Common causes of sudden weight gain

Weight gain is most often a gradual process and happens over a long period of time. It commonly occurs as a result of unhealthy eating habits and a lack of exercise. In some cases, however, weight gain can be rapid and quite inexplicable at first.

Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body lacks thyroid hormone and as a result a person experiences slow metabolism. Hypothyroidism is caused by thyroid gland failure, but can also occur following treatments for thyroid cancer or other thyroid-related conditions. Other symptoms would include fatigue, weakness, dry hair and skin, hair loss, cold intolerance, muscle cramps, constipation, depression, abnormal menstrual cycles etc.

Tumour
A tumour is a swelling inside the body caused by an abnormal growth of tissue. Ovarian tumour is a common cause of weight gain in the abdominal area given that the tumour continues to grow. Tumours can be either benign or malignant (cancerous. Other symptoms would include abdominal pain, trouble eating, irregular menstruation, painful intercourse etc.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a syndrome which affects ovaries, ovulation and hormones in women. It consists of multiple tiny cysts on the ovaries, productions of male hormones (androgens) and irregular period. Women with PCOS tend to have insulin resistance, therefore increasing the risk of obesity and, eventually, Type 2 Diabetes. Other symptoms include acne, excessive hair growth, balding, dark skin patches around the neck and other areas etc. Although there are no cure for PCOS, there are medications designed to control the side effects of PCOS.

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition where bacteria normally found in other parts of the gut starts growing in the small intestines. The bacteria produces methane gas thereby affecting the functions of the small intestine causing more calories to be absorbed by the body. It also slows down the body metabolism thus affecting insulin resistance. Other symptoms include stomach pain, cramps, indigestion, constipation, gas etc.

Cushing syndrome
Cushing syndrome occurs when your body is exposed to excessive cortisol hormone for an extended period.Because cortisol plays an important role in regulating blood pressure, blood sugar and managing how the body uses carbohydrate and fat,exccesive exposure can create an imbalance in these functions. Symptoms include fat deposits around the midsection, neck, between the shoulders and upper back, pink or purple stretch marks, skin thinning, acne, muscle weakness, fatigue etc.

It is very important that you consult with a physician if you suspect that you suffer from any of these symptoms. Most of these conditions can be treated or, at the least, managed.

Other common causes of weight gain include digestive problems such as constipation, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux disease and certain food intolerance. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can also cause weight gain, notably during and after treatment. Other types of medications, including birth control pills, can cause weight gain as a side effect.

The most important point to remember is that regular exercise and a healthy diet can help you to combat the negative side effects of your condition. This means giving up certain types of food which is not suitable to your body. It is important that you check the packaging for information on nutrients in processed food items. Carve out a time during the day for a quick burst of exercise to keep your body active.

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