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ask: Rapid Weight Gain on my Tummy and Not Pregnant.

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I've been experiencing rapid weight gain around my belly very rapidly. Three pregnancy tests say I'm not pregnant. An external ultra sound checked my liver and gallbladder. An internal ultra maid sure I did I didn't have any fibroids or tumors. I have no appetite and am eating under 1200 cal per meal. This have been going on since Aug.09 I weighed 135, then by Oct. 09 when I weighed 150. By Jan I was 162lbs and now I weigh 170lbs. And ALL the weight goes straight to my belly. I look 5 months pregnant. I can't fit into any of my clothes! I think it would bother me less if I were gorging out on chocolate and fried foods or I was 5 mos pregnant. But, I'm barely eating. I'm doing everything I am supposed to be doing and I am not menopausal or post menopausal, and the pounds keep adding on.

The other thing that is sort of strange is that I had lipo five years ago on my tummy, so technically the fat should be going other places.

I have found another website with a forum for women who have the same problem. It seems like there are a lot of us out there.

So I guess the question is what would make me gain so much weight so fast on my tummy, but no where else?

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Diane Porter

Hi, Ellis,

So glad for the update on your endoscopy and your appointment with your endocrinologist. I'm glad the endoscopy went smoothly and that you're at least on the path of finding out what's going on there with your hoarse voice and your cough.

So sorry that the endocrinologist is not open to your input. I have a hard time understanding how he thinks your weight gain could be impossible when you're standing right in front of him with doctor's records!

Does your GP know of another endocrinologist he would feel good about? Now that the GP is on board, perhaps he'll help you find an endocrinologist who will accept the explanations of what's going on and start looking for a cause.

April 28, 2010 - 8:54am

Hi Andrea, I had my endoscopy yesterday. Very smooth procedure. My hoarse voice and deep cough have been getting worse. But it looks like they are going to be here for a while. The found a pollup and took tissue samples looking for damage tissue and the big C. But, they didn't have to dilate so that is great. I am still eating mushy food.

I also saw the endocrinologist last Tues. He is repeating my thyroid test. Unfortunately, he is not open to listening to me. He says my weight gain is "impossible." Luckily my GP finally got it when I took my weigh log and food log into his office. That morning I weighed 165.1 at 3:00 I weighed 170.0.

It was interesting. The nurses looked at my chart and said if I was pregnant. When I said ,"no" They all got worried. And said, you've gained 10 lbs in 10 mos. That's not right. All the nurses were asking about other symptoms.

So the GastroEnt. thinks whatever is going on, it is is not GI. I, just have a hoarse voice and a sore throat. I will look for another a new Endocrinologist who is a little more open to working with the patient. And the lbs keep coming.

I have my endoscopy yesterday.

April 23, 2010 - 7:05pm

I couldn't find the response you were referring to in your email. Shucks I was looking forward to reading.

Update on reflux damage: I go in for an endoscopy next Wed at 2:30. The are going to see if they can stretch the Shacters ring in my throat or stretch my esophagus.

I see the endocrinologist on Tues. I'm bringing all my reports plus your article and of course my food and weight chart. BTW, I gained 5lbs yesterday. And a shop keeper asked when I was due. I just smile and say it is a medical condition. But I know they feel mortified. I feel mortified later. All I can say is this is a strange journey we are on.

April 16, 2010 - 11:42am

Hey that sounds like you might be onto something. Right now, I'm dealing with the damage from the reflux. Next week I have am having an endoscopy to take care of a Shacter ring that has developed in my esophagus.

I'll call my GP tomorrow and ask for a referral to and endocronologist (sp) to see about cortisol levels.

I read up on your article and the links you've provided. And let you know if look like it fits. So far it looks good.

Thanks again for your hard detective work.


April 15, 2010 - 5:12pm
Diane Porter (reply to Ellis9600)


You are so very welcome. I'll watch for your updates as you learn more!

April 16, 2010 - 10:01am
Diane Porter

Hi, Ellis, so good to hear back from you.

I am very glad that your doctor is responding to what's going on. That's so important, because clearly something isn't right.

Are you swollen anywhere else? Ankles, feet, fingers?

Have you been tested for Cushing Syndrome? Here is a list of Cushing's symptoms from the Mayo Clinic:

Weight gain, particularly around your midsection and upper back
Muscle weakness
Rounding of your face (moon face)
Facial flushing
Fatty pad or hump between your shoulders (buffalo hump)
Pink or purple stretch marks (striae) on the skin of your abdomen, thighs, breasts and arms
Thin or fragile skin that bruises easily
Slow healing of cuts, insect bites and infections
Depression, anxiety and irritability
Loss of emotional control
Thicker or more visible body and facial hair (hirsutism)
Irregular or absent menstrual periods in females
Decreased libido
New or worsened high blood pressure
Glucose intolerance that may lead to diabetes
Bone loss, leading to fractures over time

and here are some possible causes:


Are you having any of the other symptoms in that list except for the rapid weight gain?

Did your doctor also check out your kidneys? Did he do blood tests or just the ultrasounds?

When your doctor did your ultrasounds, was he looking just at your organs and tissue, or also exploring (for instance, for large areas of retained fluid?)

I'm doing research for you, but as you know this is quite a puzzle. Hang in there with us!

April 14, 2010 - 9:58am
Ellis9600 (reply to Diane Porter)

Oh Diane, I wish I could hug you. You so wonderful helping me out. It is truly a G-d send. I love that you are looking at Mayoclinic.com that is one of my favorite resource guides for medical info on the web. I don't have any of the other Cushing's symptoms. Well, I do have fear and anxiety about this mystery condition. I got my Dr really on board this week. I showed him my weighted journal. I take my weight every morning first thing. That morning I weighted 165.5. At 3:00 that afternoon in his office I weighed 170.8. I showed him my food journal. He said, "Well something is definitel wrong." Yea he got it!

I am going to see another ganstroenterologist tomorrow. This one hand picked by my GP.

I have the report of the upper GI. It was unremarkable except for this "axial hiatus hernia, gastroesophageal reflux and Schatzki ring. Otherwise normal." Doc put me on Nexium twice a day. Very strange I had no symptoms of reflux accept for a hoarse voice. Never heart burn and indigestion. Still no symptoms, but the radiologist said the damage was "very bad."

The ultra sound was done to look at both organs and the abdominal cavity. They were thinking perhaps large pockets of fluids? But didn't find anything. They also did and internal looking for something fibroids, cysts, endometriosis. Everything was A-O-K. I suppose the next step is an endoscopy.

The blood tests they have done on me are Thyroid (normal) and Liver (normal).

GP and I are also starting to wonder if it was adrenal glands. What do you think?

All My Best and a thousand thank you's


April 14, 2010 - 2:38pm
Diane Porter (reply to Ellis9600)

Your experience with the upper GI report/acid reflux doesn't actually surprise me, since my husband went through the same thing very recently. Like you, his only symptom was occasional hoarsness, especially in the morning. His doctor also put him on daily medication for it too.

OK. Sounds like no Cushing's, so let's look at the adrenals. From what I have read, this may be a good place to investigate. Chronically elevated cortisol can absolutely be a cause of weight gain, especially around the abdomen, and it can be seemingly impossible to lose.

Here's an article I wrote about cortisol a while back:


I forget. Did you have your blood sugar levels tested along the way? How were they?

Here's a good primer on adrenal health in women:


Do you feel fatigued easily, Ellis?

Do you find that you catch colds or other bugs more easily than you used to?

Do you have a lot of stress in your life?

According to an article on about.com, here are some symptoms of adrenal fatigue:

* feeling rundown or overwhelmed
* craving salty and sweet foods
* you feel most energetic in the evening
* a feeling of not being restored after a full night's sleep or having sleep disturbances
* low stamina, slow to recover from exercise
* slow to recover from injury, illness or stress
* difficulty concentrating, brain fog
* poor digestion
* low immune function
* food or environmental allergies
* premenstrual syndrome or difficulties that develop during menopause
* consistent low blood pressure
* extreme sensitivity to cold

Here's that page:


Does your doctor plan to do a test for cortisol?

April 15, 2010 - 10:00am
Diane Porter


How old are you? Might you be entering perimenopause?

Have you had your thyroid levels tested?

Have you had your other hormone levels tested to see if they are in normal ranges?

What medications are you on, if any?

Do you use any hormonal-based birth control?

Are your periods normal? Nothing new or different there?

Do you have any digestion or constipation issues?

Were you tested for diabetes?

If you'll answer these questions, I'll be happy to research this for you and see if I can come up with any possibilities for you. We also have a medical board that we can submit tough questions to, which I'd be glad to do. I'll watch for your answers.

April 12, 2010 - 11:09am
Ellis9600 (reply to Diane Porter)

Diane, Thank you for your comments. I can't tell you how much it means to feel heard and to have a resource that might help me out of this.

We've checked my Thyroid levels were checked a week ago, they are solid (I take synthroid). Although I am 47 I still have regular normal periods and no perimenopausel symptoms. I got pregnant last year but I had a miscarriage. I am not on any drugs that would make me gain weighed. In fact I take Topamax for Fybromyalgia and I should be losing weight on it.

No Diabetes for me or any one in my family. Not on any birth control pills. Hormone levels all check out to be fine.

Ultra sound of gallbladder, liver and abdomen are clear. Internal vaginal ultra sound was clear no fibroids, cysts or endomitriosis.

I had a Dr visit today. A perfect day for it. I weigh myself every day first thing in the AM every AM. I keep a weight and food journal. I weighed in this morning at 165.5lbs. This afternoon I weighed in at 170lbs. My caloric intake in less than 1200cal per day. Luckily, he is getting the picture. He noted to me that I gained 14 pounds since I had seen him 10 days ago.

He wants me to go back to the gastroenterologist (sp) because they did find severe reflux in my throat when they did an Upper GI last week - weird I've never had any acid reflux symptoms except a hoarse voice. No constipation or other GI symptoms. He also wants to check out my adrenal glands to see that they are working properly.

So that is where it stands today. I'm actually thinking about asking my sister if can have some of her maternity clothes!

Thanks again for your detective work!

April 12, 2010 - 4:12pm
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