Some Reasons for Weight Gain After Surgery and How to Lose That Weight?


Are you frustrated about your gained weight Or have you experienced fluid retention after undergoing surgery?
There are various causes that lead to weight gain it can be eventual or sudden, but one main factor which plays a major role is in a recent surgery. This weight gain occurs in the follow-up period which is supposed to be followed after your operation. One condition is post-pregnancy weight gain after C- section. According to the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), in recent times, there is a 70% increase in post-pregnancy weight gain.

Even small procedures like tonsillectomy can add more pounds to your body.

In this article, we`ll discuss all about post-surgical weight gain and ways to lose weight.

- Advertisement -

Reasons for weight gain after surgery

Do not worry if you’re gaining weight after undergoing surgery. You just need to find the actual reason and work on that cause.

• Water Retention

Water retention or postoperative edema in medical terms is the major reason for weight gain after surgery. Edema is usually fluid accumulation between tissues caused by redistribution of plasma proteins. Post-surgery tissue injury may result in a massive shift in fluids which is between body compartments which also leads to the accumulation of fluid in interstitial space, the space between the organs in the body. The fluid retention is usually localized in extremities or can be generalized leading to overall plumper and fuller appearance.

• Trauma


Surgical trauma leads to immunological, metabolic, and endocrine changes. Trauma is a bodily response to disturbing and distressing events. Post-surgery trauma disturbs the body’s equilibrium and hence, creates a hormonal imbalance which often leads to malfunctioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and often stresses the body in the future.
A study found that women with PSTD tend to gain weight and are at high risk of becoming obese and overweight.

• Stress

Hormonal balance can be triggered by both physical and psychological stress which further leads to weight gain. Stress for long period burdens adrenal glands and this results in the secretion of cortisol hormone.
A study found that people who underwent cardiac operations are more prone to surgery-related stress which increases both antidiuretic hormone (ADH) and cortisol hormone secretion. An increase in the ADH level may disturb kidney functioning and may cause water retention.

- Advertisement -

• Medication


People who underwent surgery are often prescribed medication for post-surgery recovery. These medicines are supplements which help in regaining your strength and also promote healing. All these medicines may often affect the metabolic system which leads to weight gain.

• Comfort food

After surgery, you just need your favorite food. Right? And your family may pamper you with all your comfort food after you come back home after your operation. But, these foods also cause weight gain. Post-surgery often leads to overeating or overindulgence in comfort foods which are particularly high fat and high sugar foods. Having these foods along with your already slow metabolism leads to weight gain or makes you feel bloated.

• Rest

Post-surgery recovery requires ample rest. Complete rest or low activity can slow down the body’s BMR (basic metabolic rate) which results in weight gain as well. Energy expenditure is directly proportional to the BMR and activity level. Low physical activity can lower BMR and calorie expenditure which causes weight gain. Doctors suggest slow physical activity after your recovery phase to start your body’s metabolic system again.

Now we are clear about the causes of weight gain after surgery, let’s move on to some precautions that you can take to overcome it.

Precautions to overcome post-surgery weight gain


People tend to gain weight after any surgery especially after the recovery stage. Gaining around 6 pounds is normal but beyond that could lead to long term problems.

Given below are some precautionary tips to prevent gaining weight:

– Start by taking small steps and walk around your home. Just don’t push your body for workouts at the gym immediately after surgery. Be active and keep moving as it will help you rebuild your metabolic system.

– You can include your favorite food once a week in your diet, try to avoid overeating or overindulge in those foods.

– Try giving a shot to stretching exercises for good blood circulation. Rotate your ankles, feet’s and hands in 360 degrees in both the directions to avoid edema in your body.

– Start eating herbs like parsley, hibiscus as they are diuretic and can help lower water retention.

Along with these precautions, you can make some dietary changes as well which will help you prevent weight gain after surgery.

Dietary changes to lose weight

1. Include lean proteins in your diet


Protein plays an important role in the recovery process. Protein heal and repairs damaged tissues maintain a better metabolic rate and boost immunity. Focus more on consuming high-quality protein in every meal. To prevent weight gain, include lean and low-fat protein.

Examples- skinless white meat, eggs, fish, lean cuts of pork, plant protein like beans, pulses, legumes, and low-fat dairy products.

You can also try cooking methods which are healthy like steaming. Or add protein sources in your salads.

2. Stay hydrated


A study found that overweight women who drink a lot of water improve their digestion and metabolic rate. Adequate water consumption prevents fluid retention by giving signals to the kidney to stop conserving water. Before drastically increasing your water intake consult your doctor if you have any kidney-related issue.

3. Eat more and more vegetables and fruits


Fruits and vegetables are loaded with fiber, nutrients and water which helps in preventing excessive weight gain. Women mostly complain about stubborn belly fat after C-section surgery, so consuming more soluble fiber helps in reducing that too. Also, fruits and vegetables are natural diuretics that help in draining out excess water from your body.

Example- cucumber, lemon, watermelon, asparagus, nettle leaves, dandelion leaves. Some green leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, cabbage, tomato, mushroom, cauliflower, pepper are also good options to include in your diet.

Always consult your doctor or dietitian before making any changes in your diet. Also, inform them about the medication you are taking after surgery.


Don’t panic about post-surgery weight gain. By taking proper precautions and maintaining a healthy lifestyle you can surely shed those extra pounds and keep yourself healthy and fit. Although these recoveries may make you gain a few pounds like we discussed, reduced stress. Proper diet and adequate intake of water can help you go back to your own shape.

Share this article

Recent posts

Popular categories

Recent comments