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Can you lose weight with Crohn's Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome??

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 I am a 33 yr old woman that was just diagnosed with Crohn's, had a bowel resection and I lost over half of my colon.  After my surgery I gained 70lbs in less than a year (guess because I couldn't eat for six months).

With this disease, I have found that many veggies and fruits aggravate my condition.  It seems the more I diet and eat healthy foods, the sicker I get.  At least twice a month I am bloated to the point I look 12months pregnant. And the real kicker is that I have 3 sizes of clothes in my closet. 

I have looked through all of the forums and have not found anyone discussing this topic.Has anyone else had success losing weight with Crohn's or IBS?  Is there a meal plan or recommendation on food types out there?

I really want to lose this weight and any advise or point in the right direction would help!

Edited Mar 13 2010 21:09 by nycgirl
Reason: 3/4/10: Stickied; 3/14/10: Unstickied
64 Replies (last)

Hello there. I too suffer from Crohn's.  I am 41 and was diagnosed about 15 years ago immediately following a very stressful time in my life.  I have had more flare-ups then I can count, in fact I'd be rich if I had a dollar for everyone of them. Most of my flare-ups were in the beginning of the disease when I was trying to figure out what was making them worse.  I kept a very strict food diary with everything I ate, how I felt, how many BM's I'd had that day, and whether I took my medication pentasa.  After about 2 months I took the diary to my dietican and we analyzed all of it and came up with list of foods to avoid.  (mine are mainly, CORN, broccoli, cauliflower, cooked or raw, green peppers and the list goes on and on) anything very high in fat does not cut it for me, and forget eating in a restraunt esp. breakfast! for some weird reason.  Anyway I have to say that I have been managing my disease rather well if I do say so myself.  I try to exercise regularly and find that I feel 100% better when I do.  I have completely stopped taking the pentasa since Nov. 2008 when I had my last flare up.  My gastro doc is suggesting having a partial bowel resection since my disease has been so well contained and managed for 15 yrs.  He seems to think I could possible be symptom free after it. I had been thinking that this may just what I need but after reading the posts on here withanything regarding resections I am now terrifed!!  Right now I weigh between 10-15 lbs more than I am comfortable with.  I am terrified of gaining weight if I had the surgery (predisone scares me too)  Heart disease runs in my family and I try to take good care of myself and gaining too much weight would be the worst thing I could do.  If I could only list one thing that has made the most difference for me I would have to say it has been exercise.  The better I feel the more aware I am of my body and the more think about what I'm putting in it.  After a resection I would not be able to exercise and am afraid of the result.  Any views?  Much appreciate any input.


Hello. I've been looking for a few years to find a place like this. I have Crohn's and have the same problem as you. The foods I need to eat to loose the weight I need to loose cause major problems, a simple salad and I end up in the hospital. I disparately want and need to loose at least 50lbs but how can I when all I've been able to eat is fattening? I actually have a short list of foods I "CAN" eat without serious consequence; apples, bananas, potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower and carrots (if they're well cooked) fish, chicken, most cuts of beef, sausage, bacon, eggs, and white bread, fried foods aren't a problem unless they're really greasy (fried potatoes are a big NO) I also have a problem with potassium, my levels tend to drop to critical very easily so foods higher in potassium are helpful, although I have a hard time absorbing the nutrients that I need from food. It seams that the fat content isn't a problem in the absorption category. If you have any suggestions I'm disparate to hear them, please feel free to contact me. Thank you and I'm very sorry I can't be of more help right now, if I hear of any thing new I will post it immediately.

I had a resection and would advise only doing it as a last resort. I had NO PAIN or flares for 6mo afterward but have nothing but problems thereafter. My surgery was not a matter of choice however and I praise my surgeon each day that I have with my family regardless of the pain I still feel. The exercising shouldn't be much different than you do now. I simply feel to bad to do much more than light house cleaning and trying to go to work each day. I advise waiting for the mere fact that there is a 90% chance that you will be forced into the same surgery in the future and the more they take out now the less you'll have to offer in an emergancy situation. i hope this help some.

hi there i am a 23 year old female and 10 months ago i was diagnosed with crohns and ulcerative colitis. i was in agony for about a year before they knew what it was and was in hospital for 2 weeks on morphine for the pain.

i have been on numorous steriods and medication ever since and do feel better and i was 11 stone then 8 stone now 11 again! so eating like i was but my gastro dr says i need an operation to remove nearly half of my large bowel!

i am having this done on the 11th may 2009 but very nervous! i am going on a drinking holiday on 5th august and its 12 weeks after the op, could anyone tell me please is this a good idea?

and also could anyone give me any information on this operation? i feel i do not need it but he says i do?

any suggestions n what to do? i am sooooo confused!

thank you

You'll probably get a lot more responses if you start a new thread.

I'm glad they got it figured out and that you're feeling better. A diagnosis of both Crohn's and colitis is strange. Some people who are advised to have surgical resections refuse, and do just fine. For others, it is life-threatening. Only your doctor can tell you if it's safe to put off the surgery. Don't be shy about seeing a different specialist for a second opinion.

The fact that you're eating and you've gained back your weight does not give the whole picture. Bowel disease and the medications used to control it can cause all sorts of other health problems. If you're heavily dependent on prednisone, for example, having a resection might be better than the long-term effects of the drug. Steroids could also be responsible for you getting your weight back. They make a lot of patients eat like hippos.

Regarding your vacation, when is a "drinking holiday" ever a good idea? Depending what they take out and how much, you could be left with the runs. This puts you at increased risk of dehydration. Binge drinking will not help either condition.

Good luck with your treatment. As time goes by, you and your doctor(s) will get really good at managing the disease.

I just needed to chime in here to make sure you are doing your research on Crohn's - I was diagnosed when I was 9 years old and my doctor didn't know a whole lot about it either and I was mis-treated (It was 1989 and there was a lot less info on it then then there is now!).  I would encourage you to at least look into doctors who have more experience treating patients with Crohn's - the experience really does make a difference - for example with the diet.  Surgeries seem to be a cyclical thing so you really need to take care or yourself b/c none of us wants to end up with a colostomy bag!

I was actually misdiagnosed back then and have IBS rather than Crohn's/IBD, but have trouble with lots of foods - especially with an acidy stomach.  Can't do most raw veggies especially not spinach!  Fruits are okay if they have no seeds or I remove the skins.  Starches and lean meats are my best friends.  I have so much trouble loosing weigh and my boyfriend is pushing me to do the South Beach diet and I can't cut out all grains or dairy - thats what keeps my tummy happy.


I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when in the army, and from what I heard many girls get it there because of the stressful job so the first thing you should do is cut down on stress. In addition, every person is different, but my nutritionist said that we all shouldn't eat any "complicated" foods- like fiber, so it is a bit difficult to lose weight because most of the diet foods include fiber.

But still, I've managed to lose around 30 lbs. You probably know that you shouldn't eat big amounts of food at once and it's best to eat every couple of hours. This really minimized my pain attacks (and it's good for losing weight). You should also try boiling veggies - they really don't hurt me as much as the raw ones do. Try to eat as little of dairy products as possible, fish and white meat are great. Do not eat whole wheat pasta or whole rice - too much fiber. Fatty foods and oils aren't too nice either. If you can't eat oil like me, eat some almonds or avocados, since you still need all those vitamins. Also, all the acids in diet drinks are VERY bad for you! For my diet I ate mostly regular food, in little portions, drank lots and lots of water and did lots of exercise. I'm off painkillers and I rarely need them these days.

I think the best thing you can do is find a doctor who specializes in this field or a nutritionist, that would decide on a diet that is best for your condition.

I'm 27 and have been diagnosed with chron's since I was 14. After a year on steroids, I had to have a foot and half of my bowl removed. Since then I really haven't had any major flare ups, but I live with the daily diareha, bloating, gas, occasional cramping, bleeding hemroids, tender stomach and fatigue. I was barely 100 pounds when diagnosed, and two months later with steriods I was up to 160. The weight seems to never come off. Now I am up to 180 and feel horrible about it. Sometimes I just have to tell myself "your just a fat girl accecpt it", and that'll last for a few months then I am on a kick of "i cant take being the fat girl any more". Its such a rollar coaster. I have spoke to my doctor about losing weight and he is more concerned with pushing meds, literally my doc visits he spends maybe 8 mins with me. I am completley exhausted, frustrated and it just seems its impossible to loose weight with chron's. I refuse to take steriods again because I feel like they ruined my life. (if i was on my death bed i would take them). I am having a hard time finding diets that work with my stomach, most vegatables, seeds, nuts, tomatoes, diary products hurt me. Basicly I live on bread, pasta, and rice. I am addicted to caffine (mainly Mtn.Dew), I have quit a few times but find my way back to it. I smoke also, I know all of this stuff is hurting me but seem to come back to the addictions. I am so glad I found this site, I see I am not the only one having problems like this. Most web sites reccomend high calorie diets (assuming we all cant keep weight on). If any one would offer advice and prayers i would greatly appreciate it! So glad I found this!

This is an old post but I thought I would throw in my two cents...

I have been seeing a nutritionist/naturopathy in addition to my regular GI to get extra help with controlling my Ulcerative Colitis.  My nutritionist ran some tests on me to help me discover foods that cause inflammation in my body.  I found out that I have extreme sensitivities to a lot of common foods like bananas, blueberries, cow's milk, vanilla, pork etc.  I've gone to great lengths to cut all my trigger foods out of my diet and not only have I felt great but I've been losing weight a lot more easily than in the past.  I am no longer bloated, I have no cramps, pain, loose stools or bleeding and I can definitely tell a difference if I accidentally eat something that I'm not supposed to.  It's been well worth it!


Hi, i know this is old but here goes for any future posts or others looking this stuff up!! I am 25 years old, I was diagnosed with IBS about 3 1/2 years ago and i have lost about 70 lbs. At first i tried working out out that dropped a few pounds but then life caught up with me and just wasn't motivated anymore. The best thing to do that's helps me (only an Opinion though) is i stopped eating red meat and Pork. I get my protein from Soy products, nuts and beans. I am Asian so i do eat a lot of rice and that seems to help me get full. It is very hard at first but once you convert its well worth it. Turkey burgers actually started tasting like Hamburgers you really cant taste the difference after a while. I do walk maybe 20 min a day or at least three to 4 times a week. I do something physical every day that i don't walk. Also, what helps is activia or something with live cultures, this will help regulate your stomach to lessen the pain if you just cant go cold turkey from the meats. Well good luck to everyone i hope this helps!!  Wink

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Hey i'm 17 and have just gotten a scope and have been diagnosed with chron's (N)... It's soo horrible but this sites really helping me with great tips thanks everyone:)

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Thank goodness I browsed through and found this site.  I too have gained a tremedous amount of weight.  Over 100 lbs just before and after I was diagnosed with crohns disease and then later, buy another doctor also with IBD.  I have been ill off and on with stomach problems for about 10 years. Had to get me gallbladder removed about 5 years ago which I thought was the answer.  I continued having stomach problems that would come and go.  Then, 2 years ago my pain was debilitating.  I have been in and out of the hospital TOO many times and have been put on several medications for pain and nausea.  From everyone and everything I have read, it seemed that people loose weight with these medical problems and here i am gaining weight.  I no longer take pain medication and am just living with it in a sedentary lifestyle and with the weight gain and my medical condition I do not feel much ambition to even take a brisk walk.  I am 42 years old and a single mother of a 10 year old son so all my mental focus is to make sure, no matter how I feel, I am there for him.  My husband passed away 2 years ago and I am simply on my own.  I really wonder if I will ever have just one day of not feeling ill, overweight and alone.  I also have a skin problem where I get cysts and/or boils which, after they leave permanant deep holes on my skin.  Before ending up in the hospital for the first time, I was using a natural colon cleanse supplement.  Some doctors believed that caused my medical condition to worsen because it not only got rid of bad bacteria but also good bacteria.  I could go on forever my medical conditions but I really looking for a way to loose this weight without causing me additional problem.  While I was doing to colon cleanse, I was also eating all organic foods, mostly vegies and whole grain products with the occasional chicken breast.  Well, whole and grain, fruit and most vegies cause major flair ups.  I basically eat pasta with tomatoe sauce.  I love spinach and continue to try eating it.  I don't know if there is any answers for me, but it was nice to know that some people are going through similar situations.  Thanks for taking the time to read my venting.


Keep your head up, be strong!!! Things will get better, trust in yourself! Have you tried walking with your son? Maybe play some basketball or outdoor game with him! He is at the age where that could still be some what fun!! If thats not an option, then jus tbe patient, you are on the right track with the foods! Thats great you were able to change your diet. That is one step closer to your goal of weight loss! I understand the weight gain cause when i got sick was was 190 at 5'2"!! That is huge for someone like me becasue i have always stayed at the 110-115 lbs range for years!! I am now at 134 now! If you ever want to talk or vent just im me!


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Thank you for your support.  It is hard, even for the one's who love you the most to understand what you are going through and somehow it makes me feel as if I am letting them down.  Only being able to take one step at time and just accepting that it will take time is hard for me.  I was always a mult-tasking person who had a great professsion, ate healthy, worked out and boy do I miss that occasion nice glass of burgandy or good martini at a nice restaurant being all dressed up and looking good!! I miss that person.

OK, I will stop my self pity party and count my blessings.



I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease 7 years ago at age 13. I know exactly what you're going through, and I had a bowel resection as well removing part of my small and large intestine. I used to be really sensitive to dairy and fresh vegetables and couldn't eat it for years. But maybe a tip I can give that my doctor gave me is to eat canned vegetables and fruit. They're still somewhat good for you, but they won't hurt you like fresh foods will. I also suggest drinking boost nutrition to help you get those vitamins. I had to do everything I'm telling you. Just make sure you do something like walking a few minutes a day, but don't over exert yourself. Doing that used to make me have episodes (couldn't take gym all through high school). Just keep your head up and stay positive though. I gained lost then gained weight at the beginning of my battle with this. I ended up weighing 236 and being miserable, but after working on it (i'm actually not as sensitive to raw fruits and veggies anymore so I eat them all the time) I weigh 190 now and I'm still losing. So just give it time and you'll be just fine. I'll be thinking of you. Good luck! :)

Hi there.  I was diagnosed with Crohn's 6 months ago.  I put on 30+ pounds from the prednisone only to find out the meds I was on only worked with the prednisone.  I'm struggling to take it off because like you, I can't eat the healthy foods.  I'm dying for a giant salad!  If I hear any good tips I'll post them.  Good luck to all!  HUGS!

Omg! Exactly how I feel! Never thought I will look longingly at people's veggies ><

So question for you? Is there a way you can eat higher calorie vegies? Like avocados? See with my disease I cant eat high calorie foods otherwise I do get really sick. But My husband had Chrones, and I was able to cook leaner meats for him and that helped him alot. I did give him alot of avocados and things like that. Try also going to a nutrionalist they can manipulate the foods you can eat into a diet that works personally to ofit your needs. Good luck with all of this I know its hard but once you find a diet plan that works for you it will get easier!! Stay strong!! If you need someone to talk to about it you can email me anytime!! My IM is

WOW! I have Ulceritive Colitis and this is the first time I have ever read anything about fruits and veggies upsetting the system...they upset mine also! when I was pregnent I started to flare cause I was trying to eat good..more fruits and veggies than normal bad idea! My doc said to go back to my bad diet which was very high in fat donuts and fast food and I was a district manager which ment alot of sitting in a car and driving for long periods long story short I gained 70lbs which stuck! I have yet to find ANYTHING either on what can be done to eat healthier when my system starts to flare if I over do fruits and veggies BLAH! I have found cooking fruits help although now I am not sure cause it takes suger to bake most fruits. I can have a salad about once a week but cooked veggies seem to be ok in moderation. I can't have anything with Aspertame either so I have to be carefull of suger free "low cal" items. Feeling a bit stuck and frusterated on what to have?

Original Post by mariej79:

... I have found cooking fruits help although now I am not sure cause it takes suger to bake most fruits. I can have a salad about once a week but cooked veggies seem to be ok in moderation.

 You don't need sweeteners to cook fruit.  Baked apples or pears are a perfect example.  You can make your own unsweetened applesauce or a stewed fruit compote using a little fruit juice instead of sugar to provide the syrup.  I don't know if pineapple disagrees with you, but slices of grilled fresh pineapple are delicious. 

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