An endocri­nol­o­gist told how to deal with excess weight if the func­tion­ing of the endocrine sys­tem and the bal­ance of hor­mones are dis­rupt­ed.

Our expert: Elena Syurakshina, endocrinologist, author of the therapeutic weight loss and rejuvenation program.

Don’t self-med­icate! In our arti­cles, we col­lect the lat­est sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence and opin­ions from respect­ed health experts. But remem­ber: only a doc­tor can make a diag­no­sis and pre­scribe treat­ment.

You will be sur­prised how often over­weight patients come to see an endocri­nol­o­gist, hop­ing that the doc­tor will find an endocrine prob­lem. Because if hor­mones are to blame for every­thing, this means that the doc­tor will pre­scribe you mag­ic pills, the bal­ance will be restored, the excess weight will go away by itself.

“I don’t eat any­thing and I’m gain­ing weight. Doc­tor, I need to get test­ed for hor­mones!” — This is a very com­mon request at an appoint­ment with an endocri­nol­o­gist. And in most cas­es I have to dis­ap­point such patients! Yes, indeed, there are endocrine dis­or­ders that con­tribute to weight gain, and there are many of them.

But much more often, extra pounds still appear not due to mal­func­tions of the endocrine sys­tem, but due to lifestyle — excess calo­rie food, large amounts of fat and sim­ple car­bo­hy­drates in the diet, poor diet, low phys­i­cal activ­i­ty… And this is actu­al­ly great news: you don’t need treat­ment, you just need to get your diet and exer­cise rou­tine right!

But still, in some cas­es it real­ly is a mat­ter of endocrine dis­or­ders.

What endocrine disorders can cause weight gain?

  • Hypothy­roidism is a defi­cien­cy of thy­roid hor­mones.
  • Poly­cys­tic ovary syn­drome.
  • Hyper­an­dro­genism is an increase in the lev­el of male hor­mones in women.
  • Hypog­o­nadism in men and women is a decrease in the lev­el of sex hor­mones.
  • Insuli­no­ma is a tumor that pro­duces insulin.
  • Patholo­gies of the adren­al glands.
  • Genet­ic dis­or­ders lead­ing to improp­er action of cer­tain hor­mones.
  • Absolute lep­tin defi­cien­cy is a rare pathol­o­gy that is char­ac­ter­ized by severe obe­si­ty from ear­ly child­hood.

How not to miss thy­roid dis­eases

If you are sure that your diet is cor­rect, there is enough phys­i­cal activ­i­ty, and your body weight is still grow­ing rapid­ly, you should real­ly con­sult an endocri­nol­o­gist. Most like­ly, there are dis­tur­bances in the func­tion­ing of the endocrine sys­tem if you notice the fol­low­ing symp­toms:

  1. Increased emo­tion­al­i­ty. You have become more irri­ta­ble than usu­al, and even the small­est things can make you angry or bring you to tears.
  2. Dry skin. Pre­vi­ous­ly, the skin was mixed or nor­mal, but now it has become much dri­er and mois­tur­iz­ers can­not cope with the sit­u­a­tion.
  3. Sleep dis­or­ders. You can­not fall asleep for a long time or often wake up in your sleep, and in the morn­ing you feel unable to get out of bed.
  4. Decreased libido. Libido is influ­enced by many fac­tors — stress, nutri­tion, phys­i­cal ten­sion, rela­tion­ships with a part­ner. But if you don’t expe­ri­ence chron­ic stress, are not on a diet or take med­ica­tions that can affect your libido, and your desire still decreas­es, you should con­sult a doc­tor.
  5. Nails become brit­tle and peel, even if you take care of them the same way as always.
  6. Hair loss. Nor­mal­ly, an adult’s hair is con­stant­ly renewed, so it is com­plete­ly nor­mal for a cer­tain amount of hair to fall out. But if they lit­er­al­ly start to “crum­ble,” this is a rea­son to think about the func­tion­ing of the endocrine sys­tem.

When these symp­toms are accom­pa­nied by weight gain, this may indi­cate one of the endocrine patholo­gies, and you should not post­pone a vis­it to the doc­tor. As a rule, already at the ini­tial appoint­ment, an endocri­nol­o­gist can dis­tin­guish “endocrine” obe­si­ty from ali­men­ta­ry (that is, nutri­tion-relat­ed) obe­si­ty and, if nec­es­sary, pre­scribe treat­ment.

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