Weight gain struggles: I am 2 years... - Oesophageal Patie...

Oesophageal Patients Association
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Weight gain struggles

I am 2 years post op and still struggling to put on weight. I eat like a horse and don't seem to be able to gain any weight. I have developed a Gluten intolerance post op which doesn't help matters. It is so frustrating. Anybody else having similar issues?

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Morning WW

I am coming up for three years post op. From conversations with others I think that 18 months to 2 years seems to be the point at which you might (I say might) begin to regain weight. I started putting weight back on after 18 months and muscle after 24. But it's a long hard slog. 

At least you are eating. That sounds good - the body is using the fuel to mend the damage and when it's ready weight can reappear. It's frustrating but it does take time

If you need to talk to someone you can call the OPA helpline on 01217049860 

Haward

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Hi WW,

I've had weight gain issues for a while. A couple of points which helped me:

1. Lots of chips and ice cream

2. Probiotics to get more calories out of the food you are eating.

3. I take 25mg of amytriptline at night - side effect is weight gain as well as ensuring a good nights sleep. Speak to a GP.

Hope that helps,

Jay

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Hi Jay. I hadn't thought of ice cream and chips. On balance I'm going keep putting tomato ketchup on my chips. 

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Hi there,

I am just over six months post op and weight loss and eating issues are at the moment the bane of my life.

Like you I eat like a horse but it makes absolutely no difference I am now below seven stone down from ten and a half and suffering from the dreaded diarrhea since last Christmas. I am also having dumping syndrome all the time and loads of flatulence!

After appealing to the specialist for some kind of help I have finally had the hydrogen breath test and tested positive for SIBO, which is a bacterial overgrowth which can be treated (hopefully) I won't find out until my next appointment at hospital which is the end of the month.

I am hoping that a course of antibiotics will allow me to start increasing my weight, at the moment I need heavy boots to stop the wind blowing me over! I am like you utterly frustrated being so thin and light weight. I eat things on the basis of 'Will they cause me pain' I have had to cut out all cereals, bread, pastry and now all sweet things after a horrible period of palpitations and some kind of anti reaction to sweet things.

I would ask, do you have any other similar symptoms? because if you had this SIBO thing that could possibly explain it. The other thing is sometimes your body because of the operation and alteration to your digestive system is not absorbing the nutrients as it should. My dietitian prescribed creon 2500 which is a replacement for the enzymes which your pancreas has stopped producing, it didn't work for me, but it may be worth considering for you. Anyway good luck with it and if you do discover anything which helps you put on weight, let me know as well, we all work together on here!

Best wishes Richard

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Hi. That just sounds identical to me! I have been taking Creon and take it but the bucket load but doesnt appear to do too much. I had the bacterial overgrowth and had an antibiotic but it came back. I also went to see a Kinesiologist who said Wheat is an issue. I also am bad on sugar and used to get a lot of palpitations but they have settled down.  I am on loperamide all day and have wild diarrhoea in the morning after waking up. It's so frustrating.  Apart from the weight I feel great! My flatulence was brutal until I left off the wheat.

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It took me 7 years to gain normal weight back...

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that is a really long time...

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Your weight in itself may well not be a health issue - provided that you are taking in and absorbing adequate nutrition; and that your weight is stable.   Some people have to get used to being a new normal weight, lighter than they used to be, and with a different body image (and wardrobe).   It is definitely good to eat well, but if you eat in order to put on weight, you will run the risk of problems with fatty and sugary food (eg insulin spikes).

If you are not gaining, or losing weight because of persistent diarrhoea then it must be investigated.   A good gastroenterologist may well be thinking about small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).   It can be difficult to sort out, and will recur, given a chance.   Part of the problem is that there is less or no normal stomach acid in the system to control the natural bacteria that develop.   I know one person whose gastroenterologist planned and prescribed three different antibiotics over a three month period - ciprofloxacin, doxycycline and erythromycin, with probiotics VSL3 for the final month, and then to follow a FODMAP diet.    This was to combat the diarrhoea.   I have also heard that questran / cholestyramine and rifaximin can help some people, but with all this you need to be under the guidance of a gastroenterologist.   There is a good proportion of people who suffer from digestive problems as late effects after cancer treatment, but this problem is being better recognised these days by the gastroenterology world.

There are information sheets about low GI diet on the OPA website opa.org.uk/pages/factsheets...   One rule of thumb is to eat as if you were a diabetic.   The cereals, bread and so on may well have a high sugar content that would give you problems.  

Some people do have particular problems with noxious wind first thing in the morning, and then as the day progresses it passes off (as it were).

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Yeah I had that SIBO, I presumed it had gone as has the flatulence during the day. I do have pretty violent diarrhoea first thing in the morning. Could set my clock by it! The loperamide keeps it in check during the day thankfully. Might still have a touch of the SIBO possibly

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I was six stone six when I left hospital following my op and it took me three years to regain my normal weight.   Had to eat all the food that is usually considered bad for you Jersey Milk, cream, ice cream.  I am now at the stage where I have to watch what I eat.  Last night I went out and tried three dresses on none of which now fit me.

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I was lactose intolerant until 4 years post surgery but I found that what I could eat increased with time and I am at my pre-cancer weight and have been for years, I am a 9.5 year esophageal cancer survivor who had chemo with the 'hope of surgery' which I did in Feb 2007 and I had my son over 6 years ago, my daughter over 4 years ago.  I still can not eat certain things, I love broccoli but it gives me dumping syndrome as does low fat milk.  I am also 42 at this stage and enjoying being a wife and mother (I married my husband 2 weeks post chemo).

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