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Medical Causes of Weight Gain (Part 2)

More often than not, weight gain is caused by non-disease factors such as lifestyle changes, but sometimes it can be a symptom of an underlying medical issue. In Medical Causes of Weight Gain (Part 1) we outlined six underlying medical conditions that can cause unwanted weight gain: depression, Cushing syndrome, hypothyroidism, polycystic ovaries, cirrhosis and acromegaly. Now we’ll take a look at another four illness causes, as well as some non-disease causes of unintentional weight gain.

  1. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a painful female condition where the body produces too much androgen which can lead to weight gain, serious pelvic pain, extremely painful periods and in some cases infertility.

  1. Chronic Kidney Disease

Kidney disease cause a build-up of fluid in the limbs and abdomen which presents as rapid weight gain. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can also cause swelling of the ankles, extreme fatigue, problems urinating (such as blood in the urine) and nausea. CKD can be life threatening so it is important to get these symptoms checked out by a professional.

  1. Lupus

Lupus is a serious systemic (effects the entire body) autoimmune disease which has multiple forms and causes a host of unpleasant and dangerous symptoms. Some of the countless symptoms of lupus include fatigue, swelling, joint and body pain, hair loss and unintentional weight loss or weight gain.

  1. Ovarian Cancer

Many cancers cause weight loss, but ovarian cancer is usually the opposite. Along with sudden unwanted weight gain, ovarian cancer may also cause stomach, vaginal, pelvic pain or discomfort. It can also lead to swelling (such as chronic bloating), constipation and problems urinating, often including blood in the urine. If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms for a while, you should contact your doctor or gynecologist for an exam.

Other Reasons For Weight Gain

  • Medications – there are many medications that can lead to weight gain as an unwanted side effect. Some of these include: steroids like prednisone, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti-seizure medications, antihistamines, beta blockers and diabetes medications, just to name a few.
  • Menopause – menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman’s menses. It sometimes takes women by surprise, starting earlier than expected and causing a varied array of symptoms. Menopause often leads to weight gain due to a combination of metabolic and hormonal changes.
  • Aging – Your metabolism starts slowing down as you age, leading to a lower basal metabolic rate (BMR). A low BMR makes it more difficult to burn off calories, leading to excess fat.
  • Lifestyle changes – before you hit the panic button after reading about these diseases, remember that most cases of weight gain are caused by alterations in lifestyle such as decreased exercise and changes in diet in combination with an age-related metabolism relaxation. However, if you are experiencing some of the additional symptoms we looked at in Part 1 and Part 2 along with your weight gain, it may be time to talk to your doctor about running some tests (at least for peace of mind).

There you have it! Some of the potential medical causes of weight gain. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions about some of the conditions or symptoms we’ve outlined or have any other health-related inquiries please don’t hesitate to sign up today for a video consultation with one of our top-tier, board certified DocChat physicians!



Medical Conditions That Can Cause Weight Gain (Part 1)

Most often weight gain is simply that, we all fluctuate in our weight over the course of a lifetime, but sometimes it can be caused by an underlying health concern. If you’ve been exercising and eating the same as you always have but notice the pounds piling on, you may want to look into the following conditions:

  1. Dysthymia (chronic depression)

Also known as persistent depression disorder, dysthymia can cause unwanted weight gain because the brain releases higher levels of cortisol when depressed, which has also been linked to weight gain. If this steroidal hormone is constantly being released over long periods of time it will very likely adversely affect one’s waistband.

  1. Cushing syndrome

Cushing syndrome is a condition that develops from an over active pituitary gland. It causes a collection of unpleasant symptoms including unwanted and sometimes significant weight gain. Because Cushing syndrome presents as multiple smaller diseases, it is often misdiagnosed initially.

  1. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is an autoimmune condition whereby the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. This underproduction negatively effects the metabolism leading to such symptoms as unwarranted weight gain, lethargy, face puffiness and a slower heart rate.

  1. Oedema

More commonly known as fluid retention, oedema causes different parts of the body to retain fluid and swell which can increase the number on the scales. This can be a symptom of different underlying diseases such as diabetes, a side-effect of a medication or can even be caused by PMS.

  1. Cirrhosis of the Liver

Cirrhosis of the liver is a life-threatening condition that causes the liver to malfunction, ceasing to carry out its routine tasks. This leads to inflammation of the liver and fluid retention which often takes the form of weight gain. Cirrhosis is often caused by alcoholism but sometimes develops as a result of a separate health condition.

  1. Acromegaly

This rare condition is marked by excess production of the human growth hormone (HGH), most often due to a pituitary adenoma. Symptoms include weight gain, fatigue and enlarged organs and body parts. It can cause other health complications as well such as diabetes.

These are just a few of the medical conditions that can lead to unsolicited weight gain, stay tuned tomorrow to read about 4 more, as well as some non-disease causes of weight gain. If you have any medical concerns or questions about any of these conditions, feel free to sign up for a video conference with one of our highly qualified DocChat physicians. Thanks for visiting DocChat today!