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Can Ibs Cause You To Gain Weight

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Ibs And Weight Gain: What You Need To Know

Can IBS Cause Weight Loss or Gain? – Harsha Vittal, MD Gastroenterologist

IBS is a condition that presents a little bit differently in everyone.

Some people will gain weight while others will find themselves losing weight. It is a fairly common condition, affecting an estimated 20% of U.S. adults.

If you are suffering from IBS, you are not alone. With the correct diet and lifestyle changes, it is a manageable condition.

IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, is a condition affecting the digestive tract, with abdominal pain associated with constipation or diarrhea. Other symptoms of IBS include bloating, nausea, trapped gas, and flatulence.

It is not known exactly what causes IBS, and currently there is no cure. There are theories that IBS develops as a result of impairments in the normal interaction/signaling between your brain and your gut.

The condition is known to be exacerbated by stress and anxiety.

The treatment for IBS is all about management. Trigger foods for IBS flare-ups should be identified and eliminated. Unfortunately, everyone is different. Some may have 1 or 2 trigger foods, while others have many.

Use A Food Diary For Weight Loss

Ive previously written about how tracking our food can improve the quality. You may find that writing down what you eat shows up all those things you previously forgot about.

We also get a good insight into symptom triggers when we have a record of what weve eaten and done over the last few weeks. Use a journal, or my tracker templates you can download from the shop IBS symptom tracker

How Does Ibs Affect My Body

In people with IBS, the colon muscle tends to contract more than in people without the condition. These contractions cause cramps and pain. People with IBS also tend to have a lower pain tolerance. Research has also suggested that people with IBS may have excess bacteria in the GI tract, contributing to symptoms.

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Following A Restricted Diet

Symptom management often involves making dietary changes to avoid known trigger foods. A doctor may recommend a low FODMAP diet to help identify potential triggers and manage symptoms.

FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These short-chain carbohydrates can cause discomfort for people with IBS.

High FODMAP foods that may cause symptoms include:

  • dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and ice cream
  • wheat-based foods, including bread and cereals
  • some fruits, such as apples, pears, and peaches
  • some vegetables, particularly onions and garlic

As the FODMAP diet is so restrictive, people typically follow it in the short term to help identify trigger foods before slowly reintroducing safe foods.

A person who is following the FODMAP diet may overly restrict their diet and unintentionally consume fewer calories, which could lead to weight loss.

How Ibs Causes Weight Gain

What is the Link Between IBS for Weight Gain or Losing ...

Weight change from IBS is likelier to result in weight loss. For irritable bowel syndrome patients, this could be caused by the inefficient nutrient absorption from food and urgent bowel movements that can come right after eating. The discomfort may be associated with food, which could prevent patients from eating.

While uncommon, IBS patients can also experience weight gain which involves a few factors. These include:

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Work With A Professional

Losing weight with IBS isnt impossible, but it can be more difficult due to how you react to healthy foods.

If you want to change your diet but feel like you react to everything you eat please contact me too to discuss an appointment.

I can help you find a diet that works for you and your particular health conditions, your unique situation so that you can achieve your health goals.

Hi I’m Anna Mapson, registered Nutritionist . I help people with IBS, SIBO, reflux and other gut health issues.

I can help you to:

  • understand your digestion better, so you recognise your triggers
  • eat a well balanced diet, with tasty meals that are simple to prepare
  • develop healthy, sustainable habits for life

Anna is amazing! I feel totally transformed”

Losing Weight With Ibs

The best way to lose weight while living with IBS is to attack it from a daily diet standpoint.

For starters, youll want to try and eat a little more fiber than you likely are already. People with IBS can be a little gun shy about adding extra fiber to their diet just because it may cause more gas and worsened IBS symptoms.

But as long as you slowly add between 2 g and 3 g of fiber to your daily diet you should be able to minimize gas and bloating while at the same time improve your digestive capabilities helping you lose weight by shuttling waste out of your body more efficiently.

Its also a good idea to cut back on your overall caloric intake when youre trying to lose weight with IBS.

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How Can I Increase Weight With Ibs

You will likely be feeling quite frustrated trying to work out how to increase your weight without causing IBS symptoms. You may even be thinking that there is only so much of your safe foods that you can possibly eat.

So gaining weight in IBS is like gaining weight at any other time. You need to eat more calories than what you burn off. And, you need to do this consistently.

To gain just 0.5kg a week will mean that you must eat an additional 500 calories each day.

So now you will be thinking great thanks Kirsten, I need to eat more, but how the bloody hell do I do that?

Firstly, you can not do this alone. The very fact that you are struggling to gain weight suggests that your diet is far too restrictive already. You will currently be putting yourself at risk of long term nutritional deficiencies.

You need to get the guidance of a dietitian so you can

  • Ensure your diet is providing you with all those nutrients that you need for good health.
  • Increase your calorie intake with foods that do not worsen your IBS symptoms.
  • Get to the bottom of those IBS symptoms!
  • Hydrate Aim For 8 Glasses Of Water

    Will IBS make you gain weight?

    Ensure youre drinking enough water. When we are very thirsty sometimes our body mistakes these signals as hunger and we end up snacking more than we need to. If youre aiming to lose weight ensure you are drinking enough fluids throughout a day.

    How to do it:

    Drink around two litres of water spaced through the day.

    Avoid alcohol Drinking alcohol can lead to weight gain because often you are drinking a lot of energy. In addition you may find yourself snacking on crisps and other foods whilst drinking or the next day if you feel a little bit hungover.

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    Why Does Ibs Cause Weight Gain

    Can IBS make you put on weight?

    Not only can IBS cause weight gain , but it’s also going to make you feel bloated, make you feel sluggish and fatigued, because you to visit the bathroom a lot more frequently than you’re likely comfortable with and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    Can you live a happy life with IBS?

    IBS is a complex, long-standing illness which is often difficult to diagnose and debilitating to live with. Through a better understanding of the potential triggers, whether linked to diet, lifestyle, stress or other factors, and knowing therapies and changes to make, people can live well with the condition.

    Why does IBS cause water retention?

    In some patients with IBS, there may be dysbiosis of gut microbiota, including the location of bacteria and also the type of bacteria. A second reason for gut distension is water retention, especially in the small intestinal lumen, that can result from the osmotic effect of slowly absorbed small molecules.

    What Is A Functional Gi Disorder

    IBS is a type of functional gastrointestinal disorder. These conditions, also called disorders of the gut-brain interaction, have to do with problems in how your gut and brain work together.

    These problems cause your digestive tract to be very sensitive. They also change how your bowel muscles contract. The result is abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation.

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    How Can I Control Ibs

    It may be frustrating trying to get a handle on IBS. Treatment can often be trial and error. But the good news is that nearly everyone with IBS can find a treatment that helps them.

    Usually, diet and activity changes improve symptoms over time. You may need some patience as you figure out your triggers so you can take steps to avoid them. But after a few weeks or months, you should notice significant improvement in how you feel. A nutritionist can help you plan a healthy, filling diet that meets your needs.

    Develop A Solid Plan To Keep Your Ibs In Check

    IBS And Weight Gain

    The best thing that you can do for yourself is to create a plan that will help you achieve your weight goals. If you dont map out your meals, you can end up triggering your symptoms by consuming too much or by consuming the wrong types of foods.

    Take the time to sit down and plan your day out. What will you have for each meal? What will you eat as a snack between meals? The more solid of a plan you have, the better the chances are that you will achieve your weight goals.

    You will also be able to use this plan to see what foods may or may not work for you. If one food may fill you up too quickly and doesnt contain enough calories, you can replace it with a higher-calorie food that will fill you up less.

    Here is an excellent example of another persons well-constructed meal plan:


    ¼ cup oats, ½ cup nuts and seeds, 1 tbs dried cranberries, cinnamon, full-fat soy milk and 2 tbs coconut cream


    2 rice cakes with thick spread peanut butter and sliced banana


    Low FODMAP salad vegetables, ½ cup each of potato and sweet potato , ½ cup canned chickpeas, ¼ cup nuts/seeds, 30g feta and a good slug of olive oil based dressing


    200g lactose free yoghurt


    Salmon steak cooked in olive oil with 1 cup rice and stir-fry greens topped with sesame oil


    Chia pudding made on coconut milk


    Aim for at least 2-3 low FODMAP milk based options/d in place of free fluids. Having fluids 30 mins away from food may reduce the feeling of fullness.

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    Why Does Ibs Cause Weight Loss

    Diarrhoea dominant IBS may result in weight loss. Diarrhoea is characterised by the abnormally fast transit of food through the gut. This means necessary calorific macronutrients, plus essential vitamins and minerals may be malabsorbed.

    The symptoms of IBS vary greatly from person to person but pain, nausea and loss of appetite are common. These particular symptoms can affect our appetite and result in us expending more energy than we are consuming meaning we are likely to lose weight.

    How To Manage Ibs

    By making certain lifestyle changes, you might get some respite from IBS. Here are some of the things you can do, according to a leading health website:

    • Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages.
    • Steer clear of fried and spicy food.
    • Consume probiotics, as recommended by your doctor.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Take steps to manage stress.

    IBS doesnt have a direct impact on weight. However, it can be a tough condition to live in. Since there is no cure, you must take steps to manage its symptoms. Avoiding IBS triggers is a strategy you can adopt. Other than these, exercise, do stress management, and eat what suits your gut.

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    How Long Should Patients Eat Low

    If low FODMAP foods are useful in managing symptoms, then how come nutritionists dont recommend going on a low FODMAP diet forever?

    This is because high FODMAP foods can also be instrumental in managing IBS. Those included in the high FODMAP list such as garlic, for example, have strong antibacterial properties that could keep infections away.

    More importantly, not all high FODMAP foods produce adverse reactions in patients. It doesnt make sense to completely eliminate high FODMAP foods in your diet, especially since some of these have high nutritional content.

    Can I Join The Take Control Program And Increase Weight With Ibs

    How SIBO Causes Weight Loss… And How to Gain the Weight Back

    Again, Yes!

    So part of the reason for writing about this topic is that I get asked about it all the time from people who are keen to join the program.

    The program includes the low FODMAP diet, which we have already discussed. But, it also addresses regular eating, mental wellbeing and exercise all areas which will help regulate your weight.

    You will also have access to our online community where you can ask me and the other members for support and extra tips where needed.

    Also Check: Align Digestive Care Probiotic Supplement Capsules

    Manage Your Ibs Gain Weight

    Just because you have IBS doesnt mean you have to deal with the extra weight. At Gastro Center in New Jersey, we find ways to improve your lifestyle as a person with IBS.

    With our proactive methods, we can create a diet and exercise plan that fits your needs. Get in touch with us today.

    59 Main Street, Suite 1 West Orange, NJ 07052

    What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider

    If you have IBS symptoms, ask your provider:

    • Could another condition be causing my symptoms?
    • What medications can help?
    • What foods should I avoid?
    • What other lifestyle changes should I make?
    • Can a dietitian help me?
    • Should I see a gastroenterologist?
    • When will I start to feel better?
    • Am I at risk for other health conditions?

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Living with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, can be challenging. IBS symptoms, such as stomach pain, diarrhea, gas and bloating, often interfere with your life. But IBS is manageable. Though there is no cure, you can control and improve symptoms through diet and lifestyle changes. If you have stomach symptoms that arent going away, talk to your healthcare provider. Together, you can find an IBS treatment plan that works for you.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/24/2020.


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    What Dietary Changes Can You Make For Ibs

    It is often recommended that IBS sufferers eat a high fiber diet. The fiber content should be gradually increased over time to avoid causing more gas and bloating.

    A good rule of thumb is to add in 2 to 3 grams of fiber daily and be sure to stay well hydrated. The recommended daily intake of fiber for an adult is around 25 to 30 grams a day.

    It is also advised to spread your meals out more, eating smaller meals more often. Large meals can be harder for your body to digest leading to fullness, nausea and bloating. Smaller meals reduces the strain on your digestive tract.

    It is recommended that you incorporate whole-grain carbohydrates into your diet. You should also keep your fat intake low.

    The best option will be to consult a dietician if you can. They are highly trained professionals and will be able to offer you personalized nutritional advice and are likely to supply you with a meal plan.

    How Can My Doctor Help

    IBS And Weight Gain

    If you experience extreme weight loss or weight gain it is advised that you visit your doctor. Depending on the root of the cause they may be able to prescribe some suitable medication.

    Medication to support weight loss, such as Orlistat, isnt often prescribed unless dietary and lifestyle measures are already in place and weight loss is underway.

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    What Foods Should You Avoid For Ibs

    There are a few foods known to worsen the symptoms of IBS. Dairy, alcohol, and caffeine should be avoided. Many artificial sweeteners like xylitol and sorbitol should also be avoided.

    Cruciferous vegetables, beans, and cabbage are all known to increase gas and bloating. These are high FODMAP foods. The FODMAP diet can be used to identify trigger foods.

    High FODMAP foods should not be regularly consumed if you suffer from IBS. High fat and fried foods can also worsen symptoms.

    Drugs That Can Trigger Ibs

    Some drugs can trigger constipation or diarrhea. People with IBS may have trouble with:

    How to Choose Better Meds:

    • Talk with your doctor about switching to a drug that won’t make your symptoms flare. But ask them before you stop taking your meds.
    • Choose antidepressants wisely. Older ones, called tricyclic antidepressants, can cause constipation. Standard ones, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, like fluoxetine and sertraline , can cause diarrhea. Work with your doctor to find the right one.

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    What Can Someone Do If Their Ibs Is Causing Weight Gain

    Since the bloat, pain, and discomfort are the main reasons why some people are disconnected from their body’s natural hunger cues leading to overeating, Wong said that learning to manage their IBS is the first step to stopping the weight gain.

    Oftentimes, people are told to just live with their IBS, but in reality, there are effective treatments that can help you identify what is causing your IBS, and you can learn to manage it, she said. “It usually requires dietary and lifestyle changes, and sometimes working through the FODMAP protocol to identify personal food triggers,” Wong said.

    Try this:

    This isn’t something you have to deal with on your own! “If you suffer from IBS and are struggling with weight loss or weight gain, it’s always recommended to work with a dietitian who specializes in gut health to help you with weight management,” Wong said.

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