Constant hunger or polyphagia is a condition which can be very distressing and is linked with underlying physical or mental disorder. In most cases, constant hunger in children is a sign of undernourishment and can be managed by improving the quality and quantity of food. However, in some cases, identifying the right cause of constant hunger and thirst is crucial to initiate corrective treatment.
Inadequate supply of food can be the primary factor, however there can be several other factors that may contribute to constant hunger and thirst in children,
- Children constantly require energy, especially during the growth phase. Carbohydrates and fats are important sources of energy. A faulty diet which is low in fat can cause excessive hunger and thirst.
- Stress among children in the form of peer pressure, parental conflicts, etc can lead result in dietary dysfunctions.
- Certain medications are known to stimulate hunger and thirst especially corticosteroids. Corticosteroids may be administered in children with renal dysfunctions or severe skin ailments. Usually, the symptoms cease to exist once the drug is withdrawn.
- Presence of intestinal worms, especially tapeworms can also result in excessive hunger and thirst in children. These worms absorb all the energy and nutrients from the food and leave the child feeling hungry and unsatisfied.
- Conditions like juvenile diabetes are also associated with these symptoms.
- Bulimina is a mental condition which is characterized by excessive eating and drinking.
How To Stop Constant Hunger And Thirst In Children?
The management of the condition will primarily depend upon the underlying cause. The treatment regimen to begin with focuses on making dietary and lifestyle modifications, subsequently followed by medical and surgical care. Here are some tips on how to stop constant hunger,
- Ensure that your child’s diet is well balanced and comprises of all essential micro and macro nutrients. Include fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, egg and meat in the diet. Ensure that the diet comprises of high percentage of organic food and limits the consumption of processed and refined foods.
- Use deworming agents regularly. De-worming helps get rid of intestinal parasites which can trigger these symptoms. Garlic and turmeric are strong natural deworming agents. Homeopathic drug Cina is also very useful. As a practice, use the deworming agent once in four months.
- Managing stress among children can be very challenging. Some of the tips include engaging the child in sports activities; yoga, meditation, etc. Encourage your child to pursue some hobbies like drawing, reading books, etc. St John’s Wart is a herb that can help fight boredom and depression associated with stress, however it is recommended to consult a physician before you use it.
- Children can’t differentiate between thirst and hunger. Check if your child feels better after taking fresh fruit juices, vegetable soups or other liquids. Too many soda drinks can also trigger thirst and should be avoided completely.
- Juvenile diabetes needs to be treated with a multidisciplinary approach comprising of dietary modifications along with use of insulin. Check with your pediatrician what suites your child the most.
- If your child is on corticosteroids, check with your doctor for alternative options. Long term use of corticosteroid may hamper growth and result in multiple organ dysfunctions.
Inculcating good eating practices and sticking to meal timings is important to help your child understand their dietary needs and help discipline the body.