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Weight gain after ostomy surgery

Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:46 pm
How is it that you gain weight with your rectom and 12inches of colon gone??  I was 200lbs at time of my surgery and 250 three months later when I returned to work, and 3yrs later I still cant lose the weight????
These are the top 5 issues ostomates face:

1. Dating and relationships
2. Concealing the pouch
3. Foods to eat and avoid
4. Losing or gaining weight
5. Pouch ballooning

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Past Member
Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:16 am
i lost then gained. am now in the process of losing again.
Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:22 am
Though I think most folks struggle to maintain a minimum weight with an ostomy, I have seen posts from those that gain.  My suggestions below don't amount to much more than pointing out the obvious, but it's all I've got.

First of all, do you have a healthy balance between protien(meats, nuts, eggs etc.), good fats, fruits and veges and carbs.  My thoughts are that carbs, even healthy whole grains, constitute way too high a percentage of the calories we eat and are a big impediment to weight loss.

Second, exercise/activity... Do you have opportunities to exercise?  It sounds like you are on the road a lot, which can make working out a real challenge

Third, maybe there is a medical issue such as a thyroid problem that is impacting your ability to lose the weight.

Hopefully someone who has dealt with this can offer more insight.

Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:14 pm
I'm going to guess the weight gain is perhaps due to the fact you actually feel good and are able to eat food now?...

I am hoping my weight gain issues have been fixed now that I have started Remicade Infusions for my Crohn's. I can now eat food for a change. Not sure how long this is going to last so I am enjoying it while I can....

Keep a close eye on your intake. I was using to learn calorie counts for gaining but most use it for loss. Can't hurt and it's a free site.

Good luck!!

Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:16 pm
I think the weight gain is due to the fact that your GI tract is now digesting well all of the food your put in it.  At least that's what I tell myself.  

I was down 50 lbs. with colon cancer, then intestinal blockages that reduced me to eating only blenderized chicken noodle soup. After giving me some temporary bypasses my surgeon said to eat as much as I liked, desserts and calories no object, in order to get myself ready for the next massive surgery.  Well, I took his advice and unfortunately never let go of that diet  Very Happy
Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:48 pm
I had a total colectomy due to colon cancer last April and when released they said eat whatever I want.  Well I tried that but it doesn't digest and caused tons of diarrhea. So then they said to go on the white foods diet. No roughage, no fiber, no whole wheat, no fruit and nuts and veggies.  just easy to digest white foods.

It's been a year and my 10 lbs of the 25 I lost has come back.  It feels like more but that's what my scale says.  

So now I am trying to add foods and cut back on white breads and rice.  Or just stick to more protein with a little rice or bread and occassionally try really processed or cooked veggies.

I just saw a NIKE FUEL Bankd that is supposed to track activity, calories and time for runners and such.  It looks like a cool black wristband and it can be programmed to goals and sync to your computer.

With the weather hopefully getting better, I think it's a great time to start walking more. I try to walk vs call coworkers during the day and that helps a bit too:)

Calories vs activity I guess.

Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:17 pm
I lost a huge amount of weight in the years before my surgery because of Crohn's, but after my surgery I gained it all back fast and then some.  Very hard to take off weight now. I think my body was starved for nutrition and calories for so long that now it's holding onto every calorie it gets Smile
Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:49 pm
Once I started eating again, I gained weight.  I was also taking prednisone.  So, the combination of not feeling energetic, feeling good enough to eat and the steroid put on the pounds.  I'm starting to exercise again and am hoping the weight starts to come off.  In addition to the colostomy, I developed diabetes, thyroid problems, autoimmune hepatitis and lupus - all after the surgeries (in the last two years).  It's as if my immune system has just gone bonkers.  And I think that lots of the drugs I take also affect weight gain/loss.  Don't know if this is any help, but wanted to share...

Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:58 pm
Blame the liver, ha ha. You can actually be on a downward spiral of malnutrition due to not absorbing/metabolising vitamins & protein BUT STILL gain weight! Why? Because the lipids cross into the intestinal bloodstream then go to the liver where they are processed, like always, regardless.

Not eating the carbs/breads is hard especially for me, r/t my Crohns resections.  Its the only food group that doesnt hurt going through.

Chin up, just keep plugging away.  Remember, your body was really sick and now may be hording calories. eat 6xday with little doses of protein each time. (i.e., a snack size of canned peaches & a small yogurt).  Your body will clue in eventually.
Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:25 am
Having just read all the posts on this topic I can truthfully say I do relate to them all! My journey began 9 years ago with post operative radiotherapy which cured the condition I was given it for but caused damage to my bowel which may / may not have had something to do with the Crohns that ultimately meant after 7 precedures my large intestine was removed. I have  an Ileostomy.
During that time I lost 10 stones and gained 11!! I, like most,  find it difficult to digest high fibre and find this leads to bag malfunctions and distress. I've tried all the usual slimming club type programmes to no avail. In desperation I have found what I think may be the answer, although early days at present. The diet that, like most ostomates, suits me is low residue which is mainly white bread, rice, and easily assimilated foods. So, armed with a good calorie counting book, I have stayed with exactly what I know I can eat but simply reduced the amounts. Simples!  Portion size I've learnt is the key to it all. Yes it's a bore having to weigh and measure things but no pain no gain, or in this case - no weight loss! If you can combine this with a little extra exercise and believe me when I say that I was almost phobic about avoiding exercise but I started with just 5 minutes walking away from home which meant 10 minutes a day then a gradual increase to now I walk 30 minutes out and 30 minutes back - yes one hour a day. How long has all this taken me and how much weight have I lost? One month and one stone!  Not a world record I know but it's not encroaching on my life, I can still eat most of what I always have done  and I'm a fine weather walker so I have missed the odd day due to rain but a weight loss is a weight loss, and I'm happy with the lifestyle change so it's not about losing weight fast so I can get back to eating all that I used to. It's about watching and being careful with amounts for LIFE! Let me know if this suggestion helps you as it has helped me as I now feel much happier about the future and more positive in myself
Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:52 am
KBD--- I definitely agree with you!!  I had lost so much weight because of the crohn's, thank God I was heavy to start with.  But after my surgery which was a End-Ileostomy and I found out that I could eat again without hurting.... hmm well I did eat, but trying to moderate the calories just STICK! I like you think its my body hoarding if you will since I was in starvation mode for so long because of the disease!  
Good Luck!
Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:04 pm
Well God bless you, and I hope your surgury goes well.  Thank you for your response.  Keep your chin up, everything will work out well.
Sun Jun 17, 2012 1:01 am
This is a really interesting and puzzling topic in the ostomy community. in my 16+ yrs since joining the ranks ive noticed that ostomates tend to either loose a lot of weight or gain it, there seems to be a very small % falls middle of the road. There a lot of different factors than can attribute to a weight gain. Age most commonly, being less active then you were when you were younger, and also Depression and or stress.

I was very active right up till maybe 6 months before my surgery -then i started to get very ill due to the severity of my UC so I started dropping weight. when I came home from the hospital i was close to 20 lbs below my weight i had been for over 15 yrs. Because i had been very physically active it was very easy to resume my active lifestyle once i was fully recovered from the operation and i got my appetite and strength back.

in my 10 yrs or so on various different support sites have spoken to many and encouraged them to be more active -to not let the Ostomy hold them back from leading a normal life and most of all dont let it rob you of being happy. My finding have been that a lot of people especially ones that were not actively exercising or doing anything other than their housework or job that that had to do -are afraid to do any physical exercise for fear of injury-most notably ending up with a hernia -which we all know is an injury that is very difficult to recover from. Ive had 4 surgeries so even with working out for close to 30 yrs, and even at my high level of fitness im ever so careful at the gym when core training. the only ab exercise i do is light crunches lying flat with my legs raised in an "L" position.

  For the in-experienced at exercise there are several things you can do to get in better or stay in shape that are low impact and wont put you at any more of a risk to injury than picking up around the house. Walking for 30 min or more is a great start, Swimming is the best low-impact total body workout you can do. Watching what you eat alone wont make you lose weight, you have to increase you cardio level/heart rate -to increase you metabolism -to where you body is burning up more than you body is in taking. Just cause we all have a short bowel doesnt mean that you cant have a slow metabolism anymore. I used to have a fairly fast metabolism and didnt have to work that hard to maintain my weight, but when i got up to my late 40's things felt like they changed almost over night -now it gets harder and harder every yr to try to stay in shape -but that how life is -Father time is chasing us all -so thats we gotta make the best of the life each and every day
Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:46 am
Hey Tim1948! I just saw your question (3 months after you posted it)! I initially lost 35 lbs immediately after the exploratory surgery ending in a permanent Ileostomy - now a little over 4 years ago. It took me 3 years to gain the weight back, but now I'm overweight and up another 15lbs in the past 8 months when I was hospitalized again and prescribed medications that can cause weight gain. I am so tired of being over weight, that I took some pretty drastic measures to try and lose some pounds. I have a 13" incision and have had multiple hernia surgeries, and am now on SSDI because I'm just not right (physically nor mentally) anymore since the surgeries. Anyway, I now have started monitoring my calorie intake, and have brought them down to 1200-1500 calories/day (which is way hard because I'm always hungry)! I also bought myself a bicycle and bike around my neighborhood for 15 minutes/day when weather is good. I can't bike any more time than the 15 minutes because I get very weak in the legs. So, the calorie reduction and addition of bike riding has given me the power to lose 4 lbs. in 3 weeks...My goal is to lose another 15 lbs, but I think it's going to take a long time which is the way it should be (otherwise, I'll put it all back too fast)! I'm now very conscious of portion sizes, eat tons of more fresh vegetables (not potatoes, except sweet potatoes which are low in calories). I know that a lot of Ostomates can't tolerate too many fresh vegetables, but I seem to be blessed in that category that I can eat just about anything without any adverse effects. It's been a hard struggle to limit my daily caloric intake because the medications that I'm on keeps me in a constant "hungry" state and I have to ignore them and do something else to take my my mind off the feeling of starving. When it's too hot to ride my bike, I jump in the pool where I'm able to do weightless exercises without compromising my hernias and weakened conditions...this has helped and I hope that maybe my input could somehow help you. Just know that you're not alone - not every Ostomate loses weight - but gains weight instead. Take care!
Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:41 pm
I am 72 yrs old,I've had my ileostomy for 13 months.I consider my surgery saved my life. I am never going to have the reversal.I have always been obese,I lost 45 lbs  through my surgery and recovery. I do not want to gain it back. Has anyone ever tried a supplement called "skinny fiber". I don't know how it would work since my food has a shortcut now. I also have COPD and am on oxygen 24/7.I don't do very much exercise.I live alone and take care of myself. If anyone knows about the supplement,please let me know. Thanks.
Sun May 12, 2019 8:05 pm

amen to that i have an iliostomy and after losing a ton of weight because i could not eat, now i have gained weight and cannot seem to lose it

Sun Aug 29, 2021 8:00 am


  kbd wrote:   I lost a huge amount of weight in the years before my surgery because of Crohn's, but after my surgery I gained it all back fast and then some.  Very hard to take off weight now. I think my body was starved for nutrition and calories for so long that now it's holding onto every calorie it gets Smile

Good morning Sunday 

I just read what you said 


i did the same now with not able to eat everything I gained 80 plus in 3 years

Let me know if you found anything to help Lise I'm so upset and happy to be alive, but the extra  is to much 


Sun Aug 29, 2021 10:44 am


  NewlifeVictoria wrote:  




Good morning Sunday 

I just read what you said 


i did the same now with not able to eat everything I gained 80 plus in 3 years

Let me know if you found anything to help Lise I'm so upset and happy to be alive, but the extra  is to much 



oh i can also relate to that

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