the aforementioned hunger issue.

So, in summary, I don't feel hunger or the full sensation after eating. What the heck is wrong with me? Is this anything to worry about or something that could develop into a more serious issue, or does my stomach just not communicate properly with my brain? Has anyone ever heard of this type of thing?

Thank you very much for any advice / insight and I'll be glad to post any additional information.

JohnR41 04-07-2010 02:49 PM

Re: I never feel hunger...

I think you got it right when you said that your stomach is not communicating with your brain. It seems strange that I was thinking that to myself before I got to the part where you actually said it. I hope you don't mind if I compare it to an early symptom of Alzheimer's; I only do so to show how the brain controls our senses. The very first symptom of Alzheimer's my father got, which was about 20 years before he had any other symptom, was that he lost his sense of smell. In his case it was brain atrophy. But in your case it may be that that part of your brain just never fully developed or made the right connection.

Although, the brain is very "plastic" so if that part of the brain didn't develop it seems that some other part would have taken over the job of sensing hunger. It probably will remain a mystery unless you make an appointment to see a neurologist. I think that would be your best bet.

maloof 04-07-2010 06:35 PM

Re: I never feel hunger...
Thank you for responding JohnR41.

So it seems the place to start would be a neurologist eh... Do you think that is something that I [I]should[/I] do, or is it just necessary for curiosity's sake? Basically what I'm asking is: is it something that merits the time and money (I'm assuming a visit with a specialist and testing would be at least $500) as it might lead to a serious issue, or is it just an inconvenience?

JohnR41 04-08-2010 03:43 PM

Re: I never feel hunger...

Being that you're in your late teens and you have learned to live with this and it's not causing any other problems, I don't think there's any urgency to see a doctor. Maybe sometime down the road (several years from now?) you might want to get it checked out of curiosity.

I just remembered something. I've heard of people who can't feel any pain. I wonder what causes that and if it might be the same thing that causes you not to feel hunger. I'll have to give it more thought and if I come up with something I'll let you know.

JohnR41 04-08-2010 03:58 PM

Re: I never feel hunger...
People who can't feel pain have: Congenital insensitivity to pain (CIPA) It's so rare that only about 35 people have it in the U.S.. The cause: The nerves that feel pain don't connect with the part of the brain that recognizes pain.

I found more information elsewhere that that gives it a slightly different name: Congenital insensitivity to pain with Anhidrosis (CIPA) It states that only about 17 people have it in the U.S. It also states that these people don't feel hunger.

maloof 04-08-2010 06:26 PM

Re: I never feel hunger...
[QUOTE=JohnR41;4221963]People who can't feel pain have: Congenital insensitivity to pain (CIPA) It's so rare that only about 35 people have it in the U.S.. The cause: The nerves that feel pain don't connect with the part of the brain that recognizes pain.

I found more information elsewhere that that gives it a slightly different name: Congenital insensitivity to pain with Anhidrosis (CIPA) It states that only about 17 people have it in the U.S. [B]It also states that these people don't feel hunger[/B].[/QUOTE]

Interesting stuff JohnR41, That's an odd coincidence indeed. I do feel curious enough to go to a neurologist, maybe I can get in for free through insurance or a doctor referral or something. Alright, thanks for the advice and I'll get back if I learn anything new.

men7al 06-15-2010 11:28 AM

Re: I never feel hunger...
A couple of years ago I was in a similar situation, robe. I wasn't intentionally starving myself--I lost my appetite due to extreme stress, and my body got so used to not being hungry that it just stayed that way. (Now I've gained all my weight back and more, but that's beside the point). Although things like milk and nuts will up your caloric intake, they might not do much to actually stimulate your hunger, if you're anything like me. I would suggest preparing some of your own food--stuff that's healthy but tasty and very fragrant. The process of preparing the food, looking at it and especially smelling it, should stimulate your appetite and get your digestive enzymes going. If you want to take on something really fun/challenging, make some healthy whole wheat bread. You get a mini workout kneading the dough, and the stuff smells so delicious and takes soooo long to prepare, that by the time it's finished you'll be dying to eat some!

Boozjee 07-01-2010 09:36 AM

Re: I never feel hunger...
Hey maloof, you may find this surprising but you sound perfectly normal to me. I don't remember feeling actual hunger or fullness until some time in my mid 30's. That's when I got married, had to cook every day for my husband and learned to eat everything in a rush. Like you, I had always been a slow eater and even forgot to eat sometimes. Now, years later, I'm overweight, always hungry and never feel full.
You sound normal to me so if it aint broke, don't fix it. lol

fanman 07-25-2010 04:02 AM

Re: I never feel hunger...
Apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper are both good for stimulating appetite.

YttriumOx 08-30-2010 11:34 PM

Re: I never feel hunger...
Hi Maloof,

JohnR41's suggestion regarding a neurologist seems the most right to me.
I also haven't ever felt hunger that I recall. As a baby, I would cry for food as well and eat just as you did. However for as long as I recall, I have no sensation of hunger.

If I fail to eat for a long period of time, I'll get very tired and in one extreme case as a young teenager, I passed out from malnutrition simply by forgetting to eat for several days. That's when I finally got tested. Because of several other unusual behaviours (lack of emotional response to specific stimuli and so on) they diagnosed me as being "sociopathic" (note that this was in a country that shall remain nameless at this point, but suffice to say they're still far enough behind the times to use words like that...). This explanation did nothing to explain the lack of hunger but despite that's what I went in for, they seemed to ignore that in light of what they considered to be more serious issues.

It never really bothered me much since I enjoy food and once I realised my own situation, I happily eat when I know I should. I'm a bit overweight these days, but more out of "caution" than anything (better to eat too much than too little), and also, as mentioned, I enjoy eating (specifically, I enjoy the sensation of tasting - the actual swallowing is just a convenient thing to do with the food after tasting it (and I know it's also the sensible thing to do)).

Given the "sociopathic" diagnosis, I did a bit of self research as an adult, and I think that I seem to fit somewhere in the spectrum of high functioning autism (possibly aspergers, possibly not). I can hyperfocus on tasks I love (and enjoying doing so); have trouble understanding social cues; use mild self-stimuli to make myself feel better if I'm "down" (pacing, tapping, flicking my fingers on things); find disruption to my routine to be extremely stressful; and have a great deal of trouble with facial recognition (for me, remembering faces is a "learned" thing like learning to memorise any other patterns, rather than the "automatic" thing it is in most people). Plus, I don't feel hunger.

The hunger thing seems to be a less common symptom if it really is autism related, but I've read a few things about it that make me reasonable comfortable it is likely related to the rest of it. The body generates the appropriate messages, and the brain even receives them... it then just totally ignores them as being "unimportant" and so doesn't pass them on to the conscious part of your processes. So, if my self-diagnosis is correct, I do in fact "feel" hunger, I just don't recognise that I do.

The point of explaining all of that is that if you also have any of the more "standard" things such as difficulty with social cues, not empathising with others feelings when you talk to them, etc, then this could definitely be a valid enough diagnosis and worth mentioning to a doctor.

Of course, if it doesn't bother you (even if you have those other things or not) then it probably doesn't warrant a trip to the neurologist unless you're curious. I'm 31 years old and it really hasn't ever bothered me enough to go back to a doctor for a better diagnosis than the one I had as a kid.

Other conditions that cause "no hunger" feeling probably don't fit so well from your description. You'd definitely know if you had CIPA (the lack of hunger would be the least of your worries), and congenital hyperinsulinism would've been there from birth (requiring feeding tubes and all that sort of thing as a baby).

If my answer wasn't helpful, I hope at least it was interesting.

Best regards,

delafoo 08-31-2010 09:37 AM

Re: I never feel hunger...
1) Anorexia is the medical name for not feeling hunger.

2) If you are smart in your research, you will see that there are over 20 causes. These 20 types have many causes. ***Why the hell the moderator deleted: SEARCH THE INTERNET, is beyond me. How else, Mr. Moderator, do you expect people to get information? Certainly not from this forum. Loosen up a bit will ya?***

3.) Only about 2 of the 40 or so causes are neurological in origin. If you feel like wasting your money and going to a neurologist in the 1/20 or 5% chance that you are one of these people, feel free to pay exrtra.

4.) You can go to your family physician who likely has extensive experience with all types (depending on where you live). Your physician should be able to tell you if you need to look into things that may be of concern.

For example. For some people, it is psychological in origin. For others it is a disease process; a reaction to a chemical; an abnormality; something benign; something significant;

The physician whose job it is to determine if you can be treated 'locally' or if you need to see a specialist is the family physician. Should you feel like tripling your bill, go directly to the neurologist.

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