Rapid weight gain may be caused by lifestyle changes like quitting smoking. However, it may also indicate an underlying medical condition, such as kidney disease, insomnia, and cirrhosis.
Many people experience short-term weight fluctuations of
However, rapid weight gain may also be a sign of several underlying health conditions that require medical treatment.
This article discusses 11 possible causes of rapid weight gain and other accompanying symptoms to look out for.
Certain types of medications may cause people to gain weight,
- antihyperglycemics, such as for diabetes
- antihypertensives, such as for hypertension
Not every medication in these categories will cause weight fluctuations. However, if a person experiences rapid weight gain, it is important they speak with a doctor before they stop taking them.
A lack of sleep may affect a person’s circadian rhythm, which may lead to weight gain by
- appetite hormones
- energy needs and expenditure
- food choices
Some people may gain weight initially when they stop smoking tobacco products.
Nicotine, which is found in cigarettes and other tobacco products, may increase a person’s metabolism and
However, changes in weight as a result of quitting smoking vary depending on the person. Researchers from another study found that
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine system disorder that affects people with ovaries in their reproductive years.
Rapid weight gain or swelling in particular areas of the body (edema) can be due to fluid retention.
If blood is flowing slowly to and from the heart, it affects the function of other major organs in the body. As a result, fluid collects in the tissues, which may cause weight gain and swelling in the:
- stomach area
A person’s weight usually fluctuates by a few pounds over the course of a day. If their weight returns to normal and they do not have additional symptoms, the temporary increase may simply be caused by bloating and fluid retention.
Other signs and symptoms of heart failure include:
- fluid collecting inside the lungs (pulmonary edema)
- frequent coughing
- feeling breathless when resting
- loss of appetite
- difficulty sleeping or lying flat
A person should seek medical attention if they experience any of these symptoms alongside rapid weight gain.
The kidneys are responsible for filtering out waste products and fluids from the body. If they are damaged, they may not properly excrete these and the body may retain fluid, resulting in weight gain.
Other symptoms that may indicate a kidney problem include:
A person should speak with a doctor if they experience rapid weight gain and any of these symptoms.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome
- weight gain, particularly in the abdomen, neck, face, and upper back
- thin arms and legs
- getting bruised easily
- muscle weakness
- irregular menstrual cycle
- erectile dysfunction
If a medication is causing Cushing’s syndrome, a person should speak to a doctor about the possibility of changing their treatment plan.
Acromegaly is a hormonal condition that happens if the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone.
Symptoms of acromegaly may
- enlargement and swelling of the feet, hands, lips, tongue, and nose
- oily, coarse, or thick skin
- bone changes, particularly in the jaw, nose, and teeth
- aching joints
- vision problems
- a deeper voice
- skin tags
- excessive sweating
- obstructive sleep apnea
Ovarian cancer refers to any cancer that begins in the ovaries.
- pain in the abdomen or pelvis
- difficulty sleeping
- frequent or urgent need to urinate
- loss of appetite or feeling full quickly
- unusual menstrual cycle
Ovarian cancer often reaches the later stages without detection, so anyone with abnormal pain in the pelvic region should speak to a doctor. Diagnosing cancer at an earlier stage generally results in a better prognosis.
If people are experiencing rapid and unintentional weight gain with no clear cause, they should see a doctor.
How did I gain 5 pounds in one day?
It is normal for people to experience short-term weight fluctuations. For example, the body may fluctuate between
- intestinal contents
- glycogen stores
- water stores
- labile protein stores
Why did I gain 10 pounds in a week?
A person may experience weight fluctuations for a variety of reasons, such as:
- eating more or having a diet high in processed food
- perimenopause and menopause
- metabolism slowing down with age
- being less physically active
- fluid retention from dysfunction of the heart, liver, or kidney
- stress, depression, or anxiety
- lack of sleep
A person should speak with a doctor if they experience rapid weight gain that is not caused by the above triggers.
Weight gain and short-term fluctuations may happen for a variety of reasons, such as aging or making lifestyle and dietary changes.
However, fast weight gain can be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as a problem with the thyroid, kidneys, or heart.
Anyone who experiences rapid, unexplained weight gain should see a doctor to determine the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan.