Weight gain and ileostomies

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Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 262
   Posted 11/5/2008 8:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Does anyone find that it is harder to gain weight with an ileostomy?   I lost 22 pounds while in hospital, and have only gained back about 10. I am certainly not complaining, and don't want to gain it all back, but I eat ALOT (food tastes so good now!!). tongue and don't seem to be gaining too quickly.  I was just wondering if this is the norm?????

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 11/5/2008 9:37 AM (GMT -7)   
My surgeon told me that it would be harder to gain weight after the surgery. He said that getting back to my previous weight would be very difficult and that I should be happy with gaining even 10 or 15lbs. It has to do with your body not being able to absorb nutrients as easily now that your large intestine is gone. Food passes through you faster and simply does not leave your body as much time to extract those nutrients.
26-year-old diagnosed with UC in 2004
Underwent stage one of J-Pouch surgery on September 16, 2008
Now living symptom-free

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 262
   Posted 11/5/2008 10:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks draegs!! :-)

Equestrian Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3115
   Posted 11/5/2008 10:32 AM (GMT -7)   

I know some people do have a hard time gaining weight, but I do NOT shakehead    I still have to make sure I make healthy choices and exercise regularly...if I don't, I'll gain weight!!!  The only time I wasn't able to gain weight was when I was in a MAJOR flare...but then again, I wasn't eating anyway.  Your body will let you know when to watch your calorie intake (just like it will when you start to dehydrate)so listen to it yeah


Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 262
   Posted 11/5/2008 1:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Ohio!! :-)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 11/5/2008 2:38 PM (GMT -7)   
wow i sure wish i had problems gaining weight! thats all i have done!
the best way to put on weight is a milkshake everyday! oh and lots of soda, it's worked for me!

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1250
   Posted 11/5/2008 4:10 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm another who wishes they had problems gaining weight. The large intestine does not absorb nutrients - the small intestine does. The large intestine is mainly responsible for absorbing water (which is why we must drink more since we don't absorb as much) and electrolytes.
I have had an ileostomy for 32 years now due to UC.
Moderator of the Ostomy Forum
I'm not a complete idiot - some parts of me are missing!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 300
   Posted 11/6/2008 10:25 AM (GMT -7)   
I am another one that just gains weight.  It was the one thing I liked about UC......loosing weight.  I now find that I really have to watch what I eat.

Pancolitis - July 2006
Surgery - Temporary ilestomy on 2.25.08 at Cleveland Clinic. Next surgery in 6 months
Medications:  Predisone - 5mg (and tapering to zero)
Supplements:  multi-vit, calcium
Reason for surgery: Steriod dependent and allergic reactions to imuran and 6mp. Elected not to try remicade.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 11/7/2008 12:36 AM (GMT -7)   
At first your ileostomy is new to your body and all your bodies energy focus is there. Therefore your endorphins are multipling for the time being.

I'm sorry to rain on your weight lost, however once your small colon wakes up and sees you have no large colon it will start taking up the slack. Once that happens you will and can start gaining weight as easily as in the past. After your first year is over - Eat smaller amounts - Not Big Meals or you'll be sorry..... your body adapts so just be aware of that.

Have fun!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2765
   Posted 11/7/2008 4:06 PM (GMT -7)   
I've gained weight, too, but at least it means I'm healthy now. :-)
Dx'd Crohn's in '99 at 28. Proctocolectomy and ileostomy in '06.
Disease-free, medicine-free, and very thankful to be healthy again :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 11/8/2008 8:18 AM (GMT -7)   
with out your large intestines you can have bouts of dehydration, I had many bouts with it like if I got the flu or eat sea food or outside in the heat.
with out your large intestines absorbing the last bit of water for your body you are loosing water.
when I got out of the hosp in 1997 with mine I was 127 pounds but I was very sick before that I maintained a weight of 160-167 for the rest of the 11 years I was in mine.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 40
   Posted 11/8/2008 1:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Over the course of 2 yrs I gained 70 lbs with an ostomy (130 lbs to 200 lbs).  That's about 25 lbs more than I weighed before colitis.  I work out a lot - that increases my appetite and obviously puts on muscle mass.  I wouldn't let a doctor's generalization get you down - obviously some people have trouble gaining weight, but others do not.  If you just had surgery it'll take a while for your body to get back into the swing of things.  Take care.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 12/21/2013 11:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Lonnie- your post was very encouraging. I'll hang in there and hope to gain weight soon.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 5921
   Posted 12/21/2013 5:17 PM (GMT -7)   
      I've gained weight with my ileo too!!! rolleyes    I weighed 120 going into surgery...113 post surgery...that was June 28, 2010...I now weigh 135!!!  What a fatty McButterpants tongue !  I am only 5 ft 2 in and shrinking...am 67 yrs old.  I would like to get back down to 125...but, with the holidays coming up...I doubt that's gonna happen eyes .

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1118
   Posted 12/22/2013 3:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi it took me 11 months since surgery to get to my ideal weight now I'm having to watch that I don't go over weight lol! x
Diagnosed with crohns at 13, right Hemicolectomy in 93, remmision till sept 08, small bowel resections & Entercantaneous fistula excised, along with temp stoma in 09 stoma reversed Apr 2010. 2011 3 more fistula's to deal with!!
Major surgery Jan 2013 had all fistula's, Gallbladder & sections of small bowel removed permenant ileostomy given.

Bay Area Guy
Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 296
   Posted 12/25/2013 7:43 PM (GMT -7)   
When I got my temporary ileostomy, I was probably 40 pounds underweight. I was supposed to get it reversed in 4 to 6 weeks from the time I got it. (My issue was a volvulous, so there was no chronic condition that requires me to have a permanent ileo). My surgeon told me I needed to get my weight back up to normal and also get my iron levels back up as I was also severely anemic. She warned me that it would be hard to gain weight with the bag. Wrong thing to say to me. I took it as a challenge, and also since I didn't want to keep the bag any longer than I had to. I was able to gain about 40 pounds in the space of 6 or 7 weeks, and that was with pretty prolific output during that time. I felt like that guy at the hot dog eating contest at times. But it worked. My surgeon was amazed and I got reconnected just a little past where she had said I would. Once I was able, I got back into the gym and also got my eating habits back to where they were, so my weight stabilized at a really comfortable level for me.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 646
   Posted 12/26/2013 7:55 AM (GMT -7)   
I would say it took me a good 3 months to really start putting the weight back on.  For a while there, although I could eat anything, I had almost no appetite, and was completely turned off by sweets.  I was about 108 before my last flare.  Dropped down to 98 before surgery, and came out of the hospital 85 lbs.  I now weigh about 98 lbs again, and that is with eating exactly the same amount as I did at 108 lbs (except waaay more food choices!!).  I know that my oversized, inflamed and diseased colon added a lot of weight to me when I was sick, especially because mine would get so inflamed that nothing would pass through except blood and mucous.     
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