Weight Gain: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment – Verywell Health

Rebecca Valdez is a registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition communications consultant, passionate about food justice, equity, and sustainability.
Elizabeth Barnes, MS, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian specializing in eating disorders, type 2 diabetes, and heart health. She works primarily with clients with eating disorders and disordered eating to help them mend their relationship with food and their bodies and is based in North Carolina.
Weight gain is when your weight increases due to changes in your body composition, like increased fat, muscle, or fluids. It is normal for people to experience weight changes throughout different stages of life, including puberty, pregnancy, and aging. Consult with your healthcare provider if you're concerned about weight gain.
This article discusses the symptoms, causes, and treatment for weight gain.
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Symptoms of weight gain will vary depending on the underlying cause. The most common signs include:
Additional symptoms may occur if an underlying medical condition is causing the weight gain.
There are many possible causes of weight gain, including genetics, stage of life, lifestyle factors, environmental factors, medical conditions, or medications. 

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While genetics do not directly cause weight gain, research suggests that some genetic factors may interact with the environment and influence your behaviors and metabolism, which can lead to weight gain.
Our bodies change throughout our lives. Here are some examples:
Certain habits and lifestyle choices can impact weight.

Environmental factors such as access to nutritious foods, safe places to exercise, and exposure to environmental toxins affect weight.

Certain medical conditions are linked to weight gain.

Weight gain can be a side effect of several classes of medications, including:
The treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause of weight gain. Sudden or rapid weight gain may be a sign of fluid retention, an underlying medical condition, or a side effect of a medication. Working with a healthcare provider will help rule out any severe conditions. 
Lifestyle factors related to sleep, diet, and physical activity contribute to weight gain. Changing these habits may help treat weight gain. 
It's important to recognize that weight gain may be caused by factors not in your control, including genetics, aging, and environmental factors.
A healthcare provider will assess your weight change and look for an underlying cause through various tests and examinations, including:
Weight gain, along with the symptoms below, requires medical attention:
Weight gain is a normal part of life as our bodies change over time. As we grow, such as in puberty and pregnancy, we will gain weight. Aging, lifestyle, environment, and medical conditions can contribute to weight gain. Some medical conditions and medications can cause weight gain as well.
It's important to understand the nuances of weight gain and recognize when to see a healthcare provider to rule out dangerous conditions.

Weight gain can be a frustrating symptom, especially when unexplained. It’s important to remember that factors that may be out of your control can contribute to weight gain. Getting enough sleep, adopting a healthy diet, and getting enough physical activity are changes you can control that can positively affect your overall health.
Various causes of weight gain include aging, genetic factors, lack of sleep, environmental factors, smoking cessation, medical conditions, and medications. 
Work with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause of weight gain. If it isn’t attributed to a health condition and doesn’t require medical attention, finding resources to address lifestyle factors may help. Remember that many factors, like aging, medical, and environmental conditions, may be out of your control.
Weight gain is not a reported symptom of COVID-19 infection. However, a recent study showed that a rare effect of post-acute COVID-19 syndrome (PAC) was excessive eating, inability to feel satisfied or control appetite, eating large amounts of food, and weight gain. If you have post-acute COVID-19 symptoms, including an increase in appetite, food intake, and weight gain, speak to your healthcare provider. 
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By Rebecca Valdez, MS, RDN
Rebecca Valdez is a registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition communications consultant, passionate about food justice, equity, and sustainability.

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