Some people may lose weight after a brain injury because:
- the type and texture of food they’re allowed to have may be less appetizing, especially if they have trouble swallowing
- they’ve lost some or all of their ability to smell so food doesn’t taste the same
Some people may gain weight after brain injury because:
- there can be changes in the messages the brain gets about feeling full
- a side effect of medicine they take may cause weight gain
The body needs more calories to heal after a brain injury. The dietitian makes sure that the person is getting the calories and other nutrients needed during recovery.
Small meals eaten often (and high in calories and protein) are recommended if losing weight is a problem. If the person starts gaining too much weight, a lower calorie diet may be needed.
Once he has a better appetite, he may go through a period when he eats all the time. He may lose the ability to feel full or may feel hungry even though he just ate.
If the control centre of the brain (the hypothalamus) was damaged, he may have less control over his actions and emotions. This often gets better over time.
Please talk to your healthcare provider for ways to manage changes in weight.