Causes Of Sudden Weight Gain Or Weight Loss

It can be a challenge to maintain your ideal weight. Many factors, such as diet, exercise, and metabolism, can all affect your ability to maintain a healthy weight. It’s normal to gain or lose weight if your lifestyle changes. 

However, losing or gaining weight suddenly could be a sign of an underlying health issue. Not only could this underlying issue cause other symptoms, but the sudden weight gain or loss can also lead to additional health problems. Therefore, you should understand what can cause sudden weight changes so that you can take the necessary steps to address them.

What Is Considered Sudden Weight Gain Or Loss?

Gaining or losing a few pounds is considered normal for most people, and it can be due to fluctuations in your diet and exercise. However, losing more than five percent of your body weight within six months without any lifestyle changes is considered sudden weight loss. If you’re gaining weight within a short period of time without having changed any of your lifestyle habits, this is regarded as sudden weight gain. For instance, gaining more than five pounds within a week without changing your eating or exercise habits could be a sign of sudden weight gain.

This type of rapid weight change could indicate an underlying health condition and can lead to other health issues as a direct result.

Common Causes Of Weight Change 

If you experience a sudden weight change, there’s a chance it’s the result of an underlying condition or issue. The following are some of the common causes of sudden weight change:

Thyroid Diabetes

Thyroid diabetes is when your thyroid gland produces too much or too little of the hormone thyroxine. Thyroxine is a hormone that is essential to regulating your metabolism. When your thyroid isn’t producing the right amount of thyroxine, it can lead to an imbalance in how your body processes energy. There are two types of thyroid diabetes that can cause sudden weight change:

  • Hyperthyroidism: If the thyroid gland produces too much thyroxine, it can lead to an increased metabolism. This can cause sudden weight loss as the body burns more calories than it takes in.
  • Hypothyroidism: When your thyroid isn’t producing enough thyroxine, it can cause your metabolism to decrease and your appetite to increase. This can cause sudden weight gain as your body will take in more calories than it is able to burn. 


Some medications can cause either weight gain or loss. For instance, certain medications for depression can have side effects such as appetite changes and weight gain. Certain drugs used to treat diabetes or high blood pressure can also cause sudden weight change. 

Anxiety Or Depression

Anxiety and depression can also lead to sudden weight change. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, your eating habits could also be affected. You may find yourself overeating or skipping meals altogether, leading to sudden weight gain or loss. You should seek help from a mental health professional if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, as it can help address the underlying issue and prevent any additional health problems. 

Metabolic Dysfunction

Metabolic dysfunction is another common cause of sudden weight gain or loss. This type of dysfunction can be caused by various factors, including genetics, medications, lifestyle changes, and more. Metabolic dysfunction occurs when your body’s metabolic processes don’t function as they should. This can lead to an imbalance in how your body breaks down and stores energy, leading to sudden weight change


People with diabetes are more likely to experience sudden weight gain or loss due to insulin resistance, which can lead to an imbalance in how the body stores and uses energy. Insulin is a hormone that helps in the regulation of your blood sugar levels. When the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, it can lead to an increase in appetite and sudden weight gain.


Cancer is a disease that is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. When cancer cells form, they can cause the body to break down its tissues and other healthy cells to fuel their growth. This can lead to weight loss and cachexia, which is an unexpected lack of muscle mass due to cancer-related causes. Cancer patients may also experience sudden weight changes due to certain treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation. 

Neurological Disorder

Some neurological disorders can affect the body’s metabolism. Depending on what the condition is, this can lead to sudden weight loss or gain. Additionally, some neurological disorders may cause an increase in appetite, which can lead to sudden weight gain. Conditions such as Huntington’s disease, Prader-Willi syndrome, and metabolic encephalopathy can all cause an increase in appetite. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which can cause inflammation and joint pain. This condition is associated with sudden weight loss because it can lower the appetite and increase fatigue. Additionally, certain medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis can also contribute to weight change. 

Risks Of Sudden Loss In Weight

In addition to the possible risks associated with the conditions listed above, sudden weight loss can lead to other health problems. Some of the potential risks include:

  • Nutrient deficiencies: When your body isn’t getting enough nutrients, it can lead to numerous health issues, including anemia, fatigue, and increased risk of infection.
  • Muscle loss: When your body isn’t getting enough calories, it may start to break down muscle tissue to fuel its needs. This can lead to a decrease in muscle mass and strength.
  • Gallstones: When your body isn’t getting enough calories, it can cause the production of cholesterol to increase. An increased level of cholesterol in the body can cause gallstones to form in the gallbladder, which can cause pain and other symptoms.
  • Electrolyte imbalances: When your body doesn’t get enough calories, it can result in an imbalance in electrolytes. This can cause various symptoms, such as dizziness, fatigue, and confusion.
  • Loss of menstrual function: Sudden weight loss can cause a disruption in the menstrual cycle. Such disruptions could potentially cause infertility as well as other health problems. This can happen as a result of nutrient deficiencies or hormonal imbalances. 

Risks Of Unexpected Weight Gain

Just as sudden weight loss can have negative consequences, so can sudden weight gain. Some of the potential risks include:

  • Obesity-related health conditions: Sudden weight gain can increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Weight gain increases the risk of heart conditions because of the extra strain it puts on the heart. Weight gain can increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as lead to other cardiovascular risks.
  • Joint problems: Excess weight can put additional stress on the joints, which can cause pain and inflammation. This can be especially problematic for those with joint conditions such as osteoarthritis.
  • Psychological impact: Unexpected weight gain can negatively affect your mental health. For example, it can cause feelings of shame and low self-esteem. Asking for help from a mental health professional is essential if you’re struggling with the emotional effects of sudden weight gain. 
  • Metabolic disorders: Unexpected weight gain can lead to an imbalance in the way the body breaks down and stores energy. This can increase the risk of metabolic disorders, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and type 2 diabetes. PCOS is an endocrine disorder that affects some women. Symptoms of PCOS include irregular or absent menstrual cycles and infertility. 
  • Difficulty losing weight: Unexpected weight gain can make it harder to lose the extra pounds in a healthy way. 

Diagnosing Weight Change

It’s important to talk to your doctor if you experience sudden weight change. Your doctor will ask questions concerning your diet, exercise habits, and family medical history. They will also weigh and measure you to determine whether you are overweight or underweight. Doing so will help the doctor determine if you are within a healthy weight range for your height and age and are at risk of any medical conditions caused by sudden weight change. 

Your doctor may also order laboratory tests to help identify any underlying health conditions that could be contributing to your weight change. These tests may include urine tests, blood tests, and imaging studies. Blood tests can check for signs of nutrient deficiencies or hormonal imbalances, while urine and imaging studies might be used to diagnose conditions such as cancer or neurological disorders. 

When Should I See A Doctor About Unexplained Weight Change?

You should speak to your doctor if you experience a sudden, unexplained weight change without any lifestyle changes. This is especially true if the weight change has been ongoing for over a few days or weeks and isn’t responding to lifestyle changes. Other signs that warrant medical attention include excessive fatigue, abnormal menstrual cycles, and difficulty sleeping. Additionally, if you have a family history of weight-related disorders or are experiencing any other worrisome symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor. 

Conventional Treatments 

If your doctor determines that you’ve experienced sudden weight change due to an underlying health condition, they will likely recommend a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. This may include medications, medication changes, lifestyle changes, or a combination of both. For some conditions, such as cancer or autoimmune disorders, more aggressive treatments might be recommended, such as chemotherapy or immunosuppressant medications. 

Additionally, your doctor may recommend nutritional counseling and an exercise plan to help you reach a healthy weight. If you’re having difficulty managing your diet or exercising, they may refer you to a nutritionist or physical therapist for more specialized help.

Our Approach To Pain-Induced Weight Change

Unexplained weight change can cause chronic pain due to the associated inflammation and muscle tension. Our Neuragenex Neurofunctional Pain Management (NFPM) approach aims to treat pain-induced weight change. This means we address the root cause of your weight change to help provide long-term pain relief. We do this by developing a whole-person treatment plan that consists of drug-free, non-invasive, non-surgical, and non-chiropractic therapies. These treatment modalities include the following:


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IV Therapy

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Lifestyle Counseling

Lifestyle counseling is an approach to managing chronic pain that involves identifying, assessing, and modifying lifestyle factors contributing to an individual's pain. For example, lifestyle factors such as nutrition, physical activity, stress, sleep quality...

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Conditions We Provide Pain Relief For

In addition to treating pain caused by sudden weight loss or gain, our Neuragenex NFPM protocol can also provide pain relief from underlying causes, such as metabolic dysfunction.

Metabolic Dysfunction Pain Treatment

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Manage Unexpected Weight Change

Unexpected weight change can have serious implications for your health. However, there are steps you can take to manage this change and reduce the risk of associated health conditions. It’s essential to speak to a doctor if you experience sudden weight change, so they can diagnose any underlying causes and determine the best course of action for you. With our Neuragenex NFPM protocol, you can find long-term relief from pain caused by sudden weight change. Our treatment modalities help address the root cause of your condition to provide lasting pain relief and improved overall health.

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