Sternum sticking out after weight loss- a very common side effect of weight loss

Did weight loss cause the bones of your body to become more prominent? This is a common phenomenon seen in every individual after they drastically lose weight. The bones become prominent due to a decrease in subcutaneous fat. People become more aware of this as their clavicle, ribs and sternum stick out after weight loss.

There are medical causes of sternum sticking out after weight loss. It is a natural and common phenomenon. You should not worry or panic if you face such a situation. Instead, you should try to find a remedy or try to understand that this was bound to happen as they lost weight. The scientific explanation of why the sternum sticks out after weight loss is pretty straightforward.

Changes that occur in our body due to weight loss

When you lose weight or starts leading a healthy lifestyle then you will notice various changes in the body. Most of these changes are positive but there are also a few negative changes too. It is possible for any human being to determine if the changes they are facing are good or bad.

sternum sticks out after weight loss

Once someone properly notices their body they will get to know if they should continue their journey of weight loss or if they should stop. We will discuss some of the noticeable changes in our body and how we will understand if they are positively or negatively affecting our body.

Increase in physical activity

We know when a person is overweight it affects their daily work routine enormously. It puts pressure on one’s body to perform various activities. For example, if an individual is overweight then it puts pressure on their knees while walking or running. As a result, they cannot do so very frequently or feel fatigued after walking or running for a very short period.

So, when an individual loses weight then they can perform the physical activity more regularly or frequently. Simple daily activities such as walking or running do not put any extra pressure on their body. They can perform these activities for a longer period without facing monotony or fatigue. As a result, they can lead an easier life without worrying about their sternum sticks out after weight loss.

Prominence of bones

When a person loses weight then they lose the extra subcutaneous fat that is present in various parts of the body. And this fat layer is unevenly distributed around the body.

For example, the abdomen, thigh, arms, buttocks store extra fat. Whereas the shoulder, the upper part of the thorax, forearm, and shin store less.

So when a person loses weight they lose fat from all the regions of the body. In the areas where there is less body fat stored, due to loss of subcutaneous fat the bones of that region become prominent. This is not seen in regions like the abdomen, buttocks, thighs as there is a huge amount of fat stored. Although the loss of weight decreases the fat it is not enough to cause the bones to become prominent.

The clavicle, ribs, sternum usually become more prominent as in general less amount of subcutaneous fat covers these portions, and the bones protrude out. One can see the surface marking on these bones on the skin.

Changes in appetite

Appetite is the desire to eat food. When a person loses weight they gradually decrease the amount of food intake. With this, the appetite of an individual also decreases. This can be decreased by an individual by maintaining satiety.

They would not be able to eat more than a certain amount even if they wanted to. This is necessary and effective to help an individual to maintain the weight lost by them.

Metabolic changes

With the change in habit of food intake, the rate of metabolism of an individual also changes. When one decreases the amount of food they eat and does regular exercise to lose weight, then their metabolism increases that lead to sternum sticks out after weight loss.

As a result, the amount of food taken by the person is metabolized and not stored in the body as extra fat. So, loss of weight occurs and the bones become more prominent. This change in the metabolism is effective to prevent the extra storage of fat in our body and thus helps to maintain the healthy lifestyle of an individual.

Causes of sternum sticks out after weight loss

When a person loses weight then it is natural to notice a few changes in the body. One of these changes includes a few of the bones of our body to become prominent. Yes, subcutaneous fat is present in all parts of the body. But, the distribution of fat is not equal in all areas.

There are some areas where the fat compartment is less dense so less amount of fat is stored there no matter how much weight is gained by the person. So, when a person loses weight the loss of a minimum amount of fat from those areas causes the bones such as sternum, clavicle, and ribs to stick out. The causes of the sternum to stick out are given below:

Loss of subcutaneous fat

The thin layer of fat that lies under the skin of an individual is known as subcutaneous fat. The main function of subcutaneous fat is to store energy. The subcutaneous fat compartments are denser in the abdomen, arm, buttocks, thigh region of an individual. It is present in negligible amounts on the thorax region that is over the sternum.

sternum sticks out after weight loss

As a result of gaining weight, a sufficient amount of fat is not stored in that region. So, there is less fat there, to begin with. When a person loses weight, the fat present there further decreases causing the sternum bone to stick out. The surface and the borders of the bone become more prominent and one notices it from the outside.

Curved bone

The sternum is a curved bone. It is convex forwards and concaves backward. As a result, it can be easily identified on the surface of our body. This bone is most commonly used to collect bone marrow as the bone lies superficially and can become easily protruded.

This bone is pushed against the surface of the skin. Loss of a minimal amount of weight can cause this bone to stick out.

Prevention of sternum sticks out after weight loss

Keep their weight under control. Being underweight can be as harmful as being overweight. One should maintain a balanced diet to prevent such conditions. You should not give up eating a sufficient amount of food just to lose weight. Try to eat all the ingredients that are necessary to lead a healthy life such as carbohydrates, fat, protein, minerals, vitamins, and water.

One should try to perform exercises regularly so that fat can be stored where it is necessary. You can watch videos of these exercises on the internet and learn them.

Every individual should keep their weight in check. One should keep track of the amount of weight they are losing or gaining. This will help them to know when to stop losing weight. Once they see they are going below the normal range, they should stop.

BMI (Body Mass Index) is a measurement unit that helps an individual to know if their weight is within the normal range. Every individual should be aware of the scale and the BMI measurements. Using this formula one can easily determine if they are within the normal weight range and thus act accordingly.

FAQ

Is it normal for your sternum to stick out after weight loss?

Yes, it is completely normal that the sternum sticks out after weight loss. The amount of subcutaneous fat on the sternum is very less. So when a person further loses weight then it is very normal for the sternum to become more prominent. It protrudes out and the surface marking is visible. One should not worry about it if they notice such change.

Are there any medical reasons for which sternum sticks out?

There are a few medical reasons why someone’s sternum may stick out. These may include various reasons such as genetic or acquired changes. For example, pectus carinatum is a genetic disorder of the chest wall. Here, we can see the protrusion of the chest wall. The cause of this is an unusual growth of the rib cage and sternum cartilage. The bulging out of the chest wall gives the chest of an individual a birdlike appearance.

sternum sticks out after weight loss

Is it possible to prevent the sternum to stick out after weight loss?

There are no specific steps that a person can follow to prevent the sternum from sticking out but if a few steps are taken then this can be minimized. You have to eat a sufficient amount of protein and do specific exercises daily to lessen the protrusion of the sternum. Besides you have to do exercises that will focus on the thorax so that the amount of food that is taken can be stored as fat in that region.

Conclusion

There is no reason to be worried if you notice your sternum sticks out after weight loss. Try to keep in mind this is a very normal phenomenon. One of the side effects of losing weight is that the bones of our body will become more prominent and protruding. If it worries you too much then you can consult a physician.

Leading a healthy life and eating a sufficient amount of food that is required for the body will help you to lead a healthy life and prevent such inconveniences. If you want to lead a healthy, stress-free life then try to maintain proper food habits.

Hi this is Dr. Rimita Farid. I have completed my MBBS from MAHSA University in Kuala Lampur , Malaysia and currently a registered doctor in Bangladesh. I am training in Dermatology and Venerology and writing for me has been a hobby, even before i decided to be a doctor. I believe our lives are getting stressful with every moment and i believe writing is the solution to all our problems. The power of pen and paper is highly underestimated by many, and i am blessed that i realized how stimulating writing can be for my well being. Hope my articles are relatable and can reach as many readers as possible.

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