IBS and Weight Fluctuations

Last updated: October 2022

I recently had a health scare. Before the issue was discovered, I was stuck in a nonstop IBS-D flare and had lost a decent bit of weight. This was underweight for me, and I was unhappy. As things started to even out, I gained some weight back. I was at an ideal weight for myself. Now, I have gained up to a weight that I do not like.

In 5 months, I gained a total of 15 pounds. I often tell people I am built like a Dr. Seuss character, and it’s true. I have tiny arms and legs and gain all my weight in the middle. Slap a star on my growing belly, and I’ll be a sneetch.

Losing weight due to medical issues and an IBS-D flare

I had a slow GI bleed for over a year. That is quite obvious now, as I ignored the symptoms of it for far too long. It also caused a year-long IBS-D flare, and the combination left me shedding many pounds. I lost too much. When I finally evened out, I was content with my weight again.

The IBS-D flare ended, and it seemed like everything had improved and would be smooth sailing for a while. I finally regained the weight I had lost and looked healthier. I felt better. The clouds seemed to part, and the sun shone down on me. It was about time.

Gaining weight after resolving medical issues

I thought I was just bloated for a while, and it would eventually resolve itself as it always has. It wasn’t until I returned to my doctor that I discovered I had indeed gained weight. It was actual weight and not just bloating. And it was 15 pounds of weight in just a few months.

I told people that gaining weight was a side effect of no longer bleeding internally. Joking about it made me feel a little bit better about my weight gain until my weight became a bit too much for my liking.

Preparations for weight fluctuations failed

I keep several clothing sizes because I am accustomed to fluctuations due to IBS-D and IBS-C flares. My weight (and size) changes if I am stuck in either type of flare for too long. It climbs higher now that I am older. Hormonal issues aren’t doing me any favors.

I dragged out my largest sizes and realized I had nothing I could wear aside from my stretchy pajama pants and one pair of capris. Even my t-shirts were too tight. I was devastated that I had outgrown even my most oversized clothing.

Consequences of weight gain

I put it off as long as possible, but I had to buy new clothing to fit my growing self. It was depressing just thinking of the task. It was even more depressing when I realized I had more than doubled in pant size. I sighed so deeply that I am confident it resonated worldwide and begrudgingly grabbed a couple of pairs of stretchy pants.

Now, this isn’t just a vanity issue. Don’t get me wrong. Some of it is vanity, but I have mobility issues, and the extra 15 pounds worsen that. While Ienjoyg being mostly flare-free, I also know that a severe IBS-D flare could wipe out all the weight gain, and a severe IBS-C flare could make it worse. That makes the idea of having a flare even worse. So, here I am, trying not to stress too much about overweight fluctuations and what type of flare will happen next.

Have you dealt with fluctuations in weight due to IBS flares? How did you handle it? I would love to hear about your experience.

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