If your weight gain is unexpected or unexplained, it may be related to an endocrine disorder.
When you’ve put on extra pounds, you probably consider the factors that normally lead to weight gain and obesity, such as:
- Lack of physical activity
- Lack of sleep
- Certain medications
If any of these apply to you, it’s important to discuss them and related symptoms (such as high blood pressure and fatigue) with your doctor. But if you’ve found yourself gaining weight without any drastic changes in your diet or lifestyle, that could be a sign of trouble with your body’s endocrine system. Obesity is known to be a cause or effect of several endocrine disorders.
Which Endocrine Disorders Cause Weight Gain?
In some cases, an endocrine disorder itself directly leads to weight gain. Your own weight gain could have been caused by one of the following conditions:
- Hypothyroidism – Also known as an underactive thyroid, this is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones.
- Hypothalamic disorders – The hypothalamus is the part of your brain that produces hormones controlling numerous bodily functions, including your appetite. An increased appetite coupled with rapid weight gain is one sign of a hypothalamic disorder.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – One of the most common endocrine disorders among women, PCOS is marked by some combination of irregular periods, an excess of androgen and polycystic ovaries (which are enlarged and lined with follicles). PCOS can not only cause weight gain, but obesity can also exacerbate the effects of the condition.
- Cushing’s syndrome – This disorder occurs when your body produces too much cortisol, which can either be natural or the result of taking certain medications. The most noticeable weight gains appear in the face, midsection, upper back and area between the shoulders.
Can Weight Gain Cause an Endocrine Disorder? Two commonly diagnosed endocrine disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome and type 2 diabetes, are believed to be related to obesity and/or rapid weight gain. It is also possible to develop one endocrine disorder—type 2 diabetes, for example—as the result of weight gain brought on by another disorder, such as a hypothalamic disorder.
Treating Endocrine Disorders Linked to Weight Gain
Regardless of which endocrine disease may have caused you to gain weight, Tampa General Hospital’s team of endocrinologists can help you get back to a healthy weight with a treatment plan that works for you.