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Maintaining proper weight is a challenge for people of all ages. However, the older you get, the more difficult it can be. It has been found that 90% of women experience weight gain between the ages of 35 and 55, not coincidentally, during perimenopause and menopause. While nutrition, exercise and lifestyle are critical elements to weight loss, balancing your hormones after the imbalance that perimenopause and menopause caused, is vital to your success in maintaining a healthier weight. Hormones and weight gain are closely related, if your hormones are not balanced, you can gain weight, especially with too much cortisol or too little progesterone, testosterone or estrogen. Bioidentical hormone therapy may tip the scales in your favor.
The average weight gain is gradual, about 10 to 15 pounds starting in perimenopause and averaging to about a pound a year. However, women who experience early menopause as a result of surgical menopause (hysterectomy) tend to gain the weight at an even more accelerated pace. Menopause weight gain, thanks to the androgen hormone, tends to be located on your abdomen as opposed to your hips, thighs, or rear.
Hormones and Weight Gain; What Causes Menopause Weight Gain?
The hormone fluctuations in perimenopause and menopause directly impact your appetite, fat storage, and metabolism. Hormones and weight gain go hand in hand. So, menopause weight gain is actually hormone weight gain.
Estrogen: It is common for estrogen levels to diminish during menopause causing cessation of ovulation. The decreased production of estrogen by the ovaries causes a woman’s body to search for other sources of estrogen. Another source of estrogen is fat cells, so your body learns to convert more calories into fat, in order to increase estrogen production. This means weight gain.
Progesterone: It is also common for progesterone levels to decrease during menopause. Progesterone’s role in weight gain is more deceiving; low levels of the hormone do not actually cause you to gain weight, but instead cause water retention or bloating. This annoying side effect makes you feel heavier and makes your clothes fit tighter.
Testosterone: Testosterone in a women works to build and maintain muscle mass among other things. These muscle cells work to burn calories in your body and cause a higher metabolism. Levels of this hormone decrease during menopause causing the loss of muscle mass and hence result in lower metabolism. This also results in weight gain.
Other Causes: Insulin resistance and stress are also responsible for a woman’s difficulty or inability to experience weight loss during menopause. Insulin resistance occurs when a woman’s body incorrectly converts every calorie into fat; this is an extreme case of estrogen correction. Overtime, your body resists the insulin produced in your blood stream and you therefore experience weight gain.
Stress is also a contributing factor to menopause weight gain. High stress puts your body into panic mode, preventing weight loss. Basically, your body begins to store food since stress hormones, namely high levels of cortisol, are telling your body that you will not be eating again for a long time. These stored calories result in weight gain. Stress hormones and weight gain are a common problem among women.
HRT and Weight Gain
Women who use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) typically experience fewer problems with weight gain and redistribution of body fat. Estrogen enables leptin – a protein hormone that helps control the way that the body stores fat. Leptin helps by making you feel full so you eat less and increase the rate at which you burn calories. In addition to estrogen, testosterone helps maintain lean muscle mass and can also boost energy levels. Many women who supplement the hormones estrogen and testosterone with HRT are less likely experience weight gain and metabolic issues.
The Solution: Bioidentical Hormones and Weight Loss
Bioidentical hormones and weight loss are closely related. Nutrition is 70% of your health, exercise and lifestyle account for about 25%, and the hormones only for about 5%. However, when that 5% gets out of balance, the other 95% does not work well. So to combat menopause weight gain and begin weight loss, first, BodyLogicMD helps regain hormonal balance by replacing lost hormones with natural, bioidentical ones.
We then initiate customized programs to help patients eat right, exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle.Unbalanced hormones and weight gain do not have to be a part of your life. By combining fitness, nutrition and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy you can experience success in controlling weight gain. Employ a proper nutrition and fitness plan and correct hormone imbalance with bioidentical hormones and weight loss will come naturally.
Contact the BodyLogicMD bioidentical hormone therapy physician nearest you to schedule an appointment and learn more about how hormone therapy can help control menopause weight gain.