Menopause often results in women gaining weight, especially around the abdomen. Certain hormone replacement therapy prescribed for relief of some menopausal side effects may cause additional weight gain.
A woman may end up considerably heavier than she was during her childbearing years, even if she exercises regularly and consumes a healthy diet. If you gain weight while undergoing hormone replacement therapy, you are likely taking synthetic hormones.
Another, safer type of hormone replacement therapy – bioidentical hormone therapy – does not produce weight gain. In fact, it can help women lose the weight gained during menopause and from the use of synthetic hormones.
Synthetic estrogen hormones can cause women to gain even more weight after menopause. This type of estrogen, produced from pregnant mare’s urine, can cause fluid retention resulting in extra pounds. Synthetic hormones are basically an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all therapy. The conjugated equine estrogens are not metabolically the same as those found in human females.
Synthetic hormones are not prescribed for weight loss, but to relieve certain menopausal symptoms, such as night sweats and hot flashes. Women should not take synthetic hormones on a long-term basis, because such use increases the risk of breast cancer and heart disease.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy does not cause women to gain weight, and helps them lose the pounds put on during menopause. Bioidentical hormones are safe for long-term use, as they are made from plant materials – primarily soy and wild yam – and have the same molecular structure as a woman’s natural hormones. Unlike synthetic hormones, bioidentical hormones contain diuretic properties, so there is no fluid retention adding weight and discomfort.
Unlike synthetic hormone therapy, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is very much individualized. Women must return to the doctor’s office for regular monitoring and testing of blood, saliva, and urine to determine the correct hormone levels. Such testing also lets the doctor know how the patient’s body metabolizes the hormones, which is crucial in ascertaining dosing needs. The patient’s new prescription is sent to a top quality compounding pharmacy for formulation.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy does far more than help a woman get her figure back after menopause. Unlike synthetic hormone replacement therapy, bioidentical hormone therapy can protect against cardiovascular disease. It also aids in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, osteoporosis, and diabetes. It can ease depression and anxiety, common side effects of menopause.
Some people suffering from depression may over-eat, self “medicating” with comfort foods, which cause weight gain. The therapy may consist of bioidentical hormones received either orally, topically or via transdermal pellet.
While bioidentical hormone therapy will help a woman lose weight, it is not a “magic bullet” for weight loss. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy involves a holistic approach to health, and along with determining the proper hormone dosage for each woman on a personalized level, the doctor also designs a diet and exercise plan to maximize patient health.
The way hormones cause weight loss is by reducing the visceral fat which blankets the intestine. Aside from accumulating abdominal girth visceral fat generates inflammatory proteins and is a major source of high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes. Lose the fat and lower the risks.
If a patient does gain weight during the therapy, the doctor gets to the root of the problem, which may concern diet and sedentary lifestyle more than hormonal issues. The doctor may recommend nutritional supplements best-suited to an individual’s needs.
If you have experienced weight gain while taking synthetic hormones and are interested in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, call Dr. Edward Jacobson’s office today and arrange a consultation and evaluation.