Bloating in stomach weight gain: Swollen Stomach and Weight Gain: Causes of Abdominal Bloating
Swollen Stomach and Weight Gain: Causes of Abdominal Bloating
Bloating or swelling around your stomach or abdomen can have many causes, including digestive conditions, hormonal changes, and even some medications.
In addition to abdominal bloating or swelling, it’s possible that you may have noticed that you’ve also gained some weight without changing your exercise routine or diet.
So, what does it mean when these two symptoms — stomach bloating and weight gain — occur together?
In this article we’ll take a closer look at what can cause stomach swelling along with unexpected weight gain, and discuss when it’s a good idea to see your doctor.
Outlined below are possible causes of a swollen stomach and weight gain that can affect both men and women. Some of these causes are related to lifestyle factors while others may be a symptom of a more serious medical condition.
It’s possible that high levels of stress can cause weight gain and bloating. Too much stress can have a variety of negative effects on your body, including on your digestive symptom.
When you’re stressed, you can experience gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms like bloating, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea. Additionally, some researchers believe that stress may contribute to your perception of abdominal bloating.
Stress can also cause some people to “stress eat.” In fact, about 40 percent of people increase food intake when they’re feeling stressed. It’s also possible that stress may lead to a decrease in physical activity. Along with stress eating, this can cause weight gain.
There are steps you can take to help reduce your stress levels. For instance you can try:
- getting regular exercise
- prioritizing your sleep and aiming for at least 7-8 hours rest each night
- relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises
- listening to music or writing down your thoughts
- indulging in a favorite hobby
Alcohol is an inflammatory substance that can affect many parts of your body, including your digestive system. Alcohol consumption can lead to several unpleasant GI symptoms like bloating, gas, and abdominal discomfort.
Alcohol is full of empty calories. Per gram, it has almost twice as many calories as carbs or protein, yet provides no nutritional value. Because of its calorie content, increased alcohol intake can lead to weight gain.
You can prevent alcohol-related bloating and weight gain by drinking in moderation. This means one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. A standard drink is considered to be:
- 12 ounces of beer (5 percent alcohol)
- 8 ounces of malt liquor (7 percent alcohol)
- 5 ounces of wine (12 percent alcohol)
- 1.5 ounces of liquor (40 percent alcohol)
It’s possible that some types of medications can cause abdominal bloating and weight gain. Some examples include:
Corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation in your body. Fluid retention as well as weight gain, particularly around the abdomen and face, are potential side effects of oral corticosteroids. Other possible side effects include:
- high blood pressure
- swelling of the lower legs
- mood swings
- increased eye pressure (glaucoma)
- slow wound healing
- increased risk of infections
Oral contraceptives can also cause bloating. While you may gain some weight on these medications, studies have indicated that they don’t lead to major weight gain. Other possible side effects of oral contraceptives include:
- spotting between periods
- breast tenderness
Antibiotics treat bacterial infections. Because they can also affect bacteria in your digestive tract, they can cause GI symptoms like bloating. Other potential side effects of antibiotics include:
- nausea or vomiting
- abdominal pain
- reduced appetite
Because GI bacteria can play a role in weight gain, it’s also possible that changes to GI bacteria through the use of antibiotics may contribute to weight gain. However, more research is needed in this area.
Ascites is a condition that’s characterized by fluid buildup in your abdomen. It’s the most common complication of cirrhosis, a condition that’s caused by scarring or damage to your liver.
In addition to cirrhosis, additional causes of ascites can include:
- some types of cancer, such as ovarian, liver, colorectal, or pancreatic cancers
- heart failure
- kidney failure
- pancreatic disease
Ascites happens when high blood pressure in the veins of the liver (portal hypertension) is combined with reduced liver function. This causes fluid to accumulate in the abdomen. Symptoms can include:
- swollen or distended abdomen
- weight gain
- abdominal pain or discomfort
- shortness of breath
- feeling full quickly after eating (early satiety)
The overall goal of ascites treatment is to limit the amount of fluid that builds up in the abdomen. Treatment options can involve:
- diuretic medication, which helps remove water from the body through increased urination
- insertion of a temporary drain in your abdomen to remove fluid
- placement of a shunt within your abdomen that reroutes blood flow around the liver
- liver transplant
Cushing’s syndrome is a condition in which your body produces too much cortisol. You may be familiar with cortisol as your “stress hormone.” Cortisol can impact all areas of your body and is important for processes like:
- responding to stress
- maintaining blood pressure
- reducing inflammation
- regulating the way nutrients are turned into energy
Most of the time, Cushing’s syndrome develops due to the prolonged use of corticosteroids, which are used to treat conditions like asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Specific types of tumors can also cause the condition.
Because of the broad action of cortisol throughout the body, Cushing’s syndrome has a wide variety of symptoms. Two of them are weight gain and accumulation of fat around the abdomen. Other symptoms include:
- round face (moon face)
- thin arms and legs
- fat accumulation at the base of the neck
- easy bruising
- poor wound healing
- stretch marks, particularly on the abdomen
- muscle weakness
- excess hair on the face, chest, and abdomen (women)
- periods that are irregular or absent (women)
- reduced libido (men)
- erectile dysfunction (men)
If Cushing’s syndrome is caused by corticosteroid medications, your doctor will likely reduce the dose or recommend an alternative medication. Surgery can be performed to remove tumors that are causing Cushing’s syndrome.
Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone helps your body utilize energy. When there’s not enough of it, your body’s processes can slow down.
This includes processes like metabolism. In fact, one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism is weight gain. Your digestive system can also be impacted, slowing the movement (motility) of your intestines.
This decreased motility can increase the risk of a condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO often causes bloating, gas, and abdominal discomfort. Some research has linked it to hypothyroidism.
In addition to weight gain and, potentially, bloating, other symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- body aches and pains
- dry skin
- thinning hair
- sensitivity to cold
- reduced sweating
- slowed heartbeat
- irregular periods (women)
- problems with fertility (women)
Hypothyroidism is treated with a medication called levothyroxine. This is a hormone medication that works to replace the missing thyroid hormone.
Now let’s examine some causes of weight gain and stomach swelling or bloating that can be the result of conditions that specifically affect women.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
PMS is a collection of symptoms that happen in the days prior to your period. The symptoms of PMS can be both emotional and physical. They’re caused by changes in hormone levels that occur during your menstrual cycle.
Two of the physical symptoms of PMS are bloating and weight gain. Bloating occurs due to water retention, which, like many other PMS symptoms, is caused by hormonal changes.
Weight gain may be associated with other PMS symptoms, such as:
- water retention, which can slightly increase your weight (“water weight”)
- food cravings that may cause you to overeat or eat unhealthy foods
- fatigue and abdominal cramps, which may lead to a decrease in physical activity
Additional physical and emotional symptoms of PMS can include:
- breast tenderness
- body aches and pains
- GI symptoms like constipation and diarrhea
- altered sleeping patterns
- feeling irritable
- emotional outbursts
- feelings of anxiety or depression
Many PMS symptoms can be eased with lifestyle changes like regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. Medications like NSAIDs, oral contraceptives, and antidepressants can also help reduce symptoms.
Bloating is a potential early sign of pregnancy. This often feels similar to the bloating that you experience prior to getting your period. Other early pregnancy symptoms include:
- missed period
- breast tenderness and swelling
- morning sickness
- frequent urination
- abdominal cramping
- sensitivity to odors
Unexpected weight gain is also a symptom of pregnancy. However, it may not be noticeable early on. During pregnancy, most women gain the majority of their pregnancy weight after week 20.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS happens when levels of androgens (male sex hormones) are higher than normal. This can have a variety of effects on your body, such as interfering with your cycle and causing excess hair growth.
Another potential side effect is weight gain. Weight gain due to PCOS often happens around the abdomen, which may cause your stomach to appear distended or bloated.
Other symptoms of PCOS can include:
- cysts that form on your ovaries
- irregular periods, which can include:
- very heavy periods
- frequently missed periods
- absent periods
- thinning hair
- darkened patches of skin, particularly on your neck and under your breasts
- skin tags
There’s no cure for PCOS, but medications can help reduce symptoms. Some medication options include:
- hormonal birth control, which can help keep your cycle regular and reduce symptoms like acne and excess hair growth
- metformin, a medication that’s typically used to treat diabetes, but may also help with PCOS
- clomiphene (Clomid), a medication that helps you ovulate
Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside of your uterus. Because this tissue is in an area where it doesn’t belong, it can cause inflammation, pain, and bleeding between periods.
Endometriosis can also cause abdominal bloating. This may be due to:
- growth of endometrial tissue within your abdomen, which can cause swelling and fluid retention
- endometriomas, a type of ovarian cyst that can develop with this condition
- other GI symptoms that often happen with endometriosis, such as constipation and diarrhea
Weight gain itself isn’t a symptom of endometriosis, but it can occur in some women. This may be due to several factors associated with endometriosis, including:
- Water retention: Retaining extra fluid can lead to a slight increase in weight.
- Medications: The side effects of some medications used to treat endometriosis, such as hormonal birth control, may lead to weight gain.
- Hysterectomy: Hysterectomy, a surgery to remove the uterus, is sometimes used to treat endometriosis. One 2009 cohort study found that women gained an average of 3 pounds in the year after their hysterectomy.
Endometriosis is treated with medications, which can include hormonal birth control, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, and pain relievers. In cases where symptoms are severe, surgery may be an option.
In some cases abdominal swelling with weight gain can signal an underlying condition that needs medical attention. See your doctor if you experience swelling and weight gain that:
- comes on suddenly
- is severe
- is prolonged
- can’t be explained by an existing health condition
- occurs along with additional symptoms like abdominal pain or shortness of breath
- happens along with changes to your menstrual cycle, such as very heavy periods, irregular periods, or absent periods (women)
Additionally, if you’re taking a medication that’s causing unwanted side effects like bloating and weight gain, speak with your doctor. They may be able to recommend an alternative medication or treatment.
Stomach swelling that happens with weight gain can have several causes. Some causes may be related to stress, alcohol consumption, or medications. Other causes can be a result of health conditions like hypothyroidism or PCOS.
Many causes of stomach swelling and weight gain can be treated with lifestyle changes and medications. However, others, such as ascites, can be serious.
See your doctor or healthcare provider as soon as possible if you have stomach swelling and weight gain that comes on suddenly, is severe, or happens with other concerning symptoms. Your doctor can work with you to determine what may be causing your condition, and prescribe the right treatment plan for you.
Swollen Stomach and Weight Gain
The human body is in constant change. There are many ways in which a person’s body changes throughout the years and it can all be traced down to genetics, lifestyle choices, or medical reasons. One way a person can notice how their body has been changing is through their weight, whether they’re gaining or losing it; this can be perceived in different ways, maybe it’s good that they’re gaining weight because they’ve been struggling with other issues, or it can be a sign of worry if they’re losing weight for no reason.
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Sudden weight gain or being overweight can also be harmful for a person’s health, given that it can bring forth a series of complications or it can aggravate any underlying medical condition. In fact, the most recent data suggests that “the number of obese people in the world has tripled since 1975 to roughly 30% of the total population”, and this number continues to rise. The projections shared by the World Health Organization (WHO) display that at least one in three of the world’s adult population is overweight.
However, it’s important to point out that some changes in the body, especially in the stomach area, are not necessarily due to weight gain. As we have mentioned, our body goes through different fluctuations and they can also happen in a single day; this can be due to bloating, which causes a swollen stomach.
We’ve all experienced having a swollen stomach and for this article, we’d like to discuss why it happens and how it can be linked to weight gain. We’ll also dive into why people tend to suddenly gain weight and how it’s different for men and women.
Our multidisciplinary team at LIMARP®, led by Dr. Liza María Pompa González, is here to help you understand the effects of being overweight, as well as provide all the necessary tools and information to ensure that you lead a healthier lifestyle. As always, we’d like to remind you that each case is different and the information presented in this article is general. If you have more questions after reading it, please make sure to contact your doctor or you’re welcome to schedule an appointment with us at our Tijuana clinic.
Causes and Symptoms of a Swollen Stomach
To begin, we’d like to present some information about bloating, which can cause a swollen stomach. Having a swollen stomach means that you feel full and uncomfortable, which is fairly common and can be due to several factors, such as:
- Having a lot of gas in your gut
- Swallowing air
- Eating certain foods or drinks, like soda or some vegetables
- Coeliac disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
A swollen stomach can be easily identified due to its notable symptoms that include feeling that your stomach is larger than usual; pain or discomfort; your stomach starts rumbling, and you’re releasing more gasses than usual. When you are bloated, the last thing you want to do is worsen it, which is why you should do the following if you’re experiencing any uncomfortable bloating.
First, try exercising to improve your digestion and prevent being bloated. It’s been noted that working out can relieve you when you have a swollen stomach. When eating your meals, chew with your mouth closed so you don’t swallow air; you should also drink plenty of water and eat high-fiber foods to avoid constipation. Massaging your stomach can release the air that’s making you bloated, so make sure to rub it from right to left to improve your condition.
If your swollen stomach doesn’t improve after following these recommendations, you can take laxatives or other medicines that ease bloating. In the case that you’re still struggling with a swollen stomach, it’s important that you contact your doctor, especially if you have been bloated for more than three weeks or regularly have a swollen stomach; if you found a lump in your stomach, and if you experience vomit, diarrhea, or constipation while bloated.
The Link Between Weight Gain and a Swollen Stomach
As we’ve mentioned in the article’s introduction, a swollen stomach or being bloated is not an indication of weight gain, sometimes it’s just a body fluctuation. However, there are circumstances where they do go hand in hand and while some causes may coincide for both men and women, there are others that only apply to the latter. So, for this section of the article we’ll go over the link between weight gain and a swollen stomach in order to answer any questions regarding this matter.
If you’re feeling bloated and have also noticed weight gain, it’s possible that it can be stress related. Stress can make you bloated, as well as other gastrointestinal symptoms; some researchers have also pointed out that stress can also make you more aware of your swollen stomach. There is also something called “stress eating”, which can drive many people to gain weight, especially if they don’t lead an active lifestyle.
Another reason why you may be bloated is due to the amount of alcohol you consume. Alcohol mostly contains empty calories which can lead to weight gain and it can cause a swollen stomach because it’s an inflammatory substance that affects the digestive system. There are also several medications that can make you bloated and gain weight such as corticosteroids, oral contraceptives, and antibiotics.
Cushing’s syndrome and hypothyroidism are some of the diseases that can also cause weight gain and a swollen stomach because they mainly affect your hormones and metabolism. This can lead to a series of uncomfortable symptoms that go beyond feeling bloated. It’s important that you speak to your doctor if you’re experiencing negative side effects from the prescription medicine you’re taking to control these diseases.
Causes for Weight Gain and Swollen Stomach in Women
As it is now common knowledge, some medical issues affect women differently than men, and being bloated and weight gain are some of them. To finish this article, we’ll go over some of these causes to get a bigger picture of the link between a swollen stomach and weight gain.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) has emotional and physical symptoms due to the changes in a woman’s hormone levels. A swollen and weight gain can happen because of water retention, food cravings, fatigue, and abdominal cramps. This can also cause a decrease in a woman’s physical activity, thus leading to weight gain.
Other causes include endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Women with PCOS tend to gain weight in their abdomen, which may cause it to look bloated, while those with endometriosis may experience bloating due to the growth of endometrial tissue in the abdomen; endometriomas, which is a type of ovarian cyst, and other gastrointestinal symptoms, such as constipation and diarrhea.
Contact Us to Learn More
If you want to learn more about the causes for weight gain or swollen stomach, schedule an appointment with one of our doctors. We can help determine the right treatment for you. Contact us online anytime or give us a call at (619) 373-0229.
-  “Most Obese Countries 2022”. https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/most-obese-countries. (Accessed February 19, 2023).
-  “Bloating”. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bloating/. (Accessed February 22, 2023).
-  Mari A, Abu Backer F, Mahamid M, Amara H, Carter D, Boltin D, Dickman R. Bloating and Abdominal Distension: Clinical Approach and Management. Adv Ther. 2019 May;36(5):1075-1084. doi: 10.1007/s12325-019-00924-7. Epub 2019 Mar 16. PMID: 30879252; PMCID: PMC6824367.
Severe bloating during ovulation: causes, symptoms and treatment
February 14, 2022
19 December 2019
Reviewed by an expert
How Flo Verifies Facts
All information published on Flo Health follows strict editorial standards for medical accuracy, validity, and timeliness. For more information on how we ensure the reliability of published information, please see our Fact Checking Principles.
Can ovulation cause bloating? Yes, and it’s definitely not very pleasant. We will tell you about this phenomenon and give you useful tips on how to overcome bloating.
Does ovulation cause bloating?
Ovulation is the release of a mature egg from the ovary. After that, the egg moves through the fallopian tubes and is ready for fertilization by a sperm cell.
Most women ovulate between days 11 and 21 of their menstrual cycle.
Symptoms of ovulation can be unexpectedly pleasant, such as heightened senses, increased energy and sex drive, and a generally good, optimistic mood.
However, for some women, ovulation can also cause unpleasant symptoms, such as chest discomfort or bloating.
It happens that during ovulation there is pain in the lower abdomen on one side. This is called ovulatory syndrome. It usually lasts from a few minutes to 1-2 days. The pain may be dull or sharp and may be accompanied by a small amount of bloody discharge from the vagina.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, ovulation is often accompanied by bloating.
Bloating associated with ovulation usually resolves after a couple of days. If it lasts for several days or longer, or you think that bloating is associated with some kind of disease, consult a doctor.
Abdominal bloating in the middle of the menstrual cycle can also be caused by various diseases: endometriosis, ovarian cyst or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Causes of bloating
During ovulation, hormonal changes occur in the body. Before the release of the egg from the ovary, the level of estrogen rises, which can lead to fluid retention in the body, and this, in turn, to bloating.
Weight gain during ovulation and bloating
Fluid retention during ovulation leads to bloating and breast enlargement, and therefore you can gain weight.
In addition, cravings for certain foods often appear during ovulation. For example, you may crave something very salty (chips, cheese, etc. ). And eating a lot of salt also leads to water retention and, as a result, bloating and weight gain.
Symptoms of ovulation
In addition to bloating, other signs may indicate ovulation.
- Change in vaginal discharge: it becomes profuse, transparent, viscous and watery. You may notice discharge on your underwear or toilet paper after urinating.
- Change in basal body temperature: it rises slightly after ovulation. Your basal body temperature should be measured at the same time in the morning and before you get out of bed.
- Changes in the cervix: when ovulating, it rises higher, becomes softer, moister and more open. Without practice, it will be difficult for you to compare her position during ovulation and at other periods of the menstrual cycle. To notice changes, you need to evaluate the condition of the cervix regularly.
In addition to bloating and other symptoms listed above, there are other secondary signs of ovulation:
- small spotting;
- breast tenderness;
- mild cramps or pain on one side of the abdomen or pelvis;
- worsening of taste, sight or smell;
- increased sexual desire.
If you want to get pregnant, have regular sex 5 days before ovulation and on the day of ovulation. This will increase your chances of conceiving. You can track ovulation not only by noticing its symptoms, but also with the help of special tests or measuring basal body temperature.
Ovulation and premenstrual bloating
The easiest way to find out whether bloating is due to your period or ovulation is to track when it occurs during your menstrual cycle.
As you already know, ovulation-related bloating can occur in the middle of the cycle, between days 11 and 14. However, bloating can also be a symptom of PMS. In this case, it begins about a week before menstruation and can last up to 1 week after it ends.
Other symptoms of PMS may include:
- breast tenderness or swelling;
- diarrhea or constipation;
- abdominal cramps;
- mood swings;
How to deal with severe bloating during ovulation
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Limit salt in your diet. Cut down on processed foods and fast food as they are high in salt.
- Try the so-called FODMAP diet. This is a diet low in indigestible carbohydrates, which cause gas, bloating and abdominal pain. These include wheat, onions, broccoli, garlic, cauliflower, cabbage, artichokes, apples, beans, watermelons, and pears.
- Magnesium preparations will also be useful. However, before you start the course, consult your doctor.
- Get regular aerobic exercise.
- Try relaxation exercises, including meditation and yoga.
- For some women, ovulation can cause unpleasant symptoms such as bloating. Bloating during ovulation usually occurs on the 11th to 14th day of a regular menstrual cycle. The reason for this is an increase in hormone levels, which leads to water retention in the body.
- It is because of bloating during ovulation that your weight may increase slightly.
- In addition to bloating, ovulation is manifested by changes in vaginal discharge, basal body temperature and position of the cervix.
- Bloating can occur not only during ovulation, but also before menstruation.
- Bloating due to ovulation usually resolves within a few days. To manage it, drink more water, limit your salt intake, avoid foods high in indigestible carbohydrates, take magnesium supplements, exercise, and do relaxation exercises.
History of updates
(14 February 2022)
(November 23, 2018)
What Rapid Weight Gain Says: 10 Dangers You Shouldn’t Miss
It’s okay to gain weight at any age, as reduced physical activity inexorably leads to muscle loss and a slower metabolism. However, if your weight has increased rapidly for no apparent reason, this can be a serious sign of health problems. Before visiting your doctor, write down everything you eat and describe your activity, mentioning what exercises you do and how often and what else you do outside of training. Choose a stretch of one to two weeks, or more if you can.
There are many reasons for unexplained weight gain that have nothing to do with changes in diet or exercise regimen. Here are some of them.
Most doctors begin to examine the thyroid gland if a woman comes to them with a complaint of sudden weight gain, because diseases of this organ affect an average of one in eight. The thyroid gland is responsible for secreting a hormone that regulates metabolism, and hypothyroidism can slow it down, leading to weight gain. Women with hypothyroidism may also suffer from low energy levels, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, hoarseness, or constipation. Pay attention to any of these symptoms and see your doctor, who can test your thyroid with a simple blood test if necessary.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth Syndrome
Bacteria keep the intestines working properly. Alas, in the digestive tract there are not only beneficial, but also harmful bacteria. When the balance between the two is disturbed, bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine can occur, causing extra gas in the gastrointestinal tract, bloating, diarrhea, pain, and sudden weight gain. Treatment for SIBO usually includes antibiotics to control the bacterial overgrowth.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is an endocrine disease that disrupts the balance of the reproductive hormones estrogen and testosterone and can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, such as menstrual failure, facial hair growth, migraines, and more. PCOS can also affect the body’s perception of insulin (a hormone that helps turn sugars and starches into energy), which can lead to dramatic weight gain (especially in the midsection). If you have irregular periods or other symptoms, see your gynecologist to have your hormones checked.
Rarely, an enlarged abdomen is the result of an ovarian tumor and associated fluid accumulation. Sometimes the swelling is so large that it can cause bloating. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer after menopause, but symptoms may appear earlier. Pay attention to pain in the lower abdomen, additional pressure on the bladder and unusually fast satiety. See your doctor if your bloating persists, especially if you have a family history of ovarian cancer.
Most early-stage cancers result in weight loss rather than weight gain, unless it is a cancer that releases cortisol, such as a tumor in the adrenal glands. However, as the cancer progresses, weight gain is possible, which may be due to an increase in the size of the tumor itself, the accumulation of fluid in the stomach or stomach cavity. This scenario is the worst and extremely rare, and most cancers cause other symptoms that require you to see a doctor at an earlier stage.
An extremely rare disease called Cushing’s disease is more common in women. This syndrome causes excessive production of cortisol and can cause excessive weight gain exclusively in the abdomen and back of the neck, while the legs and arms usually remain the same as before. The disease is accompanied by a significant decrease in energy, high levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as the possible development of diabetes. The most obvious sign is large red stretch marks on the abdomen.
There is a long list of prescription and over-the-counter medications that can cause sudden weight gain or water retention, which shows up on the scale as being overweight. At risk are some antidepressants, beta-blockers (drugs that lower blood pressure), some steroids (for example, prednisolone, an anti-inflammatory drug that causes water retention and increased appetite). And even over-the-counter antihistamines can destroy an enzyme in the brain that helps regulate food intake and cause noticeable weight gain. Don’t stop taking the pills in a hurry, but first talk to your doctor, who may be able to find a more gentle replacement.
Most of us don’t drink enough water, often mistaking thirst for hunger. Dehydrated cells begin to work less efficiently and convert food into energy less efficiently. Confusion, fatigue, and dizziness are signs of even the mildest dehydration that you should pay close attention to. Adequate hydration improves mitochondrial function and thus metabolism.
Insomnia often provokes us to consume too much sugar and fat as the body tries to make up for the lack of energy. Missed sleep affects hunger hormones and metabolism by increasing levels of ghrelin, the hormone that signals it’s time to eat, and lowering levels of leptin, the hormone that conveys satiety. A 2018 study published in the journal Sleep found that people who slept just one hour more per week lost more fat than those who slept one hour less, although both groups consumed the same amount of calories and joined in.