Weight gain is something that concerns us all. It can be disheartening to find that you’ve put on a couple of pounds more than expected, or that all of those pizzas did indeed go straight to your hips. A huge variety of things can cause sudden weight gain – a surprise pregnancy being chief among them. However, if you – like many people, know that you’re putting weight on but don’t know why, it could be a good idea to book an appointment with your GP. When it comes to sudden weight gain, the causes are usually so simple, you’ll be amazed you didn’t think of them yourself.
On the other hand, there are some serious conditions that can cause sufferers to put on weight very rapidly and it’s vital that these conditions be diagnosed and treated quickly. This is why it’s important for anybody worried about their weight to check in with their regular GP for a quick chat. Not only will he or she put your mind at rest – they’ll also be able to advise you on the best way to get back to your former size if that is what you would like.
Here’s an informative guide to some of the reasons why you might have experienced a sudden weight gain recently. Some of these reasons are more serious than others and should be treated as such if found to match any other symptoms you may have.
This is the big one, the one that so many men and women aren’t aware of. Yes, that’s right – stress can be the cause of significant weight gain. According to Dr Sheena Meredith, the human body goes into ‘survival mode’ when it feels overworked or threatened. Think about it – your body can’t tell the difference between the stress of being in an actual survival situation and the stress of let’s say, running for a bus, or spilling your coffee all over your new jeans.
It only knows that your heart rate is up, your blood pressure has risen and every nerve in your brain has started to scream for a dark room and cold, wet flannel. It treats these everyday stresses as biological threats, causing you to get hungry more often and fill up on more calories – just in case you get chased by a sabre tooth tiger and need lots of energy to survive. That’s right, the primal brain is a pain the backside.
Experts from diet blog 3FatChicks.com point out that a lack of sleep causes increased weight gain. The more refreshed you body can become during the night, the better it is able to utilise energy when you are awake. If you regularly fail to get a good night’s sleep, your body will fail to store fat as efficiently as possible. If you’re undergoing a period of insomnia that is also coinciding with a sudden weight gain – you could just need to get more rest.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
If you’re female, in your late teens or early twenties and have undergone a rapid and unexplainable weight gain – speak to your doctor as soon as possible. You could be suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS is a serious condition that affects female fertility. Women with the disease tend to have either irregular or completely dysfunctional menstrual cycles and find it extremely difficult to conceive naturally. Other symptoms include excessive hair on the body and face, severe acne and sudden weight gain. Even if you’re not concerned about having children, see your doctor as soon as possible anyway. PCOS can lead to diabetes, hypertension and heart disease in later life, says the NHS national website.
There are all kinds of drugs that can cause increased weight gain, so if you’ve just recently started to take a new pill or medicine – you could have found your culprit. Corticosteroids for conditions like asthma, lupus and arthritis commonly cause weight gain, as do some prescription drugs for diabetes, seizures, bipolar disorder and severe migraines. It is vital that you keep taking your medication, no matter how much weight it may have caused you to gain.
In this case, the positives almost always outweigh the negatives – deciding not to take prescribed medicines can be a very bad idea indeed. If you are finding your weight gain hard to deal with, talk to your GP about it. He or she may be able to find you an alternative. Whatever you do, don’t stop taking your medication. It’s there for a reason.