Need help gaining weight after colostomy surgery - Any suggestions?

Jul 14, 2017 5:49 pm

I just had a colostomy bag placed on the first of July, 2017. Before surgery, I was at a healthy 125 lbs for my 5'5" frame. Now I weigh a little over 110 lbs. I am curious as to how long it will take before I gain weight and people stop asking me whether or not I am anorexic. It's absolutely embarrassing, and I'm eating tons of protein bars, as well as protein shakes, to maintain a healthy weight. I eat 5 small meals a day as directed, and it's always full of protein. My question, I guess, is: are there any supplements or vitamins that I can take to help gain weight? I'm already insecure to begin with. Unless I gain weight, I don't know if I'll ever attempt to leave my house again. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks

NJ Bain
Jul 14, 2017 6:28 pm


It sounds like you're just 2 weeks out of surgery. It does take time for your body to adjust to the trauma it's just been through. When I had my surgery for a permanent ileostomy, I walked in weighing 140 lbs and when I was discharged a month later, I weighed only 118 lbs. The first week post-op, I wasn't allowed to eat anything except ice chips and the second week, I was allowed soft surgical food. I still hate jello to this day.

Gradually, your body will absorb nutrients normally. The nutritionist in the hospital ordered a can of Ensure or Boost for every one of my meals. After a few months, I started getting back to my average weight. Give your body time to heal. You will be able to get back to your ideal weight.

As far as weight "gain" supplements, I haven't a clue. Wish I could be more helpful.


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Jul 14, 2017 6:46 pm

Thank you.

Jul 15, 2017 10:29 am

Hi Rwilliams3433, how are you? I also have that problem but at this point the weight is not coming back. My digestive system won't allow me to hold food or protein, so I've learned to embrace me!! I was a size 6, I am now a zero and yes, people do make comments but oh well. You might gain, if not, embrace you!! Good luck!!!

Jul 15, 2017 2:23 pm

I've always been fairly tiny, but it makes me so insecure. People are so darn judgmental nowadays. It's almost discouraging! So far I'm still wearing a size 7, so hopefully it stays that way. Thank you so much for contacting me. This has been really hard to deal with alone. Thanks again. Take care!

Staying Hydrated with an Ostomy with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Jul 15, 2017 3:20 pm

R Williams 3433, hang in there, do you!!!

Snookis Mum
Jul 16, 2017 7:47 pm

Hi RWilliams

I had exactly the opposite problem. I went in at 125 (after years of acute UC) and when I had my ileostomy, I was most comfortable eating meat, pasta, potatoes, bread etc. Vegetables caused a bit of gas and minor blockages. I put on a fair amount of weight over the first year, and have spent the following five years trying to lose it. Veggies don't cause me problems anymore. So, I guess if you want to gain weight, eat lots of carbs!

Good luck


Newbie Dana
Jul 16, 2017 8:35 pm

My weight, unfortunately, has bounced around so much, I don't know whether I'm going up or down! During chemo, I went from 135 to 118, then bounced back eventually to 130. When I got peritonitis and then my colostomy, I went back down to 115 - and stayed there for two weeks, then went back to 125 by the time I got out of the hospital several weeks later. I lost and gained the same 5-10 pounds over the next two months as I was learning what I could and could not eat. When I suffered a relapse and was in the hospital again, everyone was pushing food on me all the time. Since I finally felt better, I quickly ballooned to 150 pounds! I am now struggling (slowly!) to lose that and get back to a healthy 125.

I guess the worst part is not knowing exactly what put the weight on, and now having to work so hard to take it back off.

If I could just stay one weight for a while, I would be so much happier!

Jul 17, 2017 3:06 am

Hi. Just be patient. Add some cereals, fruits, and juices to your diet plan. You need more time to adjust to your ostomy and taking care of it yourself. Enjoy the benefits of the surgery, whatever they may be, from less pain and less medicine. Good luck. I have learned a lot from YouTube on ostomy care. Pat R.

Past Member
Jul 26, 2018 6:05 pm

Hello. I have learned to take Beano before eating fruits and veggies. Meats, pastas, and breads come out applesaucy, which is what is recommended. It is going to be trial and error for a while. Don't give in or give up!! You got this!!!

Nov 30, 2021 4:28 pm

Just discovered this site. Two months into this colostomy world, struggling. Went from 125 to 106 pounds with a hemicolectomy 5 years ago, now battling to stay above 90 pounds post colostomy. Trying to eat calorie-dense foods, but appetite is a problem. Weight, odor, fatigue, blow-outs, it's overwhelming and depressing. Very hard to find positives some days. However, reading some of these posts is giving me hope for management. Thank you all!

Nov 30, 2021 4:44 pm

What are you eating? Odor from your bag? Blowouts from your bag being full or leaking under your bag?

Nov 30, 2021 4:55 pm

I eat whatever seems appealing, lately that's been junk/convenience foods. Eggs are easy and taste good, but the odor post-elimination is vile. Still trying to adjust to the overall odor of bag contents. Going to try the baking soda fix and see how that goes. The blow-outs are a mystery. I do everything to make sure all is well sealed when I change the appliance, but still sometimes get a leak out the side of the seal. My daughter says I'm just too tiny and don't have enough "real estate" on me to stick anything to, lol.

Nov 30, 2021 6:32 pm

Have you tried any weight gain powders or bars? You can find some that are easily 500+ calories each and some push 1000+. If the odor is coming out when you empty or change your bag, yep it stinks. I suppose you could spray some anti-stink spray like Poo-Pouri and see if it helps. For blowouts, I'd contact your ostomy nurse, you may need to change products if things aren't sticking well enough.