Weight loss during diarrhea

Weight loss causes

How much weight can you lose from diarrhea?

Diarrhea is a condition in which, the individual suffering from it, has frequent bowel movements, nausea, vomiting, and excess loss of water in the body. Diarrhea is usually caused due to various reasons such as food poisoning, bacterial infection, allergy, parasite entry, and many more.

Usually, diarrhea, last for 4-6 days, and will go through certain medication, but if the case got serious it can stay up to 2-3 weeks, which eventually makes your body weak and fatigued. And if you seem to have a weight loss during this phase then diarrhea is the only reason, as the water content in the body becomes less and the food is always sent out. Eventually leading the fat turns into protein and makes your body lose weight. 

The amount of weight you can lose during diarrhea can be dependent on the severity of diarrhea, you have, the food you take, and the water content you take. And few people believe that the weight lost during diarrhea is usually water loss but not actual fat loss.

What diarrhea causes weight loss?

Diarrhea is of various kinds, as there many reasons for it to occur. Chronic diarrhea is considered to have weight loss. Here are a few other situations that can cause weight loss:

  1. Inflammatory bowel disease: Leads to malabsorption of nutrients
  2. Celiac disease: The body loses the ability to tolerate gluten which leads to weight loss.
  3. Chronic pancreatitis: Inflammation to the pancreas is caused.
  4. Hyperthyroidism: Too much production of thyroid hormone and increased metabolism.

Does diarrhea make you lose weight?

Yes, diarrhea can make you lose weight, and it is crucial to treat the underlying cause of diarrhea rather than use it as a weight loss strategy since diarrhea is a sign of an underlying medical issue or illness. It's crucial to get medical help if you have diarrhea for a prolonged length of time since persistent diarrhea can cause dehydration and other health issues.

How much weight loss is concerning?

Losing weight around 3 to 5 kgs per month is considered normal, and this process should be stopped in 2-6 months based on your weight loss goals. But the weight loss shouldn’t exceed more than 5 kgs per month, and if it is more than 5 kgs, it is highly recommended to consult your health care professional to stop further loss and know the underlying reason. If weight loss is a reason for your effort in diet and workout then it is healthy but if it is irrespective of your actions, then you need to be concerned and seek medical help.

How can I gain weight after diarrhea?

Here are a few tips for you to gain weight, if you lost weight during diarrhea.

  1. Drink more water and fluids
  2. Eat small quantities in regular intervals
  3. Include healthy fats
  4. Consume protein supplements
  5. Give excess workouts a break
  6. Do regular medical checkups

6 Other causes Of Sudden Weight Loss:

1. Muscle Loss:

Muscle loss also known as muscle atrophy is a major symptom of muscle weakness. Generally, your body is made up of fat mass and fat-free mass which includes bones, muscles, and water. So, if you lose muscle you’ll lose weight.  

This is very common in people who do not exercise regularly or have work desk jobs or are bedridden. Following proper exercise and eating nutritious food can easily reverse muscle loss. Below are a few other causes of muscle loss that lead you to lose weight unknowingly.

  • Burns
  • Stroke
  • Aging
  • Injuries
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Nerve Damage

2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease:

Sudden weight loss may also happen due to the disease called inflammatory bowel disease often called IBD. It encompasses several chronic inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract. The chronic inflammation of IBD keeps your body in a catabolic state which means your body is using your energy constantly. It also disrupts ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and leptin, the satiety hormone. You can easily prevent this disease by following a nutritious diet or by taking proper medications or sometimes surgery.

3. Tuberculosis:

Tuberculosis is another common reason behind your sudden weight loss. It is a cautious condition that affects your lungs, where weight loss and decreased appetite are major symptoms of TB. It spreads through the air, if your immune system can fight it the bacteria can become inactive which is called latent tuberculosis.

Some other tuberculosis symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • A bad cough that lasts more than 3 weeks
  • Chest pain

4. Addison's Disease:

Addison’s disease develops when the immune system attacks the adrenal glands. When they attack adrenal glands can't make enough hormones like cortisol which is responsible for metabolism and appetite. Low levels of cortisol may lead to poor appetite and weight loss.

Other symptoms of Addison's disease include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Salt cravings
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle weakness

5. Pancreatitis:

Pancreatitis is a problem related to the pancreas which produces enzymes that aid in digestion, this is another cause of unexpected weight loss. When you have this disease, the pancreas becomes inflamed and doesn't produce enough enzymes for the proper digestion of food.

Other symptoms of Pancreatitis also include:

  • Stomach Pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea after eating fatty foods

6. Rheumatoid Arthritis:

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your joint lining and causes inflammation. Chronic inflammation in joints can speed up metabolism and reduce overall weight easily.

Treatment of RA starts with medication and the medications include antirheumatic drugs, biologics, corticosteroids, and inhibitors.

Take Away

Losing weight without trying should be a concern. It might indicate some underlying issues with your health. You must be aware of the things that are happening in your body before it's too late.

It is completely normal for your body weight to fluctuate but, if you're losing weight without making any changes in your lifestyle then it's time to consult your doctor. And the consultation is recommended every 6-12 months and try to note down symptoms to talk over with your doctor over the period. 


Does diarrhea remove calories?

Yes, diarrhea can help lose calories, but that depends on the severity of the diarrhea, and the time period it stayed. The more time it stayed, the more chances of losing weight. 

Is diarrhea bad for weight gain?

Yes, diarrhea is a situation where you lose weight, and it is very hard to gain weight. During diarrhea, you tend to lose more water content from the body and also have frequent bowel movements.   

How can I have diarrhea and not lose weight?

Taking more fluids and having healthy fats and proper medication, can help you hold your weight during diarrhea.


Diarrhea and weight loss: What you need to know? By Healthify Me, Dec 6, 2022.

Diarrhea and weight gain. By Medicine Net, Jun 15, 2020.

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