Weight Loss

Diarrhoea and Weight Loss: What You Need to Know

Mehak Shah

December 6, 2022

Does diarrhoea make you lose weight? The answer is yes. But is it a holistic or healthy way to lose weight? Or is it something you should be worried about? Well, it may not be a good idea if you want to have a long-term, stable and sustainable weight loss. Almost all of us have experienced diarrhoea at some point in our lives. Even though it is not a severe but short-term condition, the symptoms aren’t comfortable.

Weight loss and diarrhoea are not the same things. Some people with diarrhoea may unintentionally lose 1 or 2 pounds if it extends up to 3 days. According to research, diarrhoea is a common digestive problem that leads to weight loss due to poor absorption of nutrients. However, there is no assurance that everyone will rapidly drop some pounds just because of diarrhoea since the body is constantly processing food and passing waste.

Do you want to learn more about the mysterious connection between diarrhoea and weight loss and how to deal with the condition? Scroll on to discover!

Is Diarrhoea a Concern of Diet?

Diarrhoea is a widespread condition, happening in most people a few times every year. It causes watery and loose stools, increasing bowel movement frequency. It will make the affected person feel weak and tired as the body has to lose a lot of fluid quickly, resulting in dehydration. Prolonged diarrhoea is a dietary concern since it can cause significant weight loss. It’s normal for your weight to fluctuate a bit due to digestive issues. However, it does not imply a healthy weight loss. 

How Diarrhoea Causes Weight Loss?

Chronic diarrhoea, which lasts more than weeks, makes the body lose plenty of fluids. The loss of body fluids may impact your weight. The other symptoms accompanied by the condition, such as vomiting and lack of appetite, also make it difficult to hold any food or liquid nutritional sources in the stomach. These symptoms will decrease the intake of calorie levels, aiding in the involuntary weight loss process. The rate of weight loss depends on how prolonged and intense diarrhoea is. However, any lost weight due to diarrhoea is primarily water weight. Once your bowel movements and appetite are restored, you will also regain the weight back to normal. Moreover, the weight loss caused by diarrhoea depends on the type you are affected by. It is of two types, acute and chronic diarrhoea, each with a unique mechanism for weight loss.

Acute diarrhoea usually affects a person for 24 to 48 hours, and the maximum amount and frequency of bowel movements can range from 5 to 7 times a day. It may cause sudden energy flush due to a lack of nutrition absorption. 

Chronic diarrhoea may affect a person for several weeks, and nutritional loss will take place for a longer duration. A person may feel fatigued most of the time. The bowel movements range from 3 to 4 times per day.

And by the way, there are more insights about diarrhoea and weight loss. Here is a laundry list of surprising health conditions directly or indirectly related to diarrhoea that can lead to weight changes.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common disorder that leads to persistent diarrhoea or constipation. It occurs due to gut microbial imbalance and can cause symptoms like gas, bloating, anaemia, and unexplained weight loss.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases like Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis affect the digestive tract and its normal function. As a result, it prevents nutrient absorption, causing anaemia and weight loss.

Celiac Disease

Also known as Gluten Intolerance, celiac disease is an immune-mediated condition that induces an autoimmune response against gluten, a specific protein. As a result, it may cause severe damage to intestinal walls, resulting in malabsorption of nutrients, diarrhoea, and weight loss.

Chronic Infections

Constant exposure to contaminated water and food with bacteria or parasites can lead to chronic microbial infections and persistent diarrhoea. As a result, it damages the intestines, leading to malnutrition and unexpected weight loss.

Malabsorption Syndrome

In this condition, the body lacks certain digestive enzymes. As a result, it causes the food to remain unabsorbed and undigested. Also, over time, it might lead to weight loss due to malnutrition. Similarly, injury to the intestinal wall will block nutrient absorption, resulting in weight loss.

Keto Diet

The high fat and low carb diet, known as keto, make it challenging for your body to process the food. It will eventually result in diarrhoea, affecting your weight and overall health.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose is a sugar naturally present in milk and other dairy products. However, most people have lactose intolerance, an inability to digest lactose, which results in diarrhoea after consuming dairy products. In addition, the undigested lactose will cause an imbalance in the gut, leading to abdominal pain and short-term weight loss.

The HealthifyMe Note

Diarrhoea leads to short-term weight loss, affecting your appetite or energy levels. And yes, if you were wondering, diarrhoea is not a solution for your weight concerns. The actual weight loss journey is anything but fast and requires a balanced diet and proper exercise. 

Tips to Deal With Weight Loss Caused by Diarrhoea

Enduring diarrhoea that extends for several days and up to a week can be severe and discomforting to your routine life. In addition, it will cause unintentional weight loss. It can lead to various health problems, including fatigue, malabsorption, and lack of nutrition. 

Here are some of the effective tips to deal with diarrhoea.

Drink Plenty of Water

When your body becomes dehydrated due to diarrhoea, it leaches out the retained water from muscles and internal organs, trying to compensate for the lack of water. Hence it is essential to consume plenty of water when you experience diarrhoea which also aids in weight management. However, avoid drinking too much water or other fluids.

Avoid Consumption of Excess Sugar

When you are suffering from diarrhoea, you should avoid consuming food with high sugar concentrations. It includes soda, sports drinks, and other carbonated drinks. Instead, drink a healthy substitute such as plain water or unsweetened tea instead of sugary beverages if you want to maintain optimal weight.

Increase Intake of High-Fibre Foods

Fibres play a critical role in helping the individual shed weight without bingeing on unhealthy snacks. In addition, eating high-fibre foods is a great way to shed pounds and manage diarrhoea without relying on medications. 

Eat Good Fats

People experiencing diarrhoea might crave foods with high-fat content because of the imbalance and improper functioning of their digestive system. To avoid more effects of upset stomachs, try to include good fat foods such as nuts, seeds, and avocados. These will help you gain the extra energy to keep you active throughout the day.

The HealthifyMe Note

Weight loss due to irregular bowel movement is temporary, as it is only the loss of water. Hence it would help if you did not consider it an ideal way to shed some kilos. However, including more fibre in the weight loss diets will support weight management and ensure regular bowel movements. If you’re experiencing prolonged diarrhoea or concerning weight loss, it’s worth talking to your doctor. 


Some people believe diarrhoea is a form of dieting. Even though it causes weight loss, diarrhoea is not an ideal means of the process. Such sudden unexplained loss of weight may indicate underlying health issues. Intentionally inducing diarrhoea will cause abdominal pain and digestive problems and might even cause a decline in overall health.

Be it acute or chronic diarrhoea, you will lose weight due to loss of body fluids, severe dehydration, and reduced intestinal absorption of nutrients. Therefore, aim to lose weight only through the aspects of diet and exercise, not by influencing bowel movement. Simply put, a healthy weight loss journey should perfectly combine a balanced diet, regular exercise, and active lifestyle changes, improving overall health.

About the Author

Mehak holds masters in foods and nutrition from Amity university, Noida. She has a keen interest in public health and nutrition and has been in charge of various projects with milestone NGO. She has worked with people over the globe to bring out the changes in their lives and has always been working towards lifestyle modifications via good dietary practices. According to her a healthy lifestyle is not about the destination but all about the journey.

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