Does Hormone Therapy Make You Gain Weight

Does hormone therapy make you gain weight? There is currently no evidence that supports that claim or demonstrates that hormone therapy results in weight gain. As hormone therapy is generally taken during menopause, changes in weight are typically a symptom of menopause rather than caused by the hormonal therapy.

Menopause and Hormone Therapy

Menopause is the transitional phase women experience one year after their last menstruation. It is the end of a women’s menstrual cycle and thereby the closing of the reproductive years. Generally, women are between the ages of 45 and 55 when they enter menopause. Unfortunately, many women experience some uncomfortable symptoms during and leading up to Menopause. These symptoms may include hot flashes, chills, night sweats, sleeping problems and mood changes. As a womens reproductive years come to an end, the levels of the primary female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, fall. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) uses prescribed medication to boost or replace these plunging levels.

With the ovaries being the most prominent organ to produce these two hormones, it is not surprising that the estrogen and progesterone levels are low after the reproductive phase. Some women consider taking hormone therapy as a means to relieve the symptoms of menopause. While HRT can help with the discomfort of menopause, some women are worried about the side effects of hormonal therapy, such as weight gain.

Although there are rumors that hormone therapy could lead to weight gain, these claims remain unproven. Thus, if you are worried about putting on weight during hormone therapy, you will be happy to know that it will most likely not be caused by the therapy. 

So how did this rumor start? 

Possibly because hormone therapy can help rehydrate the body and skin. While this tends to work well for the skin of the face, giving it a plumb and hydrated look, it also means your body will retain more water. However, this change is not considerable and weight gain near or during menopause is likely caused by other circumstances, rather than HRT.

The Relationship between Estrogen and Weight Gain

During menopause the estrogen levels in a woman’s body drop.  A lab animal study demonstrated that when animals experience lower estrogen levels, they tend to eat more, while moving less. 

Moreover, reduced estrogen levels can also result in an overall lower metabolic rate. This is the rate at which your body burns the energy it has stored up, and a lower metabolic rate can lead to a higher percentage of body fat. 

On top of that, low estrogen levels may be linked to a reduction in the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, which means the consumption of sugary food may have an bigger impact on the body, in the form of weight gain and mood swings. 

Aside from above, there are a few other factors involved when it comes to changes in a woman’s weight during menopause. As we grow older, lifestyle changes come into play, and these age-related factors often include less exercise, along with a loss in muscle mass. Moreover, your body loses muscle mass through the natural process of aging, which makes it easier to gain weight. 

Another important factor to consider is the fact that body fat distribution changes during menopause. During adulthood, women tend to store more fat around the hips and thighs. However, when we enter menopause this weight distribution starts to shift toward the abdominal area. As such, menopause itself is linked to a redistribution of body weight, especially in relation to a woman’s hip-to-waist ratio. This shift can make it appear as if you were to gain weight ,even though that may not necessarily be the case. 

Lastly, after menopause, your cells will tend to store more fat while releasing it more slowly. That combined with the loss of muscle mass makes it more difficult to burn calories as effectively as you once could.

Keeping A Healthy Lifestyle

Now that we have a better understanding of how menopause affects a woman’s body, it is good to note that weight gain is a natural process that occurs more commonly as you age. While there is no current scientific proof that hormone therapy increases your bodyweight, going through menopause will undoubtedly influence the body. Maintaining a healthy diet and work-life balance with daily exercise can help you feel better and keep your body in its best condition.