Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Weird weight gain
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Weird weight gain

I'd been having stomach pains (later recognizable as gallstone issues) about 4 years ago when one day I woke up with jaundice and started throwing up rather significantly.  It took a while to diagnose me with gallstones and a cystic duct blockage while I continued to not be able to tolerate much in the way of food - couldn't really tolerate any protein or fat and very limited amount of food for about 2 months prior to going into the hospital for an endoscopy.  They did a lithotripsy and a sphincterotomy, and it turned out I was allergic to the demerol and pancreatitis set it.  I was hospitalized and unable to eat or drink for about a week while they got the pancreatitis under control.  Out of the hospital for about a week, in for the gallbladder surgery, out for a little longer, back in to remove the shunt from the sphincterotomy.  Aside from the pancreatitis, the only real complication I seemed to have was allergic reactions to all the narcotic painkillers (morphine, percocet, codine, etc.)  Diloudid was the only one that worked.  Through all this I dropped about 25 lbs.

I'd always been a little chubby (before all this happened) but afterwards I started gaining weight.  Some of it was obvious - I'd not been able to have protein (even vegetable protein) for a long time, and I was starving for it.  I know I had dropped muscle mass - 3 days after the surgery, when the Drs were saying I should be up and carefully able to move around (lacroscopic surgery, so faster recovery time) I was barely able to walk 1 block without being in severe danger of passing out.  I continued to have signs of pancreatitis for a couple of months after I was out of the hospital, but it was no longer acute.

I have gained weight and gained weight and gained weight.  I gained the 25 back and then another 40 lbs in 4 years.  I am hungry like I've never been, and less energetic, and I'm not sure how to bring it under control.  I've talked to my doctor - he's run thyroid (i'm in the normal range) and diabetes (normal, again), and there's just nothing he knows or that I'm finding that shows a causal relationship between pancreatitis and weight gain or gallbladder and weigth gain.  This change, however, clearly stems from the surgery (or rather, the combination of symptoms and procedures).  I've had labwork done to make sure that common nutritional issues are fine (they are), and I've been screened for low-level depression (negative). In the meantime my asthma flared back up to the point where I need daily advair and I am now also on a potassium-sparing diuretic to help with high blood pressure (borderline high).

I've been working out, which is fine, but doesn't help the weight gain, and I went to a nutritionist who told me that I needed to eat less, but had no answers about the cravings or how to stop them.  I'm totally on board with the eating less, but it's like I'm starving. I would like not to be.  I'm really at a loss here. Any ideas?
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Difficult to say without examination.  One medical condition that jumps to mind would be thyroid conditions - which can lead to changes in appetite and can cause both weight loss and gain.

Another condition to consider would be diabetes - which can also lead to some of these symptoms.  

Both of these options can be evaluated with blood tests - and should be discussed with your personal physician.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
http://www.straightfromthedoc.com
2 Comments
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Just to expound on the doc's suggestion of thyroid. Recent recommendations are to narrow the reference range for the most popular thyroid test -- TSH.  Often labs are still listing the wider range, going up to 4 or 5 for norm.  But, the AACE recommends .3-3; another organization recommends topping out at 2 and some prefer to go by the actual thyroid levels.  Testing the T4 and T3 levels can give a better idea of your thyroid production in response to the TSH.  There are some types of thyroid problems that persist with a normal TSH.  

Also review any meds you are taking that might list weight gain or increased appetite as a side effect.  

Other than that, try fitday.com -- you log all of your intake and exercise.  It helps me to see everything graphed.  The older I get the more difficult it seems to maintain my weight, let alone lose.  But I know if I give up, it will be out of hand in no time.  So, I keep on plugging.
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I have just been diagnosed with gallstones after many years of complaining about pain under ribs on right side. First I had a breath test for an ulcer which was positive, they prescribed antibiotics but the pain was still there. Now, reading through the forum (Its my first time here) I seen one message saying about constipation is a symptom. I used to go toilet once a day, for the last 5 yrs I have been going once a week. Last year, developed ulcerative colitis, just in lower end. Apparently a symptom is diareha, I cant spell that, but as I said I only go once weekly! Also, there was a mention of weight gain, i hav gained 3 stone in last 3 yrs but eat less than i used to. I got thyroid checkd as a lot of it in my family, under and overactive, sister with nodule that was making it go over and under.. Mine was clear but i think something is up because im constantly tired, could stay in bed forever but dr says its clear. I hav lump in neck below jawline, below ear, was checked many yrs ago but consultant just felt it and sed oh thats on an artery, if i remove it you could die! I dont believe that but tink it cud be making thyroid messed up; hav vertigo, heavy periods, hair faliin out but strangely am not cold like my sister but constantly sweating. can dr help?
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Avatar_n_tn
I have just been diagnosed with gallstones after many years of complaining about pain under ribs on right side. First I had a breath test for an ulcer which was positive, they prescribed antibiotics but the pain was still there. Now, reading through the forum (Its my first time here) I seen one message saying about constipation is a symptom. I used to go toilet once a day, for the last 5 yrs I have been going once a week. Last year, developed ulcerative colitis, just in lower end. Apparently a symptom is diareha, I cant spell that, but as I said I only go once weekly! Also, there was a mention of weight gain, i hav gained 3 stone in last 3 yrs but eat less than i used to. I got thyroid checkd as a lot of it in my family, under and overactive, sister with nodule that was making it go over and under.. Mine was clear but i think something is up because im constantly tired, could stay in bed forever but dr says its clear. I hav lump in neck below jawline, below ear, was checked many yrs ago but consultant just felt it and sed oh thats on an artery, if i remove it you could die! I dont believe that but tink it cud be making thyroid messed up; hav vertigo, heavy periods, hair faliin out but strangely am not cold like my sister but constantly sweating. can dr help?
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Avatar_n_tn
Do you snore or not get enough sleep?  I have had many problems throughout my system for about ten years and have recently been diagnosed with mixed sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a close brother to Thyroid disease and all the others you have mentioned.  It causes a lack of oxygen in your system while you sleep and causes havoc on all of your organs.  The doctors cannot find out what's wrong because no symptoms are present when you are awake and breathing except you may be gaining weight, having food cravings, sleepy during the day.  Lack of sleep and excessive stress raises your Cortisol levels causing you to gain weight and crave food.  I have been under treatments for about six months and I don't crave food unless I am highly stressed and am maintaining my weight now instead of gaining.  It's really something to think about.  Another thing that might help - get Kevin Trudeau's book at Naturalcures.com - I have been following some of his basics and am starting to feel half alive again.  Hope you feel better soon.
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