A stereotype exists that implies that if you have Crohn’s disease, you should be underweight. But it is possible to be either underweight or overweight with Crohn’s.
People who are overweight and living with Crohn’s may wonder why so many others are underweight. Diet, physical activity, and medications all play a role.
Diet can be tricky
Losing weight or being underweight is common with Crohn’s, because it affects the body’s ability to digest foods. Malnutrition is a risk and can be difficult to control.
Healthy foods such as raw vegetables, fruits with skin, and grains can be difficult to digest and cause more problems. This can lead to an unhealthy diet that is high in carbohydrates.
Some great online resources compare how well certain foods are digested. Because everyone reacts differently, trial and error is the best way to find what works for you!
Ironically, it is possible to be overweight and malnourished. It is important to see a doctor regularly, follow a healthy diet, and take prescribed supplements.
Depending on the severity of the disease, Crohn’s can be debilitating. Diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fatigue can make physical exertion difficult.
One associated condition is arthritis. Arthritic pain can be intense, making it harder to work out. But a lack of physical exertion can lead to weight gain, so it’s best to try and be as active as possible.
All medications run the risk of side effects. This is especially true for medications used to treat Crohn’s disease.
Corticosteroids such as prednisone are go-to medications to treat and control intestinal inflammation caused by Crohn’s flares. Weight gain is a common side effect. Steroids increase appetite and affect the body’s metabolism.
Weight control is just another hard aspect of living with Crohn’s. Being judged by one’s looks can be frustrating and hurtful.
Do your best to eat healthily and be as active as possible. Whether underweight or overweight, know that you are not alone!
Note: IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of IBD News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to IBD.