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Healthline Weight Loss

Ulcerative Colitis and Weight Gain

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and bloody stools. Although weight loss is a common symptom of UC, the condition can sometimes cause a person to gain weight.
UC is a relatively common long-term condition that causes the immune system to react abnormally. This immune reaction produces inflammation in the colon and causes ulcers to appear in the colon’s inner lining.
A person with UC may experience some of the following symptoms:
UC can cause various other symptoms, which include fatigue, a loss of appetite, fever, nausea, and anemia.
These symptoms often only appear during flare-ups, which usually appear before a period of remission. When a person is in remission, they may experience few or no symptoms.
Although it is common to lose weight as a result of UC, some people may gain weight due to the disease.

Can ulcerative colitis lead to weight gain?

UC can cause both weight gain and weight loss.

UC can affect a person’s ability to digest food properly and absorb nutrients from it. Due to this, it can lead to serious vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition. Both of these effects can cause a person with UC to lose weight.

However, there are several reasons why UC can also cause a person to gain weight. These include:

  • issues eating certain foods
  • difficulty exercising
  • certain UC medications that may promote weight gain

Can Ulcerative Colitis lead to bloating?

There is not much research into whether UC can cause bloating. However, a 2016 studyTrusted Source found that people with inflammatory bowel disease, which includes UC, had significantly worse belly pain, gas, and bloating than people in the general population.

Bloating vs. weight gain

Bloating is different than weight gain. Weight gain occurs over time when a person regularly eats more calories than they use through exercise and normal bodily activities.
Bloating occurs when a person’s gastrointestinal tract is full of air or other gasesTrusted Source.
When bloated, a person may find that their stomach feels full and tight as though they have eaten a big meal. This sensation can be uncomfortable or even painful, and it may cause a person’s stomach to appear bigger than usual.

Causes of weight gain

There are several possible causes of weight gain in people with UC.

Difficulty eating certain foods

Some people with UC may have issues eating certain foods that typically form part of a nutritious diet, such as whole grains, cruciferous vegetables, fruits with skin and seeds, and nuts. Different foods can trigger flare-ups for different people.
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