Weight Loss in Women - When Should You Be Worried?

Not many women would be worried if they lost a few pounds. As a matter of fact, most women would be thrilled to get on the scale today and find out that they've been losing weight-especially if they haven't done anything to promote such a change. But the truth is that unexplained weight loss in women could be a sign of something more serious.

During the teenage years, weight fluctuation-up or down-can be a perfectly normal side effect of adolescent growing pains. But if your teenage girl is losing weight at a rapid pace then these could be signs of:

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o    Depression
o    Anorexia Nervosa
o    Bulimia
o    Gastrointestinal diseases

Unexplained weight loss in women can occur at any time in a woman's life. If you notice that you've been losing a lot of weight for no reason, get to your doctor and have them check for the following, especially if you have been experiencing digestion problems, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain as these symptoms could point to:

o    Stomach ulcer
o    Inflammatory bowel disease
o    Chronic liver disease
o    Malabsorption
o    Diabetes Type 2
o    Hyperthyroidism
o    Cancer of the stomach, gallbladder, pancreas or liver
o    Endocrine disorders

There are also traumas and mental issues that might affect a woman's weight loss, such as grief, post-traumatic stress disorder, or depression. Obviously, any weight loss during pregnancy should be investigated. 

A woman's body goes through an enormous amount of changes during menopause - probably more than at any other time since adolescence and pregnancy. While weight gain is a perfectly natural side effect of menopause, some weight loss can occur - and can be a sign of a hormone imbalance that should be corrected with medication.

Older women can also suffer from excessive weight loss for a variety of reasons:

o    Ill-fitting dentures
o    Alzheimer's
o    Dementia
o    Stroke
o    Neglect
o    Difficulty preparing meals
o    Inability to purchase food, whether because of money problems or physical problems

Just like you have to be vigilant with teenage daughters, so to must you take care to notice any significant weight changes in the elderly women in your life.  While the reason for unexplained weight loss in older women might not necessarily be health related, it can be medication related. If she forgets to tell her doctor about all the medications she might be taking, the doctor might prescribe something that counteracts or reacts badly, causing weight loss. 

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