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Poor appetite Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Poor appetite. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you had the poor appetite?

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic. Acute poor appetite would most likely be due to an acute febrile disease or acute psychiatric illness.

  2. What are your stressors at the moment?

    Why: questions specifically about relationship, family, children, social support, occupation, general physical health and financial stresses. Emotional stress may lead to either under eating or over eating.

  3. Can you think of any reason why you have poor appetite?

    Why: e.g. severe loss, such as the death of a loved one, marital separation or financial loss. Emotional upset, grief, loss and relationship problems may cause poor appetite and under eating.

  4. Past medical history?

    Why: e.g. diabetes; risk factors for liver cancer include carriers of hepatitis B and C, alcoholic cirrhosis and hemochromatosis; Hypothyroidism may be associated with previous Graves disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, Down Syndrome, previous radioactive ablation of the thyroid.

  5. Past surgical history?

    Why: e.g. gastric surgery may be complicated by chronic delayed gastric emptying, early fullness after eating and poor appetite.

  6. Past psychiatric history?

    Why: many mental illnesses may cause poor appetite and cause people to lose interest in eating including depression, anxiety, bipolar affective disorder, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa.

  7. Medications?

    Why: e.g. many medications may cause poor appetite including appetite suppressants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, erythromycin, digoxin, phenylpropanolamine, codeine, morphine, Demerol and aspirin; hypothyroidism may be caused by lithium or amiodarone.

  8. Illicit drug use?

    Why: e.g. amphetamines will suppress the appetite.

  9. Family history?

    Why: e.g. ovarian cancer, thyroid disease, depression.

  10. Alcohol history?

    Why: Alcoholic people frequently have a loss of appetite. Alcohol in high concentrations may cause gastritis.

  11. Weight loss?

    Why: Weight loss usually accompanies poor appetite if the reduction in appetite is prolonged. Significant weight loss may suggest stomach cancer, intestinal or mesenteric ischemia, chronic pancreatitis, chronic gastritis, renal failure and congestive heart failure.

  12. Fever?

    Why: Any fever may cause a temporary loss of appetite. A prolonged fever may affect appetite long enough to cause weight loss. A fever may suggest a localized abdominal condition (e.g. cholecystitis, acute appendicitis) or a systemic condition (e.g. tuberculosis, brucellosis, yellow fever).

  13. Pain with swallowing?

    Why: Most causes of painful swallowing will also cause difficulty with swallowing. Painful swallowing can lead to people and especially children to try not to eat. If painful swallowing is present without any real difficulty with swallowing must consider Candida infection, herpes simplex infection or medication induced ulceration of the esophagus (e.g. from emepronium or slow release potassium tablets that may lodge in the gullet when swallowed lying down or without water).

  14. Difficulty with swallowing solids only (nil difficulty with swallowing liquids)?

    Why: suggests esophageal cancer until proven otherwise.

  15. Difficulty with swallowing both solids and liquids?

    Why: consider achalasia, scleroderma or diffuse esophageal spasm.

  16. Heartburn?

    Why: should consider a diagnosis of reflux oesophagitis with or without a hiatus hernia, peptic ulcer, achalasia, diffuse esophageal spasm or advanced esophageal cancer.

  17. Abdominal pain or discomfort, if so can you point to exactly where the discomfort is and where it radiates to?

    Why: must consider acute cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder usually due to obstruction from a gallstone), peptic ulcer, acute appendicitis, pyelonephritis (bacterial infection of the kidney), pancreatitis, renal stones and peritonitis.

  18. Jaundice?

    Why: may suggest pancreatic cancer, liver metastases, cancer of the bile ducts.

  19. Chronic cough?

    Why: may suggest tuberculosis or lung cancer.

  20. Diarrhea?

    Why: may suggest gastroenteritis, Crohn's disease.

  21. Symptoms of stomach cancer?

    Why: e.g. early feeling of fullness after eating, indigestion, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting (if cancer causes stomach outlet obstruction), difficulty with swallowing ( if cancer occurs at opening to stomach).

  22. Symptoms of Diabetes mellitus?

    Why: e.g. frequency of urination, excessive thirst, weight loss, fatigue, increased infections. May be complicated by gastroparesis which causes delayed emptying of the stomach, a feeling of fullness and poor appetite.

  23. Symptoms of ovarian cancer?

    Why: e.g. symptoms at presentation are usually nonspecific and usually include abdominal pain, increasing abdominal girth and abnormal menstrual bleeding. Ovarian cancer may also cause reduced appetite and an early feeling of fullness after eating due to pressure on the stomach.

  24. Symptoms of liver cancer?

    Why: e.g. weight loss, reduced appetite, fever, ache over the right upper abdomen, abdominal swelling and an early feeling of fullness after eating.

  25. Symptoms of gallstones?

    Why: e.g. gradual onset of severe constant right upper abdominal pain which may pass into the back. It can be associated with reduced appetite, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms are induced by a fatty meal.

  26. Symptoms of gastroenteritis?

    Why: e.g. reduced appetite, nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea.

  27. Symptoms of gastritis?

    Why: e.g. indigestion, vomiting, sometimes coffee ground vomit and melena (black tarry offensive stools) due to gastrointestinal bleeding. Gastritis may also cause poor appetite and an early feeling of fullness after eating.

  28. Symptoms of achalasia (disordered motility of the esophagus)?

    Why: e.g. intermittent difficulty with swallowing both solids and liquids; regurgitation of food into mouth from the esophagus may occur, particularly at night; occasionally food may get stuck; drinking large quantities of fluids help force the food through if food gets stuck; severe pain behind the breastbone due to dysfunctional contraction of the esophagus; weight loss may occur but is usually not marked. May also have poor appetite and a feeling of fullness after eating.

  29. Symptoms of depression?

    Why: e.g. depressed mood, crying spells, anhedonia (loss of interest or pleasure), increase or decrease in appetite (usually decreased), weight loss or gain, insomnia or increased sleeping (usually early morning waking), fatigue, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, feelings of excessive guilt, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions, low libido, thoughts of death or suicide attempt.

  30. Symptoms of anxiety?

    Why: e.g. nervousness, shakiness, tremor, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, poor concentration, heart palpitations, racing heart, sweating, dizziness, diarrhea, lump in throat, reduced appetite and frequency of urination.

  31. Symptoms of Manic-depression?

    Why: e.g. episodes of depression (often psychotic in intensity) and at other times episodes of psychotic excitement (mania or hypomania). Symptoms of psychotic excitement may include elevation of mood, increased activity, grandiose ideas, irritability, disinhibition (which affects social, sexual and financial behavior), rapid speech and racing thought, delusions (persecutory or grandiose) and sometimes hallucinations. May sometimes have poor appetite.

  32. Symptoms of brain tumor?

    Why: e.g. headache, dementia, seizures, stroke-like symptoms.

  33. Symptoms of esophageal cancer?

    Why: e.g. progressive difficulty with swallowing; initially there is difficulty with swallowing solids, but eventually difficulty with swallowing liquids also occurs. Pain occurs if food gets stuck due to narrowing of the esophageal lumen. Weight loss occurs due to difficulty with swallowing and also due to reduced appetite.

  34. Symptoms of achalasia?

    Why: e.g. intermittent difficulty with swallowing both solids and liquids; regurgitation of food into mouth from the esophagus may occur, particularly at night; occasionally food may get stuck; drinking large quantities of fluids help force the food through if food gets stuck; severe pain behind the breastbone due to dysfunctional contraction of the esophagus; weight loss may occur but is usually not marked.

  35. Symptoms of hypothyroidism?

    Why: e.g. lethargy, weight gain despite reduced appetite, constipation, puffiness of face and eyes, hair loss, dry skin.

  36. Symptoms of anorexia nervosa?

    Why: e.g. obsessive pursuit of thinness through dieting, extreme weight loss, disturbance of body image, intense fear of becoming fat, loss of menstrual periods.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Poor appetite:

The following list of conditions have 'Poor appetite' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Poor appetite or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Poor appetite:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Poor appetite' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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