Help--I have gained 80 pounds within a year

  1. 0
    I am writing to you nurses because I have gained almost 80 pounds since September. In September I weighed 170, and I just weighed myself last night. Now it's 248. I eat about a 2000 calorie diet, and exercise about 3 days a week. Lately I have been having so much pain- I can barely walk. I am only 24. The pain starts in my lower back and shoots down my outer part of my legs. There are purple marks on my obese abdomen, down my inner thighs, and down my arms. The only medication I take is Lexapro for depression, and neurontin for my back pain. I stopped taking BC because my boyfriend has no interest in having sex with me - I think he is repulsed by what I've become.

    I have been under so much stress lately. Perhaps it's my stress hormones?

    I have been tested for diabetes recently, and my fasting blood glucose was 80. My thyroid hormones were normal. I have been to the ER for my back pain and headaches. They did a CT scan on me, and everything was normal. I feel that I am not getting that great of care from the doctors I've been to. I trust nurses very much, and I want to know if you've ever had any patients who rapidly gained weight--- what was their diagnosis?

    Whatever is happening to me is destroying my quality of life. I can barely walk up a flight of stairs from the pain in my legs and back. This pain must be from my obesity, BUT where is all the rapid weight coming from. It is affecting so much, I am considering ending my life.

    Please, RNs, LPNs, Nursing Students, Nurse Practioners, please give me some advice on my situation.
    Last edit by Scarlet K on Jul 11, '04
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  4. 23 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    I would see an endocrinologist. Another thing I have heard of has to do with gyn problems.... maybe talk to your gyn about conditions like yours. Please, please see a good endocrinologist!

    Quote from Scarlet K
    I am writing to you nurses because I have gained almost 80 pounds since September. In September I weighed 170, and I just weighed myself last night. Now it's 248. I eat about a 2000 calorie diet, and exercise about 3 days a week. Lately I have been having so much pain- I can barely walk. I am only 24. The pain starts in my lower back and shoots down my outer part of my legs. There are purple marks on my obese abdomen, down my inner thighs, and down my arms. The only medication I take is Lexapro for depression, and neurontin for my back pain. I stopped taking BC because my boyfriend has no interest in having sex with me - I think he is repulsed by what I've become.

    I have been tested for diabetes recently, and my fasting blood glucose was 80. My thyroid hormones were normal. I have been to the ER for my back pain and headaches. They did a CT scan on me, and everything was normal. I feel that I am not getting that great of care from the doctors I've been to. I trust nurses very much, and I want to know if you've ever had any patients who rapidly gained weight--- what was their diagnosis?

    Whatever is happening to me is destroying my quality of life. I can barely walk up a flight of stairs from the pain in my legs and back. This pain must be from my obesity, BUT where is all the rapid weight coming from. It is affecting so much, I am considering ending my life.

    Please, RNs, LPNs, Nursing Students, Nurse Practioners, please give me some advice on my situation.
  6. 0
    it could be the lexapro
  7. 0
    Both of the medications are known to have side effects of increasing appetite/weight gain. I would speak with the prescribing physician who has you on the antidepressant to see if a change can be made. Unfortunately, most antidepressants can have a weight gain side effect but the amount of weight you have gained is usually not solely due to a medication.

    I agree with a previous poster that a visit to an endocrinologist is in order. Good luck and I hope you're on the road to recovery soon.
  8. 0
    You have three separate conditions that are creating a vicious cycle. The back pain prevents you from exercising, which causes you to gain weight. The weight gain exacerbates your depression. The antidepressants are probably causing an increased appetite, which causes you to gain weight. The weight gain exacerbates your back pain. It is a bad situation, but it is fixable.

    First, you need to fix your back pain. I would see a chiropractor or physical therapist, or ideally, both. At your age, a chiropractor should have you feeling a lot better in just a few visits. I have practiced as a chiropractor for 10 years, and I just got my RN. Become a pest about getting stretches and exercises that you can do at home that will make you feel better. Do the exercises and stretches faithfully each day. Your goal should be to return to a light aerobic exercise routine like walking soon after you start feeling better in your back. The exercise will strengthen your back and release endorphins that will help your depression.

    Your back pain sounds like a disc herniation or bulge, but it could be a muscular problem. The best chiropractic technique for discs is called Cox Technique, or Flexion-Distraction Technique. You might want to call around your area and see if any of the chiropractors use this technique. Like I said, you should feel a lot better pretty quickly. When you feel better, stop going. Chiropractors have a tendency to try to sign you up for maintenance care, which is rarely necessary unless you have a chronic condition.

    You also need to treat your depression. There are so many families of antidepressants with different effects and side effects. Ask your psychiatrist to try a different antidepressant that does not cause an increase in your appetite. Also, it does not get much press, but the birth control pill can cause depression. I don't even know if you take the BCP, but if your depression started soon after you started the pill, you might want to consider changing contraceptives. Your last statement tells me that you have pretty severe depression that needs to be treated right away. Go to a psychiatrist, not your PCP. You need the care of someone who treats these types of conditions all the time.

    When your back feels better and your depression is under control, begin a sensible weight loss program of diet and exercise. Weight Watchers is an excellent program. I wish you the best. I believe you will beat these problems and feel great!!!!
  9. 0
    Get a MRI, sounds like a disc problem to me. Find a good spine doc. I will bet you have been misdiagnosed. At age 24 it is unlikely that you have osteoarthritis. I have these same symptom, mine is a buldging disc and I have the pain down the legs. I have osteoarthritis of the spine from nursing with all the lifting and stuff. I refuse surgery at this point but am controlled with pain meds and chiropractic treatments and massage. Unfortunately you will continue to hear that you have to lose weight from the medical people. I carry an extra 40 pounds myself. It is not easy to lose weight.

    Since you cannot get a proper diagnosis find another doctor. Don't always believe one doctor. There are good and bad. If you can stay away from surgery then do so. Especially back fusion...once you have a back fusion you end up with more surgery later on....you also will get hyperflexion above and below the fusion causing stress along those spinal joints. NO FUSION. You may just need a simple laminectomy. Just go get help and a MRI. Sometimes you have to tell the doc what you want done (MRI). Docs take suggestions very well from nurses in their office. OK, good luck to you and hang in there.....Mary
  10. 0
    See the endocrinologist before a chiropractor. You need to rule out metabolic problems that may need treatment, such as thyroid problems. Is there a bariatric specialist in your area? If so, after the endocrinologist visit, the bariatric MD might do an assessment and start you on physical therapy, pain management, nutrition guides, etc. It is important to GET STARTED, as this affects your whole life. My friend gained a lot of weight due to fibroid tumors, which were found on sonogram. Your situation sounds metabolic, however. Good luck!
  11. 0
    Quote from Scarlet K
    I am writing to you nurses because I have gained almost 80 pounds since September. It is affecting so much, I am considering ending my life.
    GO RIGHT NOW TO YOUR DOCTORS OFFICE AND TELL THEM HOW SERIOUSLY THIS IS AFFECTING YOUR EMOTIONAL STATE! Do you have counseling availle to you through school or work? please utilize these services, do you have freinds or family other than your boyfriend that you can talk to? You need someone right now for support and understanding. Please don't make any hasty decisions, and call a suicide support/help line you can find them online or inyour phone book. Good luck to you and remember that your life is worth A LOT!
  12. 0
    Quote from purplemania
    See the endocrinologist before a chiropractor. You need to rule out metabolic problems that may need treatment, such as thyroid problems. Is there a bariatric specialist in your area? If so, after the endocrinologist visit, the bariatric MD might do an assessment and start you on physical therapy, pain management, nutrition guides, etc. It is important to GET STARTED, as this affects your whole life. My friend gained a lot of weight due to fibroid tumors, which were found on sonogram. Your situation sounds metabolic, however. Good luck!

    I agree. See an endocrinologist, but around here it takes months to get an initial appointment with an endocrinologist. Schedule an appointment with the endocrinologist, but I would not wait to start treatment on my low back.
  13. 0
    Well I would say the most alarming part of your post was the last. DON"T DO IT!!! I have been there before and it does get better. At one point in my life they admitted me to the hospital for a week and made me wear slippers because they were afraid I was going to use my shoelaces to hang myself. At that point in my life I didn't care about anything and thought the only way out was suicide. In one moment of reaching out for help to a friend I got the help I needed. It was a close call for a while there and I am surprised that I made it. At that time I saw no reason to keep going. Now when I look back on that time it really seems inconcievable that I could have really wanted to end my life that badly. Good luck with everything please please please go and talk to someone about your depresson it will get better I promise.


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