Menopause changes a woman’s life in so many ways. Women who never had trouble maintaining their figures prior to menopause will find themselves with a guaranteed 10 to 15-pound weight gain. Also, hormone therapy can cause salt and water retention (therefore more weight gain).
Menopause, and the perimenopausal period starting for most women in the decade before actual menopause causes a rise in cortisol and insulin levels. These increased levels can result in weight gain.
Those extra pounds are not just unsightly but can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. While diet and exercise are important, a holistic approach to weight gain due to hormonal changes involves the use of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy during menopause to return the body to its former, slimmer state.
A 2012 study found that changes in hormones at menopause “is associated with an increase in total body fat and an increase in abdominal fat.” Estrogen levels in the brain help regulate feelings of hunger, and women with depleted estrogen stores may eat more. The body no longer metabolizes fat as efficiently as it once did.
The study adds that there is “strong evidence” that estrogen replacement therapy may help prevent or ameliorate this weight gain. The study found that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may help prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes.
Some women are reluctant to start bioidentical hormone replacement therapy because they confuse it with synthetic hormone replacement therapy. The latter has been associated with a higher risk of breast cancer and heart disease, but that is not true of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Unlike synthetic hormones, which are made from pregnant mare’s urine, bioidentical hormones are created from plant materials and match the molecular structure of a woman’s natural hormones. Synthetic hormones may cause weight gain, in the form of fluid retention.
Bioidentical hormones act in the same manner as the hormones the woman’s body formerly produced, so they act in a restorative manner. Bioidentical hormones are also slightly diuretic, so fluid retention is not an issue.
Bioidentical hormone therapy helps patients to lose weight, but it is not simply a matter of the doctor giving the patient the hormones and sending her on her way. Patients come in for regular monitoring and testing, so adjustments in the individual’s bioidentical hormone therapy are made as needed. This custom-tailored approach means every patient receives the proper hormone dosages for that particular timeframe.
Bioidentical hormones are created for each patient by a state-of-the-art compounding pharmacy. Hormones are available for oral consumption, as transdermal pellets or as skin patches or topical creams.
The doctor also sets weight loss goals for each patient. Along with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, a dietary and exercise plan and nutritional supplements may help the patient achieve her weight loss goals.
Bioidentical hormone therapy not only helps menopausal women shed those suddenly accumulated pounds, but alleviates other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats and anxiety. This therapy also helps keep blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels.
If you have gained weight due to menopause and would like to know how bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help, call Dr. Edward Jacobson’s office today and arrange a consultation.