If you've been gaining weight, you may have an imbalance in your hormones. Many women and men experience a slowing metabolism. Optimal levels of hormones occur in our bodies at about age 25, and normally decline as we get older. Aging and hormone imbalances can make weight management harder. In this article, we'll go over how hormones control our body and some effective treatments to lose extra pounds.

Are Hormone Imbalances Normal?

Hormone imbalances are very common, and can occur in both men and women. A hormone specialist can help you lose weight by correcting your hormones. This type of therapy can be very effective, but it is important to work with a qualified physician to look at your health history and develop an individualized program that is safe and effective.

How Do Hormones Cause Weight Gain?

An imbalance in sex hormones, thyroid hormones or insulin can cause weight gain. The hormones that are the culprit are typically those that control appetite, metabolism, and fat storage. Some hormones stimulate hunger or can cause your emotions to fluctuate. When your hormones are imbalanced, this causes the signals to be different. If your hormones tell you you're hungry, and you eat every time, you can gain weight. Weight gain is a very common side effect of hormonal imbalance.

Your body's metabolism can get off kilter with an imbalance of hormones or imbalance of food intake and activity. Stress and eating disorders can also cause an imbalance with your hormones, including cortisol and thyroid hormones. The symptoms that accompany these imbalances may be  irregular periods, low sex drive, weight gain, constipation, cold intolerance and mood swings.

What is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

One of the main reasons people gain weight as they age is that their hormone levels start to decline. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help to restore your hormone levels and help you lose weight.

There are a few different ways to go about hormone replacement therapy. You can take supplements or use tablets, patches, creams, pellets, gels or occasionally injections. The best way to find out which method is right for you is to talk to a healthcare professional and have an evaluation including blood-work to assess your hormone status. They will be able to evaluate your individual needs and recommend the best course of treatment.

Hormone replacement therapy can help you lose weight, but it's not a quick fix, and you will need to be patient and dedicated to the process to see results. But if you're willing to do the work, hormone therapy can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Please note any treatment approaches mentioned are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and have not been evaluated by the FDA.

Menopausal Hormone Therapy.

Postmenopausal women often feel and function better when their hormones are balanced. There are preventive reasons to seek hormone therapy as well, including reductions in heart disease, osteoporosis, dementia and colorectal cancer with HRT. Hormonal imbalances are incredibly common for many women. When your estrogen levels drop, many symptoms may occur  such as hot flashes, excess weight, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, chronic stress, night sweats and trouble sleeping.

Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.

This is a form of hormone therapy (HRT). Doctors prescribe hormones that are chemically identical to the hormones that your body makes on its own. This type of therapy is very safe and effective and may help you lose weight. Women find that when they are experiencing low hormone symptoms, they can use HRT to improve their moods, their energy, their sleep, their sex lives, and many other symptoms. Low progesterone levels, particularly in perimenopause, can cause weight gain, irritability, and bloating, and those using bio-identical hormones often see an improvement in those symptoms. Men can also benefit from HRT or testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) if their testosterone levels start to drop and they develop symptoms such as reduced libido or sexual function, reduced energy, drive, depression, loss of muscle mass or weight gain, and problems sleeping.

Thyroid hormones.

If weight gain is a problem for you, thyroid hormones may be the cause. Hormones play a big role in weight regulation, and weight gain can occur when they are low or out of balance. Other symptoms of thyroid dysfunction can include very dry skin, hair thinning or loss, cold intolerance, constipation, depression and decreased libido. Many different types of thyroid hormone therapy are available. You should discuss the different options with your physician to find the best thyroid testing and replacement for you. As you can see, there is quite a bit of overlap in a lot of these hormones’ actions, so seeing a hormone specialist is the best way to find the best treatment plan for you. When our hormones are out of balance, it can impact our appetites, fat storage, and our metabolism. This can lead to weight gain, even if we eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Hormone imbalances can also cause fatigue and low energy levels, making it harder to stick to an exercise routine.

What is Insulin Resistance?

If you want to lose weight, you need to understand insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body turn sugar into energy. With chronic overproduction of insulin by repeatedly overeating, or eating the wrong types of foods, your cells can become insulin resistant and require more and more insulin to lower blood sugar levels. More insulin can lead to excess fat storage, weight gain, pre-diabetes and diabetes, and health consequences including cardiovascular disease, kidney and eye disease and dementia.

You can manage insulin resistance with healthy lifestyle changes. Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly can help improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin. HRT may also help restore insulin sensitivity.

How to Use Hormones for Weight Loss.

A way to prevent weight gain is to balance your hormones. One key part of losing weight is managing your hormones. Hormones play a big role in how our bodies store and burn fat. You can rebalance your hormones and jumpstart your weight loss journey by making some simple changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Eat more protein: Protein helps to regulate appetite and increase satiety. It also helps to build lean muscle mass, which burns more calories than fat.
  • Avoid processed foods: Processed foods are high in sugar and unhealthy fats, leading to weight gain. They also disrupt hormone balance and can contribute to inflammation.
  • Get enough sleep: Sleep is important for overall health, but it's also crucial for weight loss. Lack of sleep can increase the risk of weight gain and obesity and disrupt hormone balance, making it more difficult to lose excess pounds.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercise not only helps you burn calories, but it also helps to regulate hormones. It can help to reduce stress levels, improve sleep quality, and boost metabolism. A combination of cardio and strength training is the most effective at building lean muscle mass and increasing metabolism.

Making these simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference in your weight loss journey. With the right tools and support, you can finally reach your goals and get the healthy body you deserve.

If you're ready to take the next step, consider hormone therapy. Hormone therapy can help to promote weight loss by improving hormone balance, and it can also help to improve other health conditions, such as PCOS, infertility, and menopause symptoms.

Index Health is the Better Choice.

Index Health sees each patient as a whole person who deserves a support system and a treatment plan that now addresses the root problem and prevents further issues.

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Personalized functional medicine plans are 100% unique and tailored to your body and needs! Plans primarily include nutrition and lifestyle changes.

Get ongoing support from your dedicated functional medicine staff and Advanced Primary Care, retesting, follow-up appointments, therapy, and more.

Key Takeaways About HRT.

Now that you know an imbalance of hormones can cause weight gain and extra abdominal fat, you know what preventative measures you can take to avoid it. Weight gain and obesity are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Balancing your hormones appropriately, eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep are all critical to optimum health.