Hormonal Changes & Pregnancy
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There are several reasons why your hormones might fluctuate, including pregnancy and taking certain medications such as corticosteroids. Hormone fluctuations can lead to weight gain, which itself can cause stretch marks, particularly if you gain the weight quickly.
Pregnancy is also known to cause stretch marks in the abdominal region. As the uterus stretches and expands to accommodate a growing pregnancy, the collagen and elastin within the overlying skin can struggle to keep up, leading to stretch marks. Some pregnant people have noticed a reduction in the number of stretch marks developed through using moisturizing products such as cocoa butter or shea butter lotion.
Certain Medical Conditions
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Certain medical conditions, such as Cushing’s disease and Marfan syndrome, tend to cause stretch marks either from weight gain or from a rapid increase in height. Cushing’s disease causes your body to overproduce a hormone called cortisol, leading to the primary symptom of weight gain, particularly in the face and abdomen. People with Cushing’s disease often develop stretch marks on their thighs or abdomens as a result of this weight gain.
Marfan syndrome is a connective tissue disorder that’s associated with a taller-than-average height for affected individuals. Often, people with Marfan syndrome experience large and rapid growth spurts, which can result in stretch marks on the back or thighs.
Rapid Weight Gain
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One of the most common causes of stretch marks is rapid weight gain or obesity. Stretch marks tend to affect parts of the body that store adipose tissue (fat). The size and extent of stretch marks depend on the amount of weight gained and the length of the time frame when the weight is gained. Weight gain can happen as a result of a medical condition, pregnancy, certain medications or lifestyle habits.
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It’s not uncommon for weightlifters, power athletes and individuals who lift weights for exercise to develop stretch marks. Even though weightlifting can help you gain muscle mass rather than fat, your skin cannot differentiate between fat and muscle. This means that any rapid increase in body mass can cause your skin to stretch. Weightlifters and power athletes tend to notice stretch marks in their upper shoulders and arms as a result of exercises that build muscle in those areas.
Having Breast Enlargement Surgery
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Breast enlargement surgery itself doesn’t always lead to the formation of stretch marks. In some cases, however, the rapid stretching of the skin around the breast to accommodate an implant can cause hypopigmentation in the form of stretch marks.