Unless You’re A 14 Year Old Boy Chronic Hunger Isn’t Really Normal

Always Hungry? The Reason May Be Something You’ve Never Thought Of

Sometimes a random question will fall into my lap and I feel obligated to find an answer or at least do some research so that I can offer some insight.  The random question of the week is, “Why do I feel so hungry an hour after I eat?”

This question was e-mailed to me by a co-worker who prefaced the question with, “I thought if anyone would know the answer to this it would be you.”  I like the way she warmed me up with a compliment – although she didn’t need to.  I would have given finding an answer to her question my best shot even without the flattering.

Chronic hunger can lead to poor choices.

My initial response back to her was the theory that it takes the brain about a half an hour to get the message from that stomach that it’s full.  I suggested that she slow down her eating and think about giving the brain time to send the “I’m full” signal to the stomach. Right away she e-mailed me back and said this was different.  This was hunger – painful hunger that if she didn’t eat again she would almost feel sick.  Not only was it annoying, but she was trying to lose five pounds before summer and the gnawing pangs were making that impossible to do.  She was feeding the burn.

I Am Not A Doctor Disclaimer

Right here is where my “I am not a doctor” disclaimer makes an appearance.  I am not a doctor, but if what I learned can help her – and she says it did – it might help you or someone you know.

The first round of Google searches brought up a bunch of reasons we all eat when we’re not hungry.  Along with the stomach/brain disconnection theory there’s boredom, lack of sleep and stress.  I didn’t think any of those were the case in her situation. Once I started putting her exact words into the search engine, the sites started to load that suggested the cause was acid reflux disease and stomach ulcers.  It wasn’t just one site that came up with this answer.  There were hundreds.

One of the most helpful articles (which I shared with her) was from Ehow.com.  Apparently symptoms of peptic ulcers and acid-reflux create a burning sensation that is similar to – and can easily be confused with – hunger. A common denominator of the various sites, was that the only way to get the hunger pains to go away was to eat again.  As you can see, a perpetual cycle can easily begin.

Tums and Bananas May Help

Remedies include over-the-counter antacids like Tums and Pepto Bismol.  Bananas are the best food for reducing the gastric juices in the stomach that cause the problem. Real doctors can prescribe medications that are more effective than antacids and bananas.

My co-worker’s a-ha moment came when I reported my findings back her.  It turns out she had been diagnosed with acid-reflux a couple of years ago and her doctor prescribed a medication to keep it under control.  She hadn’t had a chance to get the prescription refilled and had been without it for a few weeks.  Last time I talked to her she was back on the medication – and bananas – and the symptoms had subsided.  Plus she was once again on track with getting the extra five pounds she had gained over the winter out of the way.

Talk To A Real Doctor

If you find that you’re hungrier an hour after you eat than you were before, you might want to ask your doctor about the possibility of a peptic ulcer or acid-reflux disease being the cause of the symptoms.  Or, in the meantime,  you could keep some Tums and bananas on hand and see if that helps.

That’s my news for the week.  I hope it was helpful and if it was that you’ll share.