Weight gain is usually the result of ingesting more food than you are burning off, but your expanding waistline could be the result of an underlying medical condition.
Below are some medical conditions that make a person more likely to gain weight, particularly in his or her stomach region, and what can be done about it.
Other Weight Gain Explanations
If you find that you are gaining unexplained weight, report your symptoms to your doctor. You could be suffering from one of the following conditions:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – IBS has no known cause, but tends to occur in response to stress or after infection. Lingering symptoms include stomach cramping, diarrhea, bloating and constipation that are exasperated by acidic foods – even the healthy kind.
Fatty comfort foods like bread and pasta are more soothing but really pack on the pounds. Fight IBS with fiber, which helps your body get rid of waste and toxins and regulate bowel function, blood sugar and cholesterol, so the body can better process food into energy and not into fat.
Hypothyroidism – Hypothyroidism is a metabolic disorder, which causes symptoms such as swelling, fatigue, dry skin, weakness, and weight gain. Proper diet can help correct the problem.
Cushing’s syndrome – Cushing’s syndrome occurs when too much of the hormone cortisol is present in the body, due to stress, drugs, alcohol and fatty foods. Among other things, cortisol causes fat retention, especially in the stomach and abdomen area. Other symptoms include hypertension, abnormal blood sugar levels and menstruation, balding, fatigue, easy bruising and skin thinning. Avoiding the triggers, coupled with stress management, diet and exercise, can alleviate symptoms.
Diabetes – If you find that you are constantly thirsty, craving sweets, experiencing swelling and fluid retention in your legs, feet and belly; you could be developing diabetes, which is a very serious disease with no specific cure. Reduce your symptoms with insulin injections and by eating right and exercising regularly.
Abdominal Cysts – Benign or cancerous abdominal cysts can be caused by many medical conditions. These cysts can be painless and appear as though you’re just gaining weight in your stomach area, when it could be something more serious.
Conditions that can cause abdominal cysts include bladder distention, colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, cancer (of the liver, kidney, ovaries, and stomach), liver and spleen enlargement, volvulus, etc. You should consult your doctor right away if you experience pain or bulging in your midsection. Eating healthy, whole foods and drinking plenty of water can prevent cancer and many of these conditions.
Drug Side Effects – Prescription drugs can cause hormonal imbalances, leading to fluid retention and abdominal weight gain – particularly antidepressants, NSAIDs, steroid drugs, and oral contraceptives. Ask your doctor for advice on maintaining a healthy weight, while taking these prescription drugs.
Alcoholism – Drinking a lot of beer and alcoholic beverages cause you to gain weight in your belly, hence the name “beer belly.” To reduce your waist size, reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption.
Firmicute Stomach Bacteria – Studies have shown that splurging on junk food can tip the balance of bacteria in your stomach and bowels from good to bad and start that all-too-familiar battle of the bulge in your belly. Firmicute bacteria that come from eating junk food make your body hold onto fat and the only solution is to bombard your digestive tract with good bacteria like those found in probiotic yogurt.
Menorrhagia – When you suffer from menorrhagia (nonstop menstruation), you may constantly experience a bloated, bulging belly. Increasing your water intake and avoiding gassy foods like broccoli, cabbage, and beans can help.