"Have You Gained Weight?"

When Doctors Ask, "Have You Gained Weight?"

I had a doctor’s appointment a few weeks ago with a specialist I have seen for years and the very first thing my physician said to me was, “have you gained weight?"

The answer was yes. I had gained weight since I haven’t been able to exercise, my sleeping was pretty non-existent, pain was a huge problem, and I was constantly self soothing with unhealthy foods.

Weight loss or weight gain with Crohn's or UC

There are so many reasons for weight fluctuations when you live with a chronic illness like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (IBD). I have delved into this topic a lot more in other articles but some quick highlights are:

  1. Medication side effects - many inflammatory bowel disease patients are put on steroids at some point which usually leads to weight gain.
  2. Surgery- it is common for those with Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis to undergo at least one surgery. Depending on the recovery, disease progression, type of surgery, etc… having surgery can lead to an increase OR decrease in weight.
  3. Intense pain for any reason can also cause someone to be out of their usual “healthy routine.” For example, when one is in a lot of pain, exercising can be too difficult. It can become impossible to sleep (aka painsomnia.) Eating habits usually change also when there is an increase in pain. Mental health generally suffers. Therefore, depending on the situation and coping mechanisms possible for the individual, excessive pain can cause a person’s weight to increase OR decrease.

When doctors comment on weight

So, even though there are a lot of reasons why my (or your) weight might fluctuate, it is still difficult for me to talk about. It is not something I want to openly discuss with anyone really, let alone a doctor.

I despise when doctors comment on my weight because let's face it, if we have gained or lost weight, we know about it. We feel it. I do recognize that I am overly sensitive to this topic and weight is a part of an overall health assessment BUT that doesn’t negate the terrible feelings I have from it being brought up.

Do doctors take an IBD patient who has lost weight more serious?

I truly believe I wouldn’t care as much about certain weight fluctuations if I didn’t feel like it was on display a lot. I do feel as though doctors take me more seriously when I am underweight as I talked about in this article here: misconceptions about weight and IBD.

I actively avoid doctors who I need in my life {like the one a few weeks ago} but who never fail to mention my weight somehow.

I once went without much-needed medication for an entire month, which brought about awful side effects and problems, just because I did not want to see this doctor for refills. I know it sounds silly but I am sure those of you who have IBD or any chronic illness can understand where I am coming from.

Body image, eating problems, and weight fluctuations with IBD

How do you feel about this? Can you relate?

Remember, you are not alone. Body image issues, eating problems, and weight fluctuations are a constant source of stress and anxiety for MANY people who live with a severe chronic illness like inflammatory bowel disease.

It is one of the reasons I talk about it so much. I may not be open about it with physicians and other people in my life but with my chronic illness family, I share these challenging things with you so you know you are not weird or screwed up for feeling the way you do. IBD is screwed up. We are awesome!

the very first thing my physician said to me was, “have you gained weight?”

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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