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Stretch Marks and Weight

Stretch Marks and Weight Stretch Marks and Weight Stretch Marks and Weight

Overview

Stretch marks, medically termed striae, are a concern for many overweight people, pregnant women and weightlifters. There are certain medical conditions and medications that may also result in stretch marks. MedlinePlus advises to seek medical attention if stretch marks appear without obvious cause, such as rapid weight gain, rapid growth during puberty or pregnancy.

Identification

According to MedlinePlus, the initial appearance of stretch marks is a series of parallel, reddened, glossy lines on the skin. As time progresses, the stretch marks will look whitish-silver and scar-like with skin texture that is different from that of surrounding skin. The most common locations for stretch marks are the buttocks, hips, thighs, breasts and abdomen.

Causes

The Mayo Clinic and MedlinePlus advise that pregnancy, substantial weight gain, obesity, growth spurts in puberty and the overuse of creams and lotions containing cortisone may lead to the development of stretch marks. Long-term use of corticosteroid medications may cause striae to develop. The medical conditions of Cushing's, Marfan or Ehlers-Dahlos syndromes may cause stretch marks, as well as some adrenal gland disorders. According to the Mayo Clinic, weightlifters may develop stretch marks, especially in the arms.

Risk Factors

Many of the risk factors associated with the development of stretch marks are not controllable such as being female, having a family history of stretch marks, having a medical condition which requires frequent or long-term use of cortisone applications or corticosteroid medications. Other risk factors, such as rapid weight gain, obesity or rapid weight loss, are among the factors over which you may exert control.

The American Pregnancy Association lists additional factors determining the development of stretch marks during pregnancy, including age -- older women tend to develop stretch marks less often than younger women -- and whether there were stretch marks present on the body before pregnancy.

Prevention

The best single prevention of stretch marks due to weight, whether pregnant or not, is to eat a nutritious, balanced diet daily that provides adequate calories for daily activities, but does not contribute to weight gain. Pregnant women should consult their health care provider to obtain information on appropriate diet and desired weight gain during pregnancy.

Treatment

The Mayo Clinic explains medical treatment for stretch marks is not necessary as they pose no harm, but may be a cosmetic concern. Treatments are available, although none have been scientifically proven to totally eliminate striae. Consult your health care provider before beginning any treatment.

Tretinoin cream may be effective on newly developed stretch marks, but the Mayo Clinic states it should not be used during pregnancy. Other treatments available include microdermabrasion, pulsed dye laser therapy and excimer laser.

MedlinePlus and the Mayo Clinic advise that stretch marks often fade over time and may be less noticeable.

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