Let’s face it; abrupt yet unexplained weight loss can take a toll on your self-confidence and overall well-being. You may be tempted to jump to conclusions and assume that you are doing something wrong. However, in some cases, the cause of weight loss may be due to a digestive disorder.
Digestive disorders can range from mild to severe and can cause various symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. In addition to these symptoms, some digestive disorders can also cause weight loss.
The most common digestive problems that cause weight loss are Crohn’s disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, peptic ulcers, and celiac disease. This in-depth yet straightforward blog delves into each of these diseases, discussing their symptoms, how they cause weight loss, and the treatment options available. We’ll also discuss when is the appropriate time to seek medical help.
There are several digestive diseases that cause weight loss. But today, we’ll focus on the five most prevalent ones.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the digestive tract, causing inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, and weight loss. The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Its symptoms may include:
Crohn’s disease can cause weight loss in several ways:
The treatment of Crohn’s disease depends on the severity of the symptoms and the type of Crohn’s disease. Treatment options include medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressants, antibiotics, and biological therapies. Additionally, lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet, exercise, and stress management can also help manage the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body processes sugar. It occurs when your body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use insulin properly. Symptoms of diabetes include:
Diabetes can cause weight loss in several ways. But here are the three main ones:
The treatment of diabetes depends on the type of diabetes and the severity of the symptoms. Treatment options include medications such as insulin, oral medications, and injectable medications. Additionally, lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet, exercise, and sufficient sleep can also help manage the symptoms of diabetes.
Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid is a digestive disorder in which the thyroid gland produces too much of the thyroxine hormone. Too much of this hormone can lead to potentially harmful health complications if left untreated. Its early symptoms may manifest in the forms of:
Below are common ways hyperthyroidism can cause weight loss:
The treatment options for hyperthyroidism range from medication to radiotherapy to surgery, depending on the condition’s severity. For instance, thioamides are medicines commonly used to treat hyperthyroidism, stopping your thyroid from producing excessive hormones. Radioactive iodine treatment is also a radiotherapy option that can help reduce the production of hormones in the thyroid. But surgery is also an option for those with severe hyperthyroidism, e.g., severe thyroid swelling.
The fourth digestive disorder that can cause weight loss is peptic ulcers. Peptic ulcers are sores in the stomach lining, small intestine, or esophagus due to an infection with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Common symptoms of peptic ulcers include:
Peptic ulcers can cause weight loss due to the following:
If you suspect you have peptic ulcers, it is vital to seek medical attention. Treatment options for peptic ulcers include antibiotics to kill the H. pylori bacteria, medications to reduce stomach acid production, and lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption. Surgery may also be necessary in some cases.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system. It is caused by an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, leading to difficulty digesting food. Common symptoms of celiac disease include:
Celiac disease can cause weight loss due to various reasons, including:
The only treatment option for celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet. That means avoiding all foods that contain wheat, barley, and rye. Additionally, it is essential to take dietary supplements to ensure you are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with digestive disorders, it is important to seek medical help. Your doctor will be able to diagnose the condition and recommend a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs. Additionally, they will test, diagnose, and treat you for any other conditions and diseases and provide advice on maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.
Here are a few more signs you need to seek immediate medical attention for your digestive disorder that causes weight loss:
So there you have it – a comprehensive overview of what digestive disorders cause weight loss, their symptoms, and treatment options. In a quick recap, reasons for weight loss due to digestive disorders may include malabsorption of nutrients, inflammation, and difficulty digesting food. At the same time, common symptoms of digestive disorders include diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating and gas, constipation, vomiting and nausea, and fatigue. As for treatment options, your doctor may recommend a strict gluten-free diet, OTC medications, dietary supplements, surgery, and lifestyle changes.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with digestive disorders, it is critical to seek medical help. At Allied Digestive Health, ADH, we are a team of highly qualified gastroenterologists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants passionate about providing the highest quality of care for our patients. We offer a wide range of services, from diagnosis and treatment to nutrition counseling and lifestyle advice. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you!