The frustration of seeing extra pounds on the scale—or of a too-tight waistband that you know used to fit—is understandable. But did you know that anything from a hormonal imbalance to vitamin deficiencies to the prescription meds you take can hold clues to what’s making you gain weight?
Here, seven health issues that could be standing between you and your ideal weight—and how to fix them.
1. You’re taking the wrong Rx
There’s a long list of medications that can cause weight gain: If you’re taking birth control pills, excess hormones for hormone therapy, steroids, beta-blockers for heart disease and blood pressure, anti-seizure meds, breast cancer medications like Tamoxifen, some treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, and even some migraine and heartburn medications, you may notice pounds creeping on.
“When I see patients who are concerned about weight gain, I start looking at their medications,” says Dr. Steven D. Wittlin. clinical director of the endocrine-metabolism division at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, NY. “That’s a biggie. Some may affect appetite; some may affect metabolism.” Others may simply make you feel better and thus regain your lost appetite.
How to Fix it: If you suspect your medication is affecting your waistline, your doctor may be able to find an alternative treatment that won’t have that particular side effect.