IBS And Weight Gain: What You Need To Know

IBS And Weight Gain: What You Need To Know

People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often experience unwanted weight gain or loss. In this article, we look at the symptoms of IBS and how they may cause weight fluctuations.

The connection between IBS and appetite

Irritable bowel syndrome doesn’t cause a significant change in appetite. But the condition may make some people feel less hungry because of unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, bloating, and abdominal pain after eating.

For others, IBS can increase food cravings due to stress and anxiety that interfere with normal GI functioning and digestive health.

Can IBS cause weight loss?

Yes — but it’s not that common. People with IBS may have other symptoms that can lead to weight loss. These include nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. The discomfort of diarrhea or abdominal pain can also trigger changes in eating habits. A person with IBS might avoid certain foods because they make symptoms worse. Weight loss can also be caused by anxiety and stress, which are common in people who have been diagnosed with IBS.

Stress-related weight gain

Weight gain doesn’t directly result from IBS, but it may be associated with stress related to the condition. Stress triggers inflammatory responses throughout the body, including in the gut.

Inflammation can affect your body’s ability to digest food properly, which can lead to uncomfortable digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, cramping, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea. These symptoms may make you want to eat less or avoid eating.


The symptoms of IBS can be uncomfortable and disruptive to a person’s life. For example, some people may not feel comfortable eating in public.

If these symptoms are causing distress or interfering with daily life, talk to your doctor about treatment options. A doctor may prescribe medication or suggest lifestyle changes to help manage IBS symptoms.

Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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