Menopause, either natural or surgical can cause many unwanted side effects, and among them could be weight gain. For treating these symptoms, particularly if severe, HRT is often prescribed however there is another connection between HRT and Weight Gain.
HRT may be prescribed to combat weight gain, but many women tend to put on weight after the HRT, creating this other, more ironical connection between HRT and weight gain.
Menopause and weight gain
Loss of muscle tone and accumulation of proportionately more fat is a natural and common consequence of the estrogen depletion that occurs at the time of menopause.
There is also a redistribution of fat in the body of the woman due to these hormonal changes – the decrease in estrogen and the rise of androgen levels by comparison causes the weight to get redistributed from the hips and thighs to the abdominal region.
This also contributes to the impression of weight gain.
HRT and weight gain – Does HRT prevent it or cause it?
Studies have shown that HRT manages to curb weight gain in the post menopausal years. The studies have examined body mass of women after menopause that are on HRT as well as those that are not on the treatment. It was found that the women who were on the treatment were leaner than those who weren’t. In fact it was noticed that there as a small reduction in body weight and lower levels of abdominal fat and total body fat percentages were noted.
The anecdotal connection found to exist between HRT and weight gain however is different on forums, discussion boards and other groups.
Many women who have taken hormone replacement therapy, claim that they have put on weight. They claim to have put on considerable amounts of weight fairly rapidly.
This is anecdotal and self reported so it isn’t not clear whether the weight gain is as a result of only the menopause, or whether it is a result of the subsequent HRT.
Another possible connection between HRT and weight gain
There are other behaviors that accompany a woman’s menopausal period which could also contribute to the weight gain. Consider for instance the fact that fatigue, tiredness, mood swings, depression or just feeling low, low energy and so on are the common side effects of menopause. All of these could contribute to the weight gain.
For instance the tiredness and fatigue and lower energy levels could mean that a woman is unwilling or unable to exercise as before or maintain the levels of activity that she earlier had. The mood swings, feeling blue and depressed could lead to emotional or comfort eating.
In both these ways there could be a piling on of the pounds so that the connection between HRT and weight gain becomes a little more tenuous. So it is best for a woman to change over to a healthier life style at the time of menopause, whether she is or is not on HRT. If a woman strongly feels that her HRT is at the root of her weight gain she should share her apprehensions with a doctor so that remedial action can be taken.