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Gaining weight after surgery

Hi all. So prior to herniating my disc I was working really hard on my diet and exercise. It was going great. The weight was steadily coming off, I was feeling so good about myself and had loads of energy. Then the tables turned and I ended up bed ridden for several months. I still continued to lose weight, I think my motabolism kept going even though I was seditary. I also wasn't eating very much because I was extremely depressed. I know some of the weight loss was muscle, my legs have lost a lot of muscle. So in total I lost about 45 pounds pre op. It's only been 5 days since surgery and I've packed on 6 pounds. My eating has been a bit out of control, I'm constantly hungry which was the complete opposite before. Before surgery I was hardly hungry. I only ate maybe once or twice a day and I would get full very fast off of small amounts of food. I know it's pretty soon after surgery and it could all just be a combination of things but I just thought about something in particular. Steroids.

Now I haven't had steroids since I was a kid. I had a bee sting and they gave me steroids to help the swelling but it actually made it worse so since then I've tried to steer clear of it. Even when I was offered steroid injections for the hernia I refused. When I had surgery 5 days ago he did say he put some steroids in me before he closed up my incision to help with the swelling. Anyone think that the steroids and my constant hunger could be related? Or maybe the drugs? Anethesia? I'm also taking Dilauded for pain. Just curious if anyone else has experienced this after surgery. Maybe it's just that my happiness is coming back and so is my appetite lol. 

I worked so hard before all of this to lose weight and I was so happy that I kept it off all this time, it's very discouraging that it's coming back now. I'm definitely going to crack down on my eating habits and make sure I'm eating healthy from here on out but the constant hunger I find a bit weird. 



  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,431
    edited 09/06/2017 - 4:13 AM
    I think you pointed out some of the reasons why you are currently gaining a little weight. Activity / Medication / Diet

    Activity: This is always something that needs to be really balanced. Upward changes in body weight after surgery, I have to imagine is going to be larger when the person has always been active. Your body has adjusted to a specific over life style. Spinal problems crop up and at times its harder to keep up with the things you know you should be doing. Then surgery happens and for a while everything gets put on hold. From normally active people, this is hard to deal with. But initially, even simple type of exercises hurt. Over time this should change and you should be able to slowly build back up. But before you do that or set a goal, you should talk to your doctor to see that both of you have basically the same goal and how to achieve it. Last thing you want is to do something wrong, that can potentially hurt you down the road.

    Medications: I dont recall if you are currently using any nerve medication (ie Lyrica and/or Neurontin) Both of those come along with a pretty solid statement that weight gain is almost to be expected. Now steroids, one of the potential side effects of one, such as Prednisone ( is a corticosteroid, a man-made form of the steroids.) is weight gain!

    Here is a set of articles you might find good reading.
    Nutrition: Nutrition - Diet - Weight Loss - Exercise
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • @dilauro see I could totally understand both of those factors if I had started gaining weight 3 months ago when I became seditary but instead I still continued to lose weight over the past 3 months even while being bed ridden. It just seems that these past 5 days after surgery that I've noticed to really be packing on the pounds. And yes, I've been taking Neurotin for the past few months and continue to take them. I really have a feeling it may be the steroids or possibly just my mood improvement since surgery. I really hope I don't continue to gain weight though unless it's just muscle lol

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  • I gained almost 10 pounds within a few days of surgery.  I think some of it is the anesthesia. 

  • @sstarl1324 glad to know I'm not the only one! :)

  • Me too.  My disc reherniated Friday and have surgery again Monday AM.  Hopefully this time the recovery will be smoother.  I'll let you know if I can 10 more pounds after surgery.

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  • @sstarl1324 good luck! Sending you positive vibes and best wishes for a smooth recovery.

  • They pump you full of a lot of fluids in the hospital too. I remember after one surgery I came home weighing 13 lbs more than when I went in! Within a few days it was gone. 

    I'm sure once you are able to get moving more and can ditch the meds you'll get back to losing. Best wishes! 

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,431


    Sorry, I was focused in on weight gain and not that you have been losing weight.  Losing 45 pounds prior to surgery is a massive undertaking, deliberate or not.   I only wish I could do something like that... Week A: Lose 25 pounds for a party, Week B: Gain 30 pounds for  a special event.   Crazy

    Normally, as I know you are aware about, is the initial loss of weight at surgery and shortly afterwards.  I dont have a medical term to isolate this, but lets call it surgo-hop loss.  Then afterwards, its a matter of your intake vs outake.                                                            

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • Hi Gabriellax92

    I requested that no steroids were used during this surgery, because of my previous weight gain after my last two surgeries.

    I had mixed discussion with different doctors about steroids and weight gain.  Some flatly denied any connection, which just made me feel like a fatty, who was just eating too much.  I have always had a midline BMI, perfect reading and never had any weight gain all my life apart from during pregnancies.

    After this surgery I have lost 9lbs already, so hoping this is the start of my weight loss.  I have not changed anything I eat, same portion sizes etc, so, for me personally, avoiding the steroids may have made a difference.

    However, in your case, you have lost 45 pounds, so it maybe that due to reduce pain, depression levels reducing etc, maybe this could be your actual normal weight increasing if you were ideal weight before that large weight loss.  Wish I had lost that before, because that is about what I gained!

    Just concentrate on your healing and let your body finds its own balance, with the help of good food, walking and rest when needed.

    Take care




    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
  • @star0210 I never thought about the fluids, good point. I think I'm nearing my 'time of month' also so could definitely be it.

    @ajgormit I had told them about my possible allergy and they did say they were going to try and keep me away from steroids and even put an allergy bracelet on me but I guess when the surgeon heard the story he didnt think it would harm me and put steroids in anyways. I guess he was right because allergic reaction. Maybe they were different kinds of steroids. Also I lost 45 pounds but my real goal is about 90-100. I gained a ton of weight when I started my desk job, also quit smoking at the same time so I sort of spriralled out of control. So if you can understand why I'm so paranoid about putting the weight back on. This situation alone was a major setback because I was just getting into being active and healthy prior to the herniated disc and I was doing great with it. 

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