Read below about rapid weight loss, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your rapid weight loss from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Rapid Weight Loss

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced rapid weight loss. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Stomach Ulcer

    A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of the stomach or the first part of your small intestine (the duodenum), which causes pain following meals or on an empty stomach.

    2-4 weeks with treatment

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, moderate abdominal pain, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps)
    Symptoms that never occur with stomach ulcer:
    pain in the lower left abdomen
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Depression

    Depression is a mental disorder in which a person feels constantly sad, hopeless, discouraged, and loses interest in activities and life on more days than not. These symptoms interfere with daily life, work, and friendships.

    Depression's course is highly variable, and it may last weeks, months, or years.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, depressed mood, headache, anxiety, irritability
    Symptoms that always occur with depression:
    depressed mood
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (Copd)

    COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a chronic condition of the lungs and the airways in the lungs. Damage has occured due to long-term exposure to substances that irritate and damage the lungs, such as cigarette smoke or air pollution. This damage can cause symptoms like shortness of breath, decreased exercise tolerance and cough. A common cold or other types of infection can cause symptoms to worden acutely, this is called an exacerbation.

    Often a lifelong condition

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, cough and dyspnea related to smoking, cough, shortness of breath, trouble sleeping
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd):
    cough and dyspnea related to smoking
    Symptoms that never occur with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd):
    rectal bleeding
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Anorexia

    Eating disorders are serious behavioral problems. They can include severe overeating, or not consuming enough food to stay healthy. They also involve extreme concern about your shape or weight. Anorexia nervosa is a condition where people have an intense fear about how their body looks and how much they weigh, leading to severe caloric restriction.

    80% of people will get better with years of effective counseling and therapy.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    anxiety, irritability, difficulty concentrating, decreased sex drive, frequent mood swings
    Symptoms that always occur with anorexia:
    fear of gaining weight
    Symptoms that never occur with anorexia:
    heavy menstrual flow
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Bulimia

    Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder. People suffering from this condition sometimes will eat huge amounts of food, and might take extreme steps such as making themselves vomit to avoid putting on weight.

    With appropriate treatment, recovery is very likely.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    anxiety, irritability, stomach bloating, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating
    Symptoms that always occur with bulimia:
    vomiting after binge eating
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  6. 6.Tuberculosis

    Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs, although it can also affect other organs in the body. The bacteria can lie dormant in the body for a long time (even years), until they start causing symptoms such as cough, fever, loss of appetite, and night sweats.

    >6 months treatment with antibiotics.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, rib pain, dry cough
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  7. 7.Hodgkin's Lymphoma

    Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. Cells in the lymph nodes grow abnormally and may spread beyond the lymphatic system.

    Curable but survival rates are variable

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal pain (stomach ache), shortness of breath, fever
    Symptoms that never occur with hodgkin's lymphoma:
    pulsing armpit mass, armpit lump that comes and goes, shrinking armpit lump, pink or red armpit bump, black or brown armpit bump, yellow or white armpit bump, bleeding armpit bump, armpit bump leaking yellow or milky fluid, armpit bump leaking clear fluid, scabbed armpit bump, scaly armpit bump, neck lump that comes and goes, shrinking neck bump, pink or red neck bump, black or brown neck bump, yellow or white neck bump, bleeding bump, bump leaking clear fluid, neck bump leaking yellow/milky fluid, scabbed bump, scaly neck bump, pulsing chest mass, chest lump that comes and goes, shrinking chest bump, pink or red chest bump, black or brown mass on chest, yellow or white chest bump, blue bump on the chest, bleeding chest bump, chest bump leaking clear fluid, chest bump leaking yellow/milky fluid, scabbed chest bump, scaly chest bump, pulsing groin mass, groin lump that comes and goes, shrinking groin lump, pink or red groin bump, black or brown groin bump, yellow or white groin bump, inflamed groin bump, scaly groin bump, bleeding groin bump, groin bump producing clear fluid, groin bump producing yellow or milky fluid
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

    Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the white blood cells. This disease most commonly affects children between the ages of 2-5 years, and is a much more rare disease in adults. People with this disease get sick very rapidly. First, they feel fatigue and dizziness, and eventually the disease leads to bone marrow failure.

    Prognosis is highly variable and dependent on the individual, so a consultation from an oncologist is required.

    Rarity:
    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, fever, severe fatigue
    Symptoms that never occur with acute lymphoblastic leukemia:
    inflamed throat
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  9. 9.Non - Hodgkin Lymphoma

    Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. Cells in the lymph nodes or bone marrow grow abnormally and may spread beyond the lymphatic system.

    Curable but survival rates are variable depending on the subtype.

    Rarity:
    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal pain (stomach ache), fever, shortness of breath
    Symptoms that never occur with non-hodgkin lymphoma:
    neck lump that comes and goes, shrinking neck bump, armpit lump that comes and goes, shrinking armpit lump, groin lump that comes and goes, shrinking groin lump
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Post - Traumatic Stress Disorder (Ptsd)

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops as a reaction of trauma. One can get PTSD after living through or seeing a traumatic event, such as war, a hurricane, sexual assault, physical abuse, or a bad accident. PTSD causes stress and fear after the danger is over.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    psychological or physiological distress
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

FAQs About Rapid Weight Loss

Here are some frequently asked questions about rapid weight loss.

Why am I losing weight but eating more?

A common cause of losing weight while eating more is malabsorption. In malabsorption, the gut is less able to absorb nutrients from food. As a response, the body causes an increased drive to eat. Malabsorption can be caused by many different disorders. Increased hunger in the setting of weight loss can commonly be caused by hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland produces thryroid hormone and alters metabolism to the demands of the body, If the thyroid is overactive (hyperthyroidism), it can cause an increased body temperature, increased gut motility, difficulty sleeping, and weight loss despite increased appetite.

Can stress cause rapid weight loss?

Yes, extreme stress can activate the stress response system and cause rapid weight loss. This is less common than the many infectious illnesses that cause rapid weight loss, but it is possible. Rapid weight loss can be caused by prolonged stress, poor sleep, or even depression, but to confirm a psychological cause, it may be necessary to first rule out infection or cancer.

How much weight loss in concerning?

Weight loss is deemed "clinically important" when it is unintentional and greater than five percent of an individual's body weight over 6–12 months. This means for an individual that weighs 150 pounds, losing 7 1/2 pounds unintentionally over the course of a year would require investigation to discover the cause. Unintentional weight loss to a concerning degree is extremely common, such that most people within their advanced adulthood years will experience it.

Can rapid weight loss cause postmenopausal bleeding?

No, rapid weight loss cannot cause postmenopausal bleeding. There are, however, many causes of postmenopausal bleeding including excess growth of the lining of the uterus, fibroids, atypical excess growth, and different types of cancers. Rapid weight loss associated with postmenopausal bleeding is a worrisome series of symptoms, and both may be caused by a systemic illness like cancer or profuse uncontrolled bleeding. If you are experiencing unexplained rapid weight loss and postmenopausal bleeding you should seek medical care.

What is causing my rapid weight loss and flu like symptoms?

Rapid weight loss and flu-like symptoms, commonly referred to as systemic illness symptoms, can be caused by a variety of things. Viral infections like the flu, mono, or HIV/AIDS can cause rapid weight loss and flu-like symptoms. Of these, the flu and mono are much more common than HIV/AIDS. Additionally, systemic illnesses like cancers or autoimmune illness can cause activation of the immune system and weight loss, and should be examined and ruled out. If you are experiencing rapid weight loss and flu-like symptoms, you should seek medical care.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Rapid Weight Loss

  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Have you lost your appetite recently?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?
  • Q.Have you experienced any nausea?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our rapid weight loss symptom checker to find out more.

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Rapid Weight Loss Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced rapid weight loss have also experienced:

    • 6% Fatigue
    • 5% Loss of Appetite
    • 4% Nausea
  • People who have experienced rapid weight loss had symptoms persist for:

    • 69% Over a Month
    • 12% Two Weeks to a Month
    • 7% One to Two Weeks
  • People who have experienced rapid weight loss were most often matched with:

    • 36% Stomach Ulcer
    • 36% Depression
    • 27% Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (Copd)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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