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Physical changes

Weight changes

You may lose weight after a brain injury if you:

  • don’t like the type and texture of food (how it feels in the mouth) you’re allowed to have (especially if you have trouble swallowing)
  • lose some or all of your sense of smell (so food doesn’t taste the same)

You may gain weight after brain injury if:

  • the brain doesn’t get a message when you’re full (so you either don’t know when you’re full or feel hungry even though you just ate)
  • this is a side effect of a medicine you take

The body needs more calories to heal after a brain injury. The dietitian makes sure that you get the calories and other nutrients you need during recovery.

The dietitian or doctor may recommend small, high-calorie, and high-protein meals often if you lose too much weight. They may recommend a lower calorie diet if you gain too much weight.

If the control centre of the brain (the hypothalamus) was damaged, you may have less control over actions (like eating) and emotions. This often gets better over time.

Talk to a healthcare provider about ways to manage changes in weight.

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