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What are some hidden causes of weight gain?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

You may feel like you're doing everything right - restricting your calories, exercising your body - yet you keep gaining weight. The issue may be hormonal, such as hypothyroidism (which slows down your metabolism so that you can't burn calories the way you used to), or it could be something like polycystic ovarian disease, which accounts for a huge amount of unexplained weight gain. With PCOS, excess estrogen gets converted to androgens, and that's what leads to the additional poundage. Fluctuating testosterone levels could be another cause of unsightly weight gain. Testosterone levels can fall in older men and postmenopausal women. This typically means less muscle mass, and with less muscle mass, it's much harder to burn fat (thus leading to weight gain).
The cure: Do resistance exercises. The sign that your testosterone levels are dropping: If you have to shave (your face or legs) less often than you used to. Medications can help control these problems, as well as the accompanying fat. So if you can't figure out what you're doing that's contributing to weight gain, it's worth talking to your doc about.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.