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Unintentional weight loss

Unintentional weight loss is when you lose weight without changing your diet or exercise routine. It can be a sign of stress or a serious illness. See a GP just in case.

Causes of unintentional weight loss

Unintentional weight loss has many different causes.

It might be caused by a stressful event like a divorce, losing a job, or the death of a loved one. It can also be caused by malnutrition, a health condition or a combination of things.

Some causes of unintentional weight loss include:

Sometimes weight loss can be caused by cancer. It's important to get it checked if you're losing weight without trying.

Non-urgent advice: See if a GP:

  • you keep losing weight without changing your diet or exercise routine

Treatment for unintentional weight loss

Treatment for unintentional weight loss depends on what's causing it.

A GP will ask about your health and may arrange some tests or scans.

Depending on the possible cause, they may:

  • advise you about things you can do to help, such as ways to reduce stress
  • recommend treatment for any condition that's causing you to lose weight
  • refer you to a specialist

Page last reviewed: 16 February 2022
Next review due: 16 February 2025