Weight Gain After Stoma Surgery
I recently posted a Wayback Wednesday post on Instagram & Facebook. I got a fair few comments stating that this was not openly talked about and they were not made aware that this would happen after surgery. We have also had the added lockdown and corona related incidents that have for some of not only caused issues with our mental health but also the associated “lockdown weight gain”.
What we may forget
Weight gain after surgery is not openly discussed. Your surgeon does not say to you that this may happen, for a percentage of us, this does indeed happen. I see time and time again within the stoma groups about weight gain, how this impacts them and everyone is looking for advice to shift some of that weight and to become healthier.
For most of us, weight gain does indeed happen, we were ill at the time of the surgery, the preoperative weight was an indicator for being unwell, taking out the affected parts and feeling better leads to increased food consumption and being able to eat things that don’t cause a stomach upset.
For the first few weeks, it is perfectly normal to drop a little weight. However, once we start eating normally again the weight can come back on thick and fast.
The first 12 weeks after surgery involve a limited diet, our insides are still swollen and until the swelling subsides we are restricted to a low residue, often bland diet which normally revolves around stodgy and carb-based foods.
For some of us, we are limited as to what we can and can’t eat, Those with a colostomy can eat more food groups than those with an ileostomy.
Everyone is different, I can eat popcorn, others may have a blockage caused by this. I, for the most part, can eat most things these days but my stoma is well seasoned and I make sure I chew a lot…. Still can’t eat mushrooms or kidney beans.
My weight has been up and down for years. When I am flaring really bad with my Crohn’s disease my weight can plummet to about 8 st, when I am well and on medication, I can stretch to 15 st on the other side.
After my second surgery in 2016, I gained 4 st in a year. It took me 2 years to lose the weight, it has taken me an even longer year to maintain my weight and find a happy medium.
I started the CrohnsFighting got fat back in 2017. I am currently at a happy medium with my size and weight. I walk miles every week and have a love affair with my fitness pal, I occasionally have cheat days, I still eat cake and I also have a penchant for the brown stuff, preferably in Galaxy form.
Four years with my stoma has taught me that my stoma is better behaved and fewer leaks occur now that my weight is maintained.
After posting to social media regularly during my weight loss journey, I do get asked: how do you do it? What is your secret? Honestly, there is no miracle cure, or fad diets, it has taken more self-control than I knew I possessed, running alongside plenty of exercise.
Given the current situation due to the global pandemic, I am not allowed in the gym, Thankfully I live in the countryside, we now also have a dog so I average 4-8 miles a day walking. I have kept this up for the last 18 months and it keeps me steady.
I have written this to let you know that you are not alone, weight gain is common after surgery.
Many thanks for reading
This blog post is intended to give advice to ostomates. The information given is based on Louise’s personal experience and should not be taken as clinical advice. Each ostomates needs are unique to them and their stoma care routine. Please consult with your Stoma Care Nurse before undertaking any changes to your stoma care routine or if you are experiencing any health issues.