Weight Loss – 30% body weight in 7 months, but no malnutrition on blood tests?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 491
   Posted 2/4/2008 4:05 AM (GMT -7)   
I am still trying to figure out this weight loss issue. I have lost so much weight & am really boney now. I had thought it was due to CD, but now am wondering about that. Some docs have mentioned CD, but my PCP thinks it's just IBS.

The thing is, I have lost all this weight but on recent blood tests, it didn't show I was malnutritioned at all. No anemia. (I did have high protein, albumin, WBC, and nuetrophil counts, low lymphocyte count & low RDW. But I was told that the WBCs were high because I had just been on prednisone. I think the protein was high due to dehydration.) I had been told by the surgeon who did my colonoscopy that I had mild colitis & malabsorption was the cause of my weight loss & 1 month on Azulfidine would fix it. I am still on Azulfidine, it has been 3 months, and I am still losing weight. I didn't have diarrhea before, just frequent BMs, then I started having diarrhea & became dehydrated & in need of IV twice. I was given steroids in IV, then prednisone to take for a few days, and the diarrhea stopped, but still having frequent BMs (not as frequent as before).

I don't understand how I could have malabsorption problems that are causing weight loss, yet all my blood work comes back fine. This leads me to believe it is NOT CD, but then what would cause this much weight loss? I have been tested for cancer (my brother had pancreatic cancer, and all kinds of cancer run in the family) & thank goodness, everything was negative.

I am wondering if anyone that was diagnosed with CD has lost this much weight while having blood tests that come back fine, no malnutrition?

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 304
   Posted 2/4/2008 7:56 AM (GMT -7)   
I did at first......i ended up losing 135pds in 2 years.....some months faster then others for weight drop.......my first doc said i had food allergies......until i had a ct scan and it showed narrowing and distention of the TI....... now i show anemia....but not a low number so the docs not worried about that and i have so far gained 7pds......i now weigh in at a skinny 132pds at 5'10(yes i was a big girl) lol......... it could still be CD i know pple that have IBS and they do not lose weight so drastically..... have you had any other testing other than blood work.......i think they need to look inside and see what is going on in there......
I'm cute. Let's put me in charge.(happy bunny)
 anemia, b12 deficiancy, and malobsorption, moderate joint pain,severe weight loss, gastritis
 omega 3, digestive enzyme, calcium, vit d, flax oil, aloe vera juice, 9mg of entecort, 100mg Imuran
 diagnosed with a CT scan september of 2007.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 491
   Posted 2/4/2008 8:32 AM (GMT -7)   
I did have a colonoscopy in October. I had a CT scan in August. The results didn't say anything about my colon or small intestine or anything like that, just organs. The colonoscopy found mild colitis throughout. I am now 119 lbs. at 5' 7.5", I was 170.

The did the celiac test - negative. I did have blood in my stool, but haven't seen it lately & it was only a little bit when I did see it.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 111
   Posted 2/4/2008 12:17 PM (GMT -7)   

i have had the same problem as you.  My lymphocyctes was low and the nuetrophills high with elevated wbc. which dr. too blamed on predisone.  I also lost most of my hair.  It is now growing back curly and black which i had light brown hair before.  Drs never seem concerned with any of my blood tests.  Took them a long time trying to find it. I lost problem about 22 pounds. I was having water diaherra then getting on medications and was still going 6 times a day formed but still many times.  I am on humira, pentasa, sol medrol and dropping on sol medrol noticed that i am having more bowel movements than before i dropped.  So we will see. But i dont know if you can still have malsorbtion but all i know food for me would come out whole, or diaherra and lost my hair for a bout 6 months.  Had to basically cut it spikey because it fell out in so many areas. i have gained about 10 pounds back and feel pretty good. I can tell the difference just by dropping steriod 2-4mg. 

I got diagnosed with ibs 8 years ago which i never lost weight all the bowel movements i had.  Things got worse stuff was passing threw whole 10-15 bowel movements a day.  I knew something wasnt right. September 11, 2007 they found the crohns and since dec of 07 to may of 07 my weight dropped like i said 22 pounds to 123 and would fluctuate to 125 so by september was 125. I was eating and drinking the best that i could while having to go to the bathroom all the time.  Just dealt with it. You dont drop weight from ibs. 

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 491
   Posted 2/4/2008 1:22 PM (GMT -7)   
I think the steroids helped, too. Haven't lost any weight since & have only had 2-3 BMs0 where I was having 5-10 BMs. I still wonder if it is CD, I thought that might be it when my osteo mentioned it & I looked into the symptoms. I can't see losing 50 lbs. with IBS, either. I think my doctor just doesn't want to comment.

I go see a GI next Wednesday. This is the GI that did my mom's endoscopy & my mom told her about my health problems & she thought it was CD too. So when I got a referral from my PCP, I told her to make it with this GI. I feel like she might be thinking like me. We will have to see how it goes. I will post after that appt.

BTW, Trsora1, I have been losing hair, too. And my stylist said my hair has changed. It's straighter. Funny. Thanks for posting.

The only weird thing is that I really thought if it was malabsorption, that it would show up on the blood tests. I think my PCP thinks that to have CD, you have to be anemic or show malnutrition in the labs. I would love to hear from everyone on if their labs show malabsorption or not.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 2/4/2008 1:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Hukleberrie, it's a good sign your bloodwork does not show any indicators of malabsorption. The most common deficiencies that would be seen would be a decrease in prealbumin (the best indicator of nutritional status), vitamin B12 or folate deficiency, low serum ferritin (measure of iron stores)...although there are other less-utilized tests that can also elucidate any malabsorption. I too have lost a tremendous amount of weight (about 40-50 pounds). My only indicator of an insufficient nutritional status has been a low serum carotene level; other values were normal. However, I have not been diagnosed with IBD.

The most common cause of the whacky bloodwork that people with Crohn's disease sometimes have is due to inflammation at the terminal ileum, which is where a lot of your nutrients are absorbed. People with small bowel disease might have steatorrhea, which is malabsorption of fats (they check this with a stool weight and fecal fat test). I don't think you can say that having normal macro- and micronutrient levels means that you don't have IBD, however...that is too much of a generalized statement.

Have you kept a food diary and kept track of how many calories you are consuming, by any chance? It could be that you are simply eating less due to your symptoms, even without realizing it, which is contributing to the weight loss...
Co-moderator - IBS Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 491
   Posted 2/4/2008 2:13 PM (GMT -7)   

Huh.... I didn't get the serum ferritin or prealbumin or B12 or folate tested. At least, I haven't seen it on the these results. Carotene either. Maybe I am not looking at the right things? They did a CBC & Metabolic Panel (shows Glucose, Blood Urea Nitrogen, Serum Creatinine, Calcium, Sodium, Postassium, Chloride, CO2, Total Protein, Albumin, Total Bilirubin, ALK Phosphatase, SGOT (AST), SGPT (ALT) & eGFR. They did the WBC Differential & Sed rate, & Celiac & thyroid tests.

Does this mean I haven't had the right blood tests or are the tests you mentioned the same as these, but with different names on my results?

I have been keeping a food diary off & on. I eat & eat & eat. My family basically shoves food in my face because they are freaked out by the weight loss. I know I am not eating less. I eat the same food for lunch as always, & now I even try to eat candy bars & junk food more for extra calories.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 181
   Posted 2/4/2008 10:10 PM (GMT -7)   
I had similar expierence, it took switching GI doctors and a total of 3 colonscopies before I was diagnosed.  My bloodwork showed no indications of Crohns until right before my third scope when I showed up as anemic.  Predisone made my hair fall out as did Imuran.  Best of luck to you!
want_2_be_well AKA Mel
32 year old Female
Diagnosed with CD 2006, had been ill off and on for over 10 years.
Also have seasonal allergies, milk allergy, and asthma.
CD Meds: Remicade every 8 weeks, Imuran 50 mg, Pentasa

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 491
   Posted 2/5/2008 4:23 AM (GMT -7)   
This is so crazy to me. Why with all the medical knowledge do people have to be sick for so long before anyone can help them? I pray this GI helps me & I get better.... I have only been sick for 8 months but it has affected my life so much. I wish I was chunky & healthy again....
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