What Can Cause Sudden Weight Gain in Stomach?

Weight gain may not always be an indicator of poor health or presence of any serious medical issues. However, sudden weight gain may indicate presence of health conditions which may be harmful and dangerous to the body. It is, thus, very important to differentiate between gradual gains of few pounds from sudden unexplained weight gain. Sudden weight gain in stomach is often associated with dietary issues, lifestyle changes, hormonal fluctuations, emotional well-being etc. There has been cases where weight gain has led to depression, drop in confidence level and emotional weakness. While following a healthy diet is necessary for management of weight gain, in some cases it is necessary to determine the underlying cause of sudden weight gain in stomach and tackle the issue as required. It is important to identify the underlying medical issue and word towards reversing the condition.

What Can Cause Sudden Weight Gain in Stomach?

Causes of Sudden Weight Gain in Stomach

The causes of sudden weight gain can be varied and they are as follows:

Thyroid Issues Can Cause of Sudden Weight Gain in Stomach:

Fluctuation in thyroid hormone often leads to weight issues. If the thyroid is unable to produce enough thyroid hormones as required by the body, (condition such as hypothyroidism, Graves, Hashimoto’s) it can lead to weight gain around the stomach area. It is advised to get this issue sorted at the earliest to avoid development of further complications.

Side Effects of Birth Control Pills:

Birth control pills may cause weight gain in certain women based on the hormonal levels, brand of the pills and dosage. Weight gain could be around stomach region only. It is advised to consult with a doctor before starting any birth control pills and report any issue with weight gain. This can be managed by changing the medication or by prescribing additional medication for reducing weight gain. After starting a new medication, it is generally advised to give 2 weeks to settle in and see the weight gain is in control.

Lack of Dietary Nutrients:

Lack of nutrients in diet or poor absorption of nutrients in the body can lead to weight gain. For example vitamins such as A, D, E and K are fat soluble vitamins, because of which it has to be consumed with healthy fats for normal absorption in the body. It is necessary to pair healthy foods such that the body gets its optimal benefits.

Depression Can Cause Sudden Weight Gain in Stomach:

It has been seen that depression leads to increased production of cortisol in the body, which is a stress hormone capable of weight gain. Besides this, depression can also cause binge eating or stress eating which can lead to weight gain in stomach.

Lack of Rest:

Excessive work out without adequate rest to the body can cause excess storage of fat in the body especially in the stomach and hip region. This is due to excess production of cortisol in the body which promotes fat deposition in the body and even wipe away muscles.

Bacterial Overgrowth in the Gut Can Cause Sudden Weight Gain in Stomach:

Bacterial infestation in the gut can lead conditions such as bloating, abdominal cramps, fatigue, bowel issues, feeling of fullness and weight gain around the stomach area. Imbalance in the gut flora can also alter our immunity. Slow bowel movement and issues with digestion can also lead to weight gain. It is essential to follow a high fibre diet with adequate hydration to avoid poor digestion and bowel issues. Side effects of certain medications can also alter the gut flora.

Change in Normal Routine:

Change in normal work routine or general life routine can lead to weight gain. This is possible due to change in sleep pattern or diminished sleep. Traveling can also interfere with our normal sleep pattern. Lack of sleep can lead to increased cortisol level, change in hunger levels and alternation in other hormones such as ghrelin and leptin, which can cause increased food craving and thus weight gain in stomach.

Imbalance in Electrolyte:

Inadequate intake of fluid or water can lead to dehydration, alteration in electrolyte balance and weakness. Excess of salt intake (high sodium diet) can also cause water retention leading to bloating around the abdominal area.

Presence of Tumor:

Extended stomach can also be due to presence of serious medical issues such as growing tumor. This could be due to ovarian cancer or any other malignant tumor within the abdomen. Bloating after a heavy meal or during periods is normal; however, bloating associated with pain can be alarming and should be checked with a doctor immediately.

Sudden Weight Gain in Stomach Due to Insulin Resistance:

Excess intake of sugar items can lead to development of insulin resistance. This in turn causes weight gain and it increases the risk of developing heart issues and diabetes. Poor diet can change the cellular response of the body and lead to weight gain in stomach in addition to other serious complications.


The causes of sudden weight in and around stomach being varied starting from hormonal imbalance to serious conditions like tumor, hence, one must seek immediate medical advice if the weight gain is drastic and particularly if no apparent reasons could be figured out.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 18, 2018

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