Hormone Therapy for Women aids in Weight Loss
Meta Description: Studies suggest that hormone replacement therapy can help women lose weight, especially belly fat — learn more
Menopause is an uncomfortable yet inevitable part of the female life cycle. Any time hormones shift there is the possibility of weight gain, irritability, and changes in libido. However, menopause also comes with hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, depression, and increased cardiovascular risk.
During menopause, declining levels of estrogen cause muscle loss and an increase in fat, especially around the abdominal area. Estrogen is integral in both men and women in preventing fat from accumulating around vital organs, instead redirecting fat to other parts of the body.
Estrogen is an important hormone everywhere in the human body. It affects emotions, via increasing serotonin receptors in the brain. After menopause, estrogen levels dip very low. Once this change levels out and becomes more normal, women’s mental health levels out and depression levels tend to fall.
Before menopause, the female body primarily produces estrogen in the ovaries. The liver, adrenal glands, and breasts are also sources of estrogen. Because of hormonal changes due to menopause, the main production of estrogen in the ovaries is reduced. Hormone therapy can be a key component in re-balancing the hormonal scales.
Studies suggest that hormone therapy can help women between the ages of 50 to 80 experience weight loss, especially in visceral fat around the stomach. Estrogen hormone therapy slows weight gain by increasing a woman’s resting metabolic rate. However, healthy lifestyle activities such as exercise and diet go a long way in helping manage weight during and after hormone therapy.
A Study on Hormonal Therapy and Weight Loss
In an article from The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism published in 2018, a study was performed on women between the ages 50 to 80, analyzing their body composition by using DXA bone density screening. They found that women who were undergoing hormone therapy had much less belly fat than those who never had hormone therapy.
In addition, women who were currently using hormone therapy, as opposed to those who had done it in the past, were one point lower on the body mass index (BMI) and almost 3 lbs of less visceral fat. Visceral fat (primarily bell fat) is sometimes referred to as “active fat” and is the cause of many serious medical conditions, the most prominent being cardiovascular disease. It is imperative to female and male health to keep visceral fat under control.
As previously stated, studies have suggested that estrogen hormone therapy contributes to weight loss by increasing a woman’s resting metabolic rate. A decrease in abdominal fat has the added benefit of combating insulin resistance and preventing new-onset diabetes. This has been shown to be particularly true in women who begin hormone therapy between the ages of 50-59.
While estrogen hormone therapy has been proven to be helpful in women’s weight loss, there are a couple of other hormones that can aid in female weight loss. The hormone adiponectin, for instance, which is found in fat tissue, aids in weight loss by boosting metabolism without affecting appetite.
Conversely, leptin, a related fat hormone, brings about weight loss by reducing appetite while increasing metabolism. Both of these fat hormones travel through the same neural pathways in the brain to control glucose, weight gain, and metabolism. It's very important to keep hormones in a healthy balance.
Not only can hormone therapy treat hot flashes and night sweats, but it is also particularly effective in preventing bone loss and fractures, treating urinary symptoms, vaginal dryness, and problems with sexual function and libido.
When Hormone Therapy Stops Will Weight Loss Continue?
What health professionals have seen, and what the above studies suggest, is that once hormone therapy is discontinued you might be at risk for increased belly fat.
Of course, we all know there is no easy, one-trick method for losing weight. And the good news is there is a lot of research that indicates losing weight by choosing a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contributes significantly to a decrease in night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, and irritability.
While hormone therapy can certainly aid in weight loss in women, you can never discount the positive effects of healthy diet, exercise, and healthy living.
If you’re experiencing menopausal symptoms like weight gain, hot flashes, or night sweats, or simply want to know more about why fluctuating hormone levels cause other symptoms, then let’s talk