When the New Year arrives, most people have grand visions of self-improvement. If your self-improvement program caused you to recently step on the scale and you were shocked by what you saw, hold back on the self judgement. Your recent weight gain may not be caused by bad habits such as over eating or lack of exercise. Weight gain can be a symptom of hormone imbalance in both men and women. The cause of this hormone imbalance is most often natural aging. By the time men and women reach their 40’s, many have begun to experience naturally occurring hormone imbalance that is called Menopause in women and Andropause in men.
Weight Gain and Hormone Imbalance
Hormone imbalance can cause a whole host of problems in men and women with one of the more obvious symptoms being unwanted weight gain. For women, it can be a complex combination of out of balance hormones that is responsible for the difficult to lose weight gain. For men, it is often times the responsibility of low testosterone that is the culprit for the added body fat. However, it could also be a combination of low testosterone and other out of balance hormones such as thyroid that causes the problem.
Adjusting out of balance hormones is something that can be done with a comprehensive blood test and a skilled medical professional. Unfortunately, many men and women suffer with symptoms of hormone imbalance such as weight gain, not realizing there are things that can be done to help alleviate the problem.
Oftentimes, men and women will wait years to fix their out of balance hormones believing they can just change their diet and increase exercise to lose the unwanted weight. However, if the weight gain is due to hormone imbalance, it will be almost impossible to lose the weight until your hormones are balanced.
Menopause and Weight Gain in Women
During menopause, key hormones in women tend to decline that impact metabolism, appetite and fat storage. Unwanted weight gain during menopause can make women self-conscious and threaten their health. Even if your diet and fitness habits haven’t changed, you may still find yourself gaining weight because of a hormone imbalance. The following out of balance hormones can impact your weight;
Generally during menopause, estrogen levels in women drops substantially. When the ovaries slow down or stop producing estrogen during menopause, the body looks for alternative ways of getting estrogen. Fat cells can be a rich source of estrogen so during menopause, it makes sense that your body would try to convert more calories into fat to produce more estrogen. As much as you might try to fight your bodies attempt to store more fat, your body finds ways to override your efforts and pack on the estrogen rich fat cells.
As your testosterone levels begin to drop during menopause, your body starts to build less muscle. This change in muscle mass and body composition can adversely affect your metabolism. When your body has more muscle, it burns more calories during rest and activities. The more your muscle to fat radio changes the harder it becomes for your body to burn calories.
Probably one of the first imbalances to affect menopausal and peri-menopausal women is low thyroid. Since the thyroid is responsible for regulating your body’s metabolic rate and calorie consumption, a low thyroid can cause you to gain weight and make it difficult to lose it.
One of the other hormones that can impact your weight during menopause is cortisol. If it gets out of balance, your body could release too much stress hormone (Cortisol). When your body gets an excessive amount of Cortisol, it will go into storage mode, thinking it is in danger and must preserve calories. When this happens, your body will hold tight to every calorie and most likely add the fat to your midsection.
Andropause and Weight Gain in Men
For men, keeping weight off can become difficult during a hormone imbalance called Andropause. The hormone imbalance can cause an unwanted increase in fat and is most often caused by an imbalance in testosterone. This testosterone imbalance tends to start as early as the 30’s and affects almost 100% of men by the time they are in their 50’s. When Andropause hits, the hormone imbalance can cause a host of symptoms from erectile dysfunction to weight gain. The more out of balance your hormones are, the more difficult it can be to overcome the symptoms. The hormone that can have the biggest impact on your physical appearance and weight gain is testosterone.
In men, testosterone helps maintain; muscle mass, adequate levels of red blood cells, bone density, sexual function and a sense of well-being. Low testosterone is one of the easiest to spot hormone imbalances in men since it can cause a host of symptoms from loss of muscle too low sex drive. When testosterone levels drop, many men experience a shift in body composition experiencing an increase in fat in the mid-section and breasts.
Andropause and low testosterone can also cause low energy and mood changes leading to a drop-in activity compounding the problem with a newly developed spare tire. This is mostly due to low testosterone, and also elevated estrogen. This kind of weight will be very difficult to lose, even with rigorous lifestyle habits without the help of a program that can balance your hormones.
Thyroid / Cortisol / Estrogen
Men will lose their testosterone and other hormones at different rates. However, in the absence of treatment, it is not just low testosterone that can cause men to gain weight. Hormone imbalances such as low thyroid, elevated Cortisol/adrenal fatigue and increased estrogen can also negatively impact weight. Low thyroid can cause your body’s metabolism to slow causing weight gain. Increased cortisol signals the body to retain fat. And most common is, as testosterone drops, men experience a spike in estrogen. This added estrogen can lead to body softening and increased body fat in the midsection and breast area.
Treatment For Hormone Induced Weight Gain
If you are in your 40’s or older and are experiencing difficulty with losing weight, it might be time to get your hormones tested to see if you are out of balance. A simple blood test could be the first step in solving the mystery of your weight gain issues.
Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Some of the benefits of replacement therapy include:
- Loss of fat
- Increased bone density
- Improved sexual function
- Improved mental sharpness
- Greater muscle strength and physical performance
Dr. Doohi Lee at Advanced Surgical Arts is an expert at anti-aging medicine and balancing hormones. Call us today at 972-612-1900, to get back on track and fight the fat.