Can Hormone Replacement Therapy Be the Answer to Our Weight-Loss Concerns?
Hormonal factors play a significant role in the everyday workings of our bodies. Hormonal balances are very precise, and issues such as age, health conditions, medications, and even obesity can create imbalances that lead to minor or significant health issues. While many hormonal issues have a modifiable root cause (one that can be fixed with lifestyle changes), some of these issues are precipitated by something none of us can escape – the aging process. This is particularly true of the female sex hormone known as estrogen, and the male sex hormone, testosterone.
Estrogen Levels in Menopausal Women
As women reach their late 40s and move into their 50s, the reality of menopause becomes ever clearer. Not only can menopause be a reminder of our biological age, but it can also come with a raft of physical changes that can wreak havoc on the body. When women reach menopause, their estrogen levels drop dramatically. Of course, one of the physical manifestations of this change can be, in part, weight gain, especially in the abdomen, hips, and thighs.
Testosterone Levels in Aging Men
You’ve undoubtedly seen the myriad of advertisements for testosterone replacement therapy. Low T, as it is known, has become a niche market for men’s health clinics as men try to optimize their physical health later in life. Unlike women, men gradually lose testosterone over decades, starting around age 40, and may lose approximately 1 to 2% of their testosterone each year. Testosterone is critical to hair growth, muscle mass maintenance, mood stability, and physical ability. Low testosterone can also lead to weight gain.
Is the Weight Gain Completely Hormonal?
While ads for certain products may tell you hormone replacement therapy is a cure-all, this is not the case. There are almost always other factors at play. For example, there is an inevitable decline in muscle mass with age; further, usually, after 60, the metabolism begins to slow. If one does not keep up with these changes by maintaining exercise regimens and reducing caloric intake, it stands to reason weight gain will be a resultant problem.
So, What’s the Answer?
Visiting a qualified medical or surgical weight loss practice is key. You may also work with a men’s health urologist or gynecologist that specializes in female hormonal issues to better understand where your hormone levels are, and if they may be contributing to weight gain. By taking a bird’s eye view of your activity levels, caloric intake, and general health, your weight specialist, can offer practical tips on therapies that may be right for you.
However, hormones cannot be blamed for everything. Sometimes, we must understand excess weight and obesity are caused by lifestyle factors that have become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to reverse without intervention. This is when speaking to a weight loss specialist, such as those at our office, can help decide whether bariatric surgery is the best next step.
No matter what course of treatment you pursue, it’s essential you do not get caught up in the hype surrounding many of the weight loss products and diets available today. We encourage you to recognize it’s often challenging to go it alone and having a qualified weight loss specialist by your side can help steer you in the right direction for safe, effective, and lasting weight loss.