Some hormone problems may lead to being overweight and obese, such as underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), Cushing’s syndrome, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). There are also genetic disorders, such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome, which can cause obesity.
Underactive thyroid is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. Lack of thyroid hormone will slow down metabolism and cause weight gain. Weakness and fatigue are other symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Cushing’s syndrome is a condition in which the body’s adrenal glands make too much of the hormone cortisol. Cushing’s syndrome can also develop if a person takes high doses of certain medicines, such as prednisone, for long periods.
People who have Cushing’s syndrome gain weight, have upper-body obesity, a rounded face, fat around the neck, and thin arms and legs.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition that affects less than 10 percent of women who are of childbearing age. Women who have PCOS often are obese, have excess hair growth, and have reproductive problems and other health issues. These problems are caused by high levels of hormones called androgens.
Genes can be a direct cause of obesity in disorders such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. Bardet-Biedl syndrome is a disorder that can affect many parts of the body. Some of the more common features of Bardet-Biedl syndrome include vision loss, obesity, extra fingers or toes, and intellectual disability. Prader-Willi syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that causes poor muscle tone, low levels of sex hormones, and a constant feeling of hunger.