Weight gain can take a toll on your confidence and health. Unexplained weight gain, on the other hand, can leave you thinking about the underlying cause.
Certain medical conditions are responsible for weight gain. Health problems can make changes in the body which can affect your appetite or metabolism, which eventually lead to an increase in weight.
Here are 8 health conditions that can cause weight gain.
The thyroid hormone is produced by the thyroid gland in your body. It controls many activities in the body including the rate at which your heart beats. When the thyroid gland is not active, it doesn’t produce the hormone, which your body requires, thereby leading to a condition known as hypothyroidism.1
In addition to symptoms like slowed heart rate, hair thinning, fatigue, constipation, and dry skin, it can also lead to weight gain. Thyroid hormone controls the rate at which your body burns calories. When there is a deficit of this hormone, the calorie burning also reduces, resulting in weight gain.
2. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition in which cysts form on the ovaries and also an imbalance in the hormones. Women with this condition suffer from excessive hair growth, irregular periods, hair loss, and fertility problems.
This hormonal problem can also lead to weight gain as the production of androgen or the male hormone increases due to insulin resistance. The high levels of insulin in the body are the reason for the increased production of the male hormone in women with PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome.2
Menopause is a natural condition that women in their 40s go through as their ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone.
Hormonal changes occur in a woman’s body during this period, which could be the reason for weight gain. However, age, slow metabolism, and lifestyle factors can also play a role in gaining weight when a woman is in her 40s or 50s. Usually, the weight gain is seen around the abdomen.3
4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common condition affecting the digestive system. It can cause stomach cramps, bloating, constipation, or even diarrhea.
Weight gain is not a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome. However, people with IBS usually turn to carbohydrates instead of fruits and vegetables to help them reduce the symptoms. This can be the reason for weight gain. Additionally, IBS can lead to depression or anxiety that may lead to stress eating, and thereby weight gain.
5. Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during the later stages of pregnancy, increasing the blood sugar levels in the body.
Even though gestational diabetes disappears once you give birth, women with this condition during pregnancy can have problems with excessive urination, hunger, thirst, and weight gain.
Prolactinomas are hormone-secreting pituitary tumors that produce excessive amounts of prolactin. It may lead to problems with sexual function, infertility, menstrual problems, and vaginal dryness.4
The increased levels of prolactin in the body can be the reason for weight gain. A study found that in 70% of the prolactinoma patients, who normalized their prolactin levels, lost weight.5
Depression is a mental health disorder that negatively influences the way you feel, think, and act. It also can affect one’s daily activities. It can lead to persistent sadness, pessimism, irritability, difficulty sleeping, restlessness, fatigue, or even changes in appetite.
Although there is not enough evidence, depression and anxiety are known to be linked to weight gain. It can be due to the increase in appetite that makes the people with depression eat more than they usually do.
8. Cushing’s Syndrome
Cushing’s syndrome is a condition caused due to high levels of cortisol in the body. Weight gain is a common symptom of this syndrome. People with Cushing’s syndrome have a rounded face, fat around the neck, and upper body obesity. The weight gain is mainly seen on the face, stomach, and chest.
The increased levels of cortisol are the main reason for weight gain associated with Cushing’s syndrome. Cortisol leads to an increase in appetite and insulin levels, that cause an increase in weight.
When you feel that you are gaining weight without any reason, it is important to get yourself check for any of these health conditions.
|↑1||Hypothyroidism. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑2||Sam, Susan. “Obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome.” Obesity management 3, no. 2 (2007): 69-73.|
|↑3||Menopause and weight gain. Better Health Channel, Victoria State Government.|
|↑4||Prolactinoma. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|
|↑5||Greenman, Yona, Karen Tordjman, and Naftali Stern. “Increased body weight associated with prolactin-secreting pituitary adenomas: weight loss with normalization of prolactin levels.” Clinical endocrinology 48, no. 5 (1998): 547-553.|