The following are some common causes.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy there will be stretching of the anterior abdominal wall to accommodate the enlarging uterus. During the second half of pregnancy pinkish stretch marks start appearing on either side of the lower abdomen and later on become silvery white.
- Obesity: Sudden weight gain due to excessive fat deposition can stretch the skin to develop stretch marks.
- Puberty: During puberty both sexes will have increase in fat deposition and body surface area that are due to hormonal activity, which results in stretch marks. Compared to boys, fat deposition is more in girls and hence they are found more among girls during puberty.
- Cushing’s syndrome: This is an endocrine disease due to the hypo-secretion of adrenal hormones. Here there will be obesity with marked body marks
- Bodybuilding: Stretching of the skin due to excess of physical activity is the main cause here. Bodybuilding causes sudden enlargement of muscle size resulting in more skin marks. The common sites are shoulders, thighs, deltoid region, gluteal region etc.
- Medicines: Frequent use of steroid medicines and topical steroid creams can result in skin marks. Topical drugs can cause insufficient production of collagen and elastin resulting in the weakness of skin.
- Edema: Edema is the collection of fluid in the intercellular space. This can occur anywhere in the body. Prolonged edema due to kidney and liver diseases can stretch the abdomen and cause.skin marks
- Weight loss: Both rapid weight gain and rapid weight loss can cause the development stretch marks.
- Miscellaneous: All conditions that hamper collagen synthesis result in stretch marks.
WHERE STRETCH MARKS ARE FOUND
Marks in women body are found in conditions like pregnancy, puberty, obesity etc. and are usually seen in areas like abdomen, thighs, breasts, buttocks, shoulders etc.
- Abdomen: Abdomen is mainly affected during pregnancy. In obese individuals excess fat deposition in the abdominal wall can also result in stretch marks. Ascites is a condition wherein excess of fluid is collected in the peritoneal cavity due to different causes, which stretch the abdominal wall. Similarly, any large lump or tumor in the abdomen can also cause stretching of skin.
- Thighs: Seen mainly in weight lifters and body builders. Obesity and puberty also cause stretch marks in this region.
- Breasts: Enlargement of breasts is one of the secondary sexual characters in females. During puberty marks in the body may appear on breasts that will be doubled by obesity. However marks in women body are more common during pregnancy due to enlargement and engorgement of the breasts. Stretch marks become more prominent when the breasts become pendulous or sagged with the advancement of age.
- Buttocks: Ma appear here mainly during puberty. Girls are more affected than boys due to the development of typical feminine structure. Fat deposition is more in this area. Exercise and obesity affect both sexes equally.
- Shoulders: Here marks in the body are mainly due to exercise and hypertrophy of shoulder muscles. Deltoid region is mainly affected.
- Other sites: Swellings due to conditions like fat deposition, tumors or edema can result in marks in any part of the body. Lymph edema is due to the obstruction of flow of lymph, which causes stretch marks mainly in the extremities.
Once these marks appear, certain time is required for them to be less prominent.