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Controversy Corner: Does Hormone Therapy cause weight gain? Think again!


During menopause weight gain is related to age and lifestyle practices. When women gain weight in menopause it is not the fact that they have gained a kilo or two but where that weight ultimately settles. Prior to menopause extra weight settled more evenly over the body such as around the hips, bottom, thighs and arms. The big difference in menopause is that the extra weight gathers around the middle. We have all heard the expression ‘middle age spread’. This ‘spread’ usually means the need to increase your dress size.

Increases in body fat, especially around the abdomen, usually occurs during the menopause and often can be attributed to hormonal changes. There is no clear reason for this result.  Age related decrease in muscle tissue and of course a decrease in physical activity can result in weight gain.

There is no evidence that supplemental hormones can be linked to weight gain. If you were inclined to weight gain in your younger years, you may put on weight later, whether you are on BHRT or not.

Some women may experience symptoms at the start of treatment, including bloating and breast fullness, which may be misinterpreted as weight gain. These symptoms usually disappear once the doses are changed to suit the individual.

We sometimes hear from women that their BHRT has caused them to gain weight. Some women who come to us even decline to take BHRT for fear of gaining weight. Again, there is no evidence for this. Weight gain in menopause is more likely to be fluid retention, although the percentage is about 10%, it is still something to consider. Fluid retention can be alleviated using certain supplements.

The main thing is not to give up or to decide not to take BHRT. Resist the fear that you may put on weight. Your bio-identical hormones should help you to feel better, help you to sleep better and give you more energy to engage in activities that will aid you in keeping weight down.


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