Why You Might Lose Weight When You’re Sick

If you have ever had a stomach microbe for more than a few hours, you may have noticed that you drop a few pounds. not eating and vomiting everything you have eaten for the past day or so will do that. But does that weight actually stay off ?

Caucasian woman's feet standing on scale
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Causes of Weight Loss

When you have gastroenteritis ( more much called the stomach influenza ), the most common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea. You may besides experience nausea, fever, stomach cramps, and debilitation. These symptoms can be caused by several different types of viruses, bacteria, or even parasites.

If you have diarrhea and vomiting multiple times, you lose a bunch of body fluid in a short total of time. It ‘s besides improbable that you are able to keep any food or liquids down, so you ca n’t replace what you have lost very well .

This drastic variety in fluid volume in your body can show up on the scale. If your symptoms last for several days, the weight change can be reasonably drastic .

duration of Weight Loss

Since most of the burden that comes off when you are ill is “ water weight, ” it will probable come back when you are feeling better and eating and drink again. If you ‘re actually trying to lose weight, this is not the way to do it .

Bulimia is a serious eating disorder—and one that is by and large not identical effective. evening if you are n’t technically bulimic but you think you ‘ll knock a few pounds off if you get a stomach virus, you will likely be disappointed to find that the burden will return soon after you recover .

This is because when you are vomiting, you are n’t losing fatness. Your body is trying to get rid of the virus, bacteria, or other germs that are making you nauseated .

Vomiting and diarrhea are the symptoms of the illness—your body ‘s defense against the germs. It eliminates any food and fluid in your digestive tract in an try to kill those germs .

once you have recovered and can return to eating as you did before, all ( or at least most ) of the weight will return because you are able to hold food and liquids down again .


The biggest risk and concern with the stomach influenza for most people is dehydration. This is more likely to occur in young infants and children adenine well as older adults .

Signs of dehydration in older children and adults include :

  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Decreased urination 
  • Very dark urine
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Irritability or confusion
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fast heart rate
  • Sunken eyes 
  • Loss of consciousness

Signs of dehydration in infants and young children include : 

  • Decreased number of wet diapers; infants should have one at least 6 wet diapers/day
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Lethargic, won’t play or smile
  • Sunken soft spot on the head
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessively sleepy
  • Wrinkled, dry skin
  • Cool and dry hands and feet

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you are concerned about dehydration, contact your healthcare supplier or seek medical care. In some cases, dehydration can be managed at base if you or your child are able to keep down fluids .

It ‘s significant to take it lento if you have been vomiting, as adding excessively much besides quickly can cause vomiting to return or worsen. If you are unable to hold any amount of fluids down, contact your healthcare supplier .

There are medications you may be able to take to stop vomit. If dehydration is dangerous adequate, you may need IV fluids to recover .

If you are ever with person who appears to be dehydrated and loses awareness, seek checkup aid immediately. Do not try to give an unconscious mind person anything to drink. If you have symptoms of a stomach hemipterous insect that last longer than a few days ( or haunting vomiting for more than 24 hours ), contact your healthcare provider. Most gastroenteritis goes aside on its own after a sidereal day or two. Diarrhea can last retentive but it should be improving over fourth dimension .

If you have haunting weight loss and vomit or diarrhea that do n’t resolve, particularly after a workweek or more, go to the doctor. There could be another causal agent of your symptoms. You may need extra tests or treatments .


There is no treatment when you get most stomach bugs other than waiting for it to go away. Because they are most much caused by viruses, antibiotics wo n’t work. even most stomach illnesses that are caused by bacteria, such as salmonella, go away on their own and typically are n’t treated with antibiotics .

The best thing you can do is to avoid getting it in the first identify. It is n’t constantly easy, specially if person else in your house has it, but there are steps you can take to try to limit the gap of those germs .

Washing your hands is substantive. Wash them vitamin a frequently as you can :

  • Before and after you prepare food
  • Before and after you eat
  • After you use the bathroom
  • After you change a diaper
  • After you touch anything that a sick friend or family member has touched

A Word From Verywell

This article does not cover weight loss from intentional vomiting due to eating disorders or weight unit loss due to chronic or good illness. These are serious issues and should n’t be taken lightly .

If you think you may be struggling with an eating disorder, please talk to person and seek medical attention. If you need information about an feed disorder because you are concerned about yourself or person else, there are batch of valuable resources available on-line and through the checkup community .

Losing weight unit is unmanageable for many people but there is no quick fix that is rightfully safe and effective. If you are ghastly with a stomach bug, focus on taking concern of yourself and recovering. The numbers on the scale are not authoritative when your health is on the line .

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Category : Health

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