Hormone Replacement Therapy and Weight Gain in WomenMenopause & Weight Gain
The Menopause & Weight Gain Connection
Maintaining a healthy weight can be challenging for people of all ages. However, studies show that 90% of women age 35 to 55 experience weight gain during perimenopause and menopause. While nutrition, exercise and lifestyle are critical elements to weight loss, hormones and weight gain are closely related. If your hormones are not balanced, you can gain weight – especially if your body is producing too much cortisol or too little progesterone, testosterone or estrogen. Bioidentical hormone therapy may tip the scales in your favor.
The average weight gain is usually gradual – about 10 to 15 pounds starting in perimenopause and averaging about a pound a year. However, women who experience early menopause as a result of a hysterectomy tend to gain the weight at an even more accelerated pace. Menopause weight gain, thanks to the androgen hormone, tends to be located on your abdomen as opposed to your hips, thighs, or buttocks.
What Causes Menopause Weight Gain?
The hormone fluctuations in perimenopause and menopause directly impact your appetite, fat storage, and metabolism. Hormones and weight gain go hand in hand. So, menopause weight gain is actually hormonal weight gain.
Estrogen: It is common for estrogen levels to diminish during menopause causing cessation of ovulation. The decreased production of estrogen by the ovaries causes a woman’s body to search for other sources of estrogen. Another source of estrogen is fat cells, so your body learns to convert more calories into fat, in order to increase estrogen production. This means weight gain.
Progesterone: It is also common for progesterone levels to decrease during menopause. Progesterone’s role in weight gain is more deceiving; low levels of the hormone do not actually cause you to gain weight, but instead cause water retention or bloating. This annoying side effect makes you feel heavier and makes your clothes fit tighter.
Testosterone: Testosterone in a women works to build and maintain muscle mass among other things. These muscle cells work to burn calories in your body and cause a higher metabolism. Levels of this hormone decrease during menopause causing the loss of muscle mass and hence result in lower metabolism. This also results in weight gain.
Other Causes: Insulin resistance and stress are also responsible for a woman’s difficulty or inability to experience weight loss during menopause. Insulin resistance occurs when a woman’s body incorrectly converts every calorie into fat; this is an extreme case of estrogen correction. Overtime, your body resists the insulin produced in your bloodstream and you therefore experience weight gain.
Stress is also a contributing factor to menopause weight gain. High stress puts your body into panic (fight or flight) mode, preventing weight loss. Basically, your body begins to store food since stress hormones, namely high levels of cortisol, are telling your body that you will not be eating again for a long time. These stored calories result in weight gain. Stress hormones and weight gain are a common problem among women.
HRT & Weight Gain
Women who use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) typically experience fewer problems with weight gain and redistribution of body fat. Estrogen enables leptin – a protein hormone that helps control the way that the body stores fat. Leptin helps by making you feel full so you eat less and increase the rate at which you burn calories. In addition to estrogen, testosterone helps maintain lean muscle mass and can also boost energy levels. Many women who supplement the hormones estrogen and testosterone with HRT are less likely experience weight gain and metabolic issues.
Bioidentical hormones and weight loss are closely related. To combat menopause weight gain and begin weight loss, Fit MD helps regain hormonal balance by replacing lost hormones with natural, bioidentical ones.
We then initiate customized programs to help patients eat right, exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle. We can also help initiate faster weight loss with prescription weight loss medication, and/or pharmaceutical grade lipotropics when appropriate.
Unbalanced hormones and weight gain do not have to be a part of your life. By combining fitness, nutrition and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy you can experience success in controlling weight gain. Employ a proper nutrition and fitness plan and correct hormone imbalance with bioidentical hormones and weight loss will come naturally.