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What causes excessive weight loss when diagnosed with IBS?

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Posted on Sat, 10 Jun 2017
Question: My sister was diagnosed with IBS and has been losing weight. In the past year and a half, she has gone from 134 to 114 lbs. Do you know what is causing that? Also she now has pain when she touches her scalp and minor constant headache. She has had many tests from MRI of the brain, CAT scan, blood tests, colonoscopy and eveything comes out fine. She has always eaten healthy, not a junk food eater.
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Answered by Dr. Dr. Klarida Papaqako (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
It is not IBS only if she is losing weight non-intentionally.

Detailed Answer:
Hello,

Thank you for using HealthcareMagic to post your health query.
I read carefully your question and I understand your concern.

Weight loss is considered one of the alarming symptoms of IBS, which means that if a person has that without explanation, they need to rule out other possible diagnoses which are like but not IBS.
It all depends on all the results of her tests, and other medical information that she has but it can be from many causes- inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis, Crohn disease, microscopic colitis, collagenous colitis, colorectal cancer, lactose intolerance, celiac disease, bacterial overgrowth, ovarian cancer, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, etc.

But, the main conclusion is that if she is losing weight unexplained, then she may have something from those above, and not only IBS.

About her headache, here are my thoughts:

- Is she having long hair, does she tie her hair tight? Pain in the scalp may be from pulling your hair.

- If the tenderness in only in her temple area, she needs to consider biopsy and rule out Temporal arteritis, because if she has that it may give vision loss also.

- Then if she has ruled out the most important types of a headache, and she has done MRI and CT scan of the head, then most probably it is a just tension headache. In this case, she just needs to avoid stressful factors and take painkillers when she has a headache.

Hope what I have written above makes things clear a bit.
Let me know if you have other questions or concerns about these issues.

Regards,
Dr. Papaqako


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
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Answered by
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Dr. Dr. Klarida Papaqako

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2010

Answered : 1828 Questions

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What causes excessive weight loss when diagnosed with IBS?

Brief Answer: It is not IBS only if she is losing weight non-intentionally. Detailed Answer: Hello, Thank you for using HealthcareMagic to post your health query. I read carefully your question and I understand your concern. Weight loss is considered one of the alarming symptoms of IBS, which means that if a person has that without explanation, they need to rule out other possible diagnoses which are like but not IBS. It all depends on all the results of her tests, and other medical information that she has but it can be from many causes- inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis, Crohn disease, microscopic colitis, collagenous colitis, colorectal cancer, lactose intolerance, celiac disease, bacterial overgrowth, ovarian cancer, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, etc. But, the main conclusion is that if she is losing weight unexplained, then she may have something from those above, and not only IBS. About her headache, here are my thoughts: - Is she having long hair, does she tie her hair tight? Pain in the scalp may be from pulling your hair. - If the tenderness in only in her temple area, she needs to consider biopsy and rule out Temporal arteritis, because if she has that it may give vision loss also. - Then if she has ruled out the most important types of a headache, and she has done MRI and CT scan of the head, then most probably it is a just tension headache. In this case, she just needs to avoid stressful factors and take painkillers when she has a headache. Hope what I have written above makes things clear a bit. Let me know if you have other questions or concerns about these issues. Regards, Dr. Papaqako