Weight Gain Is a Side Effect of These 7 Health Conditions


It’s no secret that a good diet and staying active are key ingredients for staying fit and maintaining a healthy weight. Yet some people find that eating right and exercising just don’t seem to keep them in ideal shape.

That struggle can be really frustrating if you’re working hard to live a healthy lifestyle. The fact is that, in many cases, medical conditions can actually be at the root of this problem.

That’s right: certain medical conditions can cause weight gain as a side effect, even for people who are otherwise doing all the right things. We’ve gathered some common ones here.

  1. Stress

    We might joke about getting hangry, but there’s an actual link between stress and weight gain. Being bored, angry, or upset triggers your body to produce a hormone called cortisol. Research shows that an excess of cortisol can cause your body to pack on the pounds.

  2. Dehydration

    Glass of WaterEnid Martindale via Flickr

    With all the focus on eating right, it’s easy to forget that what you drink matters, too. Drinking plenty of water improves your body’s metabolism, helping you to maintain a healthy weight. Drink too little water, and you’ll become dehydrated. This will cause weight-gaining hormones to kick in.

  3. Lack of Sleep

    Not getting enough rest is a double-whammy. Hormones that help control your appetite and energy use are produced while you sleep. Get too little sleep, and your stressed, tired body will overproduce cortisol instead. On top of that, you might feel the urge to eat more to get energy to make up for your lack of sleep.

  4. Slowing Metabolism

    There’s not much you can do about this one: as you age, your body’s metabolism begins to slow down. This is basically unavoidable, and it can be compounded by hormonal changes during menopause. As you grow older, you can pay more attention to what you eat to help compensate, at least.

  5. An Underactive Thyroid

    Your thyroid is an organ that helps produces hormones directly influencing your body’s metabolic rate. If something goes wrong with your thyroid, weight gain can be a side effect. It’s not easy to tell if something is wrong with the thyroid, however, so it’s important to see your doctor for tests if you have any unexplained weight gain.

  6. Cushing’s Syndrome

    You can already tell that cortisol is the culprit behind weight gain in many cases. Cushing’s Syndrome is a condition that’s actually caused by too much cortisol in the body. Some medications and certain tumors can cause this increase in cortisol.

  7. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

    This condition affects some women, causing a variety of symptoms, ranging from irregular periods to excessive hair or acne. Once again, it’s related to hormonal changes that can cause weight gain as a side effect.

You can prevent some of these conditions, like dehydration and lack of sleep. Since others are caused by hormonal changes, however, it’s important to stay in touch with your doctor about your overall health—especially if you have any unexplained weight gain.

Do you have any experience battling any of these conditions? Tips or tricks for staying healthy?