Most people experience fluctuations in weight, and it is common to gain weight over time. However, gaining weight in a short period of time, and for no specific reason, can be a sign of an underlying health problem.
When the weight gain is not related to health problem, the common causes are as follows:
– eating more
– the menstrual cycle
– perimenopause and menopause
– slowing down of metabolism with age
– being less physically active
– water retention due to dehydration or excess salt
– stress, depression or anxiety
– lack of sleep.
Anyone who experiences rapid weight gain that is not due to any of the above causes or that affects their quality of life should see a doctor.
11 possible causes rapid weight gain
Certain medicines can cause rapid weight gain. Some medications can have the side effect of making you gain several pounds per month.
Drugs that can cause rapid weight gain include the following:
– epileptic seizures
– diabetes mellitus
– the high blood pressure
– depression and psychiatric disorders.
It is essential not to stop taking a drug without talking about it first with a doctor.
Research has shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain. Changes in sleep cycles can affect eating habits and mood, causing people to overeat. The authors of a study from 2013 found that sleep deprived people ate more carbohydrates than needed to meet their energy needs, which resulted in weight gain. Participants in the same study also consumed more calories overall, especially after dinner.
3. Quitting smoking
Some people gain weight early on when they stop smoking tobacco products. Experts believe this happens both because nicotine suppresses appetite and because withdrawal symptoms can include stress, which can lead to overeating. Research has shown that 1 kilogram (kg) is the average weight gain in the first month after quitting. Most of the weight gain appears to occur within the first three months after quitting, with the rate of weight gain appearing to slow down after six months. However, the weight changes that result from stopping smoking can vary from person to person. The same research found that 16% of people lost weight in the first year of quitting smoking, while 13% gained more than 10 kg.
4. Polycystic ovary syndrome
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may find that they easily gain weight around their waist. PCOS causes abnormally high production of male sex hormones by the ovaries. Other symptoms of PCOS are as follows:
– irregular periods
– excessive hair growth on the back, chest or abdomen
– thinning hair or hair loss
– dark spots around the armpits, breasts, or neck.
While there is no cure for PCOS, a doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, such as getting more exercise and eat a healthy diet, which can reduce symptoms. Hormonal medications can also help control symptoms.
5. Heart failure
Rapid weight gain or swelling of parts of the body may be due to fluid retention and may be a sign of heart failure. Weight gain of more than 1-1.5 kg in 24 hours or 2-3 kg in a week may be a sign of heart failure. However, it is essential to note that a person’s weight typically fluctuates by a few grams over the course of a day. If her weight returns to normal and she has no other symptoms, the temporary increase could be due to normal bloating and fluid retention. If blood circulates slowly to and from the heart, it affects the functioning of other major organs in the body. As a result, fluid accumulates in the tissues, resulting in weight gain and swelling.
6. Kidney problems
Sudden weight gain or swelling of the body may be a symptom of kidney disease, such as kidney failure or nephrotic syndrome, which is damage to the kidneys .
If the kidneys are not working properly, the body can retain fluids, which leads to weight gain. Damaged kidneys are unable to properly remove wastes and fluids from the body, which therefore accumulate in the tissues. Swelling from a kidney problem usually affects the legs, ankles or feet.
Rapid weight gain and an increase in the size of the abdomen may indicate cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is a disease in which scar tissue replaces healthy tissue in the liver, which can cause fluid to build up in the abdominal cavity. This abnormal accumulation of fluid is called ascites.
Other symptoms of cirrhosis are as follows
– swelling of the ankles
– breathing difficulties
– abdominal pain.
If a person follows already being treated for ascites, she should contact her doctor if she gains more than 2 lbs per day for 3 days in a row.
8. Thyroid Disorder
A thyroid disorder called hypothyroidism can slow down your metabolism, which can lead to weight gain. Thyroid problems can also cause fluid retention in the body due to the effects of hypothyroidism on the kidneys.
Other symptoms of hypothyroidism can be as follows: following:
– constant fatigue
– feeling cold
– dry skin and hair
– brittle nails
– stiff joints and muscle pain
9. Cushing’s syndrome
Cushing’s syndrome occurs when the body produces too much cortisol over a long period of time. Cortisol is a hormone that helps the body respond to stress. It is rare for a person to develop Cushing’s syndrome without an external trigger. Cushing’s syndrome is more often a side effect of taking glucocorticoids, which are medicines to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Cushing’s syndrome often leads to weight gain, especially in the following areas of the body:
– the abdomen
– upper back
Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that occurs when the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone. It most often manifests itself in mid-adulthood. The main symptom of acromegaly is enlarged hands and feet. People may notice that their shoes or rings don’t fit properly. The lips, tongue, and nose may also widen. Other symptoms of acromegaly are as follows:
– painful joints
– deeper voice
– spots on the skin
– excessive sweating
– obstructive sleep apnea and snoring.
People with acromegaly may need surgery or radiation therapy to remove a benign pituitary tumor.
11. Ovarian cancer
Sudden or unexplained weight gain and bloating may be signs of ovarian cancer. Other symptoms of ovarian cancer are as follows:
– pain in the abdomen or pelvis
– difficulty sleeping
– frequent or urgent need to urinate
– loss of appetite or rapid feeling of fullness
– unusual menstrual cycle
Ovarian cancer often reaches the late stages without being detected. Anyone who experiences abnormal pain in the pelvic area should therefore speak to a doctor. Diagnosing cancer at an early stage usually gives a better prognosis.
People who experience rapid and unintentional weight gain with no obvious cause should see their doctor.
The doctor will check the person’s medical history and any other symptoms. They can do a physical exam and blood tests or refer the person to a specialist.
Do you like our content?
Receive our latest publications every day for free and directly in your mailbox