How to Manage Hormonal Weight Gain & Can a Doctor Help?
Have you been trying to shed some weight for a long time but have not been able to reach your goal yet? If you are nodding your head in confirmation, then all of this can be related to hormonal imbalances in your body. Hormonal balance or imbalance has a direct role in how our body functions. For example, your body weight will stay normal if you have a balanced hormonal system. However, if there is a hormonal imbalance, your body will start to experience sudden weight gain and weight loss problems.
Not just weight but a hormonal imbalance can affect several major body functions. And to maintain a proper balance of these hormones, you need to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle and take an expert's help to create a healthy hormonal balance. Let's look at how hormonal imbalance affects body weight and what you can do to manage it.
What Does Hormonal Weight Gain Mean?
Weight gain is directly linked with hormonal imbalances in the body. Fluctuations in hormones can increase your appetite, affect your digestion, slow your metabolism, or absorb more fat than necessary by the body; all of this can lead to excessive weight gain. And the weight gain issue is not limited to just one gender; it affects both genders. For example, in women, the most common reason that can lead to weight gain is menopause. It is known to cause severe hormonal changes in the body, which include weight and mood fluctuations. And for men, the cause of hormonal weight gain can result from high cortisol levels in the body or taking excessive stress.
Additionally, the effects of weight gain are visible in different body parts in both genders. The area where men gain the most weight is around their abdomen. And for women, that area is their hips and thighs.
Also another way in which hormonal imbalance can lead to weight gain is by increasing an individual's appetite. An imbalance can lead to a higher appetite, which increases the amount of food you are eating and your cravings for certain things. Hormonal imbalance can also cause the body to store more fat in the body than is required. Therefore, eating healthy or working out every day is not sufficient to reverse your hormonal weight gain.
What are the Reasons behind Hormonal Weight Gain?
Several reasons that can lead to hormonal weight gain include:
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Prolactin excess
- Thyroid hormone deficiency
- Insulin resistance
- Pituitary insufficiency
- Excess cortisol level
- Androgen imbalance
- Leptin resistance
- Estrogen dominance
- Metabolic syndrome
- Growth hormone deficiency
Read More:- What Are Hormonal Mood Swings: Their Causes And Treatment
What are the Different Types of Hormones That Affect Weight, And How to Balance Them?
Some specific types of hormones significantly affect how our body gains weight. Here are nine hormones that can affect your body weight.
Estrogen is a type of hormone that affects the body in a lot of ways. It is a reproductive hormone that regulates several systems in our body, like the vascular, immune, and skeletal systems. So when a female goes through a phase of pregnancy, menopause, menstrual cycles, or even nursing, the level of estrogen in the body fluctuates. And with fluctuations come high estrogen levels, which are found to be a reason for obesity in several females.
Furthermore, as you age, you face problems like menopause and pre-menopause. These can also lead to increased body fat and weight.
Ways to Maintain a Balanced Estrogen Level
To keep the levels of estrogen in your body balanced, here are some things you can try:
- Create a balanced diet. It means that you should avoid eating foods like red meat, refined grains, sweets, and processed food because they have high estrogen levels, which can increase the risk of chronic diseases.
- Work out regularly; if you are facing issues like low estrogen levels, especially during your menopause phase, you should still work out regularly. Exercise helps in maintaining weight and reduces the chances of any serious problems later.
- Try weight management. If you are gaining weight very quickly, try to control it. You can go to an expert to know about the ways in which you can control your weight. Excess weight can increase the risk of serious heart disease.
The leptin hormone signals the brain that you are full. It regulates appetite but people who face problems like leptin resistance. In this problem, the hormone stops sending signals to the brain, which can cause you to overeat. It also increases the levels of leptin production, which can turn harmful.
Ways to Maintain a Balanced Leptin Level
Since no specific treatment can help lower the leptin resistance level, here are a few ideas that can lower the level of leptin production in the body.
- Since leptin resistance is directly linked to obesity, you should first and foremost try to maintain a healthy weight. It lowers the production of leptin in the body.
- Work out frequently to lower leptin production in the body.
- Get quality sleep to help lower the level of leptin in the body.
Insulin is the hormone that helps the body absorb sugar, also known as glucose. Every day, your body secretes insulin, which is responsible for transferring glucose from food to the cells, which is then used for energy or storage. Insulin resistance can lead to high blood pressure and weight gain. And once the cells stop responding to the insulin, the pancreas produces more insulin so the cells can absorb all the glucose. It can lead to obesity, which is further responsible for diabetes and heart problems.
Ways to Maintain a Balanced Insulin Level
Here is how you can maintain a healthy level of insulin in your body:
- If you sleep for less than recommended hours or do not sleep properly, you start gaining weight, and your body starts resisting insulin. So, it would be best if you changed your sleeping habits.
- Try to include low glycemic and fiber-rich foods in your diet, like legumes, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
- Include more Omega-3 fatty acid-rich food in your diet as it improves insulin sensitivity. You can try supplements or add seeds, fish, plant oils, and nuts to your meals.
- Try and maintain moderate body weight as it helps increase insulin sensitivity.
- Lower the amount of saturated and Trans fat foods in your diet. Instead, try healthy vegetable oils, fats, and veggies.
- Working out increases insulin sensitivity and reduces insulin resistance.
The ghrelin hormone does the opposite of what leptin does to the brain. This hormone is responsible for increasing hunger by sending signals to the brain. It is responsible for making you feel extremely hungry. When these hormone levels rise in your body, it can make you feel hungrier and lead to overeating.
Ways to Maintain a Balanced Ghrelin Level
To maintain a healthy weight, you are often required to lower your calorie consumption, which can increase your levels of Ghrelin and appetite. It also causes leptin levels to lower in the body. So, here are some ways to maintain your ghrelin levels.
- Create a workout routine to reduce the risk of obesity.
- Eat at small intervals to keep your tummy feeling full. So, eat when you feel hungry.
- Get good sleep to lower your ghrelin level, avoid overeating, and reduce the chances of weight gain.
The nervous system and brain cells produce the hormone Neuropeptide Y, which helps lower the usage of energy when fasting or stressed. It also stimulates the appetite, which then turns into the reason for obesity. The hormone activates in the fat tissues, which can enhance the absorption of fat in the body, thus increasing body weight.
Ways to Maintain a Balanced Neuropeptide Y Level
The ways to maintain Neuropeptide Y (NYP) levels in your body include:
- Change your diet to a nutritious one. Avoid foods that have high sugar or fat content in them. It will keep your NYP levels in check.
- Working out every day can also reduce your body's levels of NYP.
The cortisol hormone is also referred to as the stress hormone. If you are stressed, this hormone causes the energy levels to rise in the body along with a rapid heartbeat. The hormone gives you the 'flight or fight feeling' when you are in danger. Even though it is an important hormone, extremely high levels of this hormone can lead to serious health issues and weight gain. Some lifestyle factors can also increase the level of cortisol in the body, like bad sleeping habits, extreme stress, and foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates.
Ways to Maintain a Balanced Cortisol Level
Below are some ways through which you can lower the cortisol levels in your body.
- Create a proper sleeping pattern to avoid increasing your cortisol levels. Lack of sleep or not getting proper sleep is among the most common reasons that can increase cortisol levels in the body.
- Maintaining healthy body weight is important, as obesity can significantly increase cortisol levels.
- Regular workouts can also lower stress and cortisol levels in the body and promote good health.
- Eating healthy and removing food that has high sugar, saturated fat, and refined grains can balance cortisol levels. Eating a more plant-based diet is also good for the body.
- Try relaxing the mind through meditation. It helps release stress from the body, which can balance cortisol levels.
Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1)
Glucagon-like Peptide-1 is a hormone made in your gut when nutrients enter the intestine. This hormone maintains blood sugar stability and makes you feel full. Individuals who are obese have low levels of GLP-1 in their bodies.
Ways to Maintain a Balanced Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Level
Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) can be balanced out by
- Eating lots of protein-rich food like yogurt and whey protein.
- With a doctor's suggestion, add probiotic supplements to your everyday routine.
Peptide YY is a hormone responsible for limiting the food you consume. When found at a low level in the body, this hormone can result in overeating or increased appetite. Therefore, low levels of this hormone can lead to an increase in weight.
Ways to Maintain a Balanced Peptide YY Level
There are ways in which you can maintain a balance of Peptide YY levels in your body like
- Create a diet that has all the nutrients and vitamins in it. It will help your body feel full in a better way. You can add proteins, veggies, and fruits to your diet to create a well-balanced meal and increase your Peptide YY levels.
- Start working out to keep your body active and your Peptide YY levels high.
Cholecystokinin is a hormone that promotes a feeling of fullness in the gut after a meal. The hormone is responsible for digestion, energy production, protein synthesis, and more. Moreover, it releases leptin in the body. When the level of this hormone goes down in the body, you begin to overeat. This problem can further lead to chronic overeating and extreme weight gain.
Ways to Maintain a Balanced Cholecystokinin Level
Tips for maintaining healthy levels of Cholecystokinin in the body.
- Eating a high-protein diet is good for increasing the Cholecystokinin level in the body.
- Creating an everyday workout routine can also increase CCK hormone levels.
What are the Symptoms and Signs of Hormonal Weight Gain?
There are several indicators that can tell you that you are gaining weight due to hormonal imbalance, such as
- Purple striae
- Frequent urination
- Central obesity- increased abdominal and visceral fat.
- Thyroid goiter
- Moon faces
- Frequent sweating or tremors
- Visual disturbances
- Proximal muscle weakness
- Irregular heartbeat
- Brain fog
- Extreme thirst
- Irregular menstrual cycle
Risk Factors of Hormonal Weight Gain
Other than regular hormonal imbalance, there are several other potential reasons that can lead to weight gain, for instance:
- Old age
- Idle or inactive lifestyle
- Surgeries or pituitary tumors/ hypothalamic
How is Hormonal Weight Gain Diagnosed?
If you see signs of frequent weight fluctuation, you should go to an expert for a proper diagnosis. An expert can help you find the root cause of your weight gain problem. The reasons can include low levels of estrogen, thyroid imbalance, hormonal resistance, adrenal disorder, and more. Laboratory tests conducted by an expert are a sure way to know the right reason behind your sudden weight gain issue. The expert can also ask you to take urine and blood tests to learn the correct reason behind your weight gain issue. Also, special evaluation tests are available to find out the right reason.
What are Some Treatments For Hormonal Weight Gain?
There are several treatments that can help you deal with your weight gain problem, like:
- You can opt for a surgical procedure where an expert removes the tumor from your body that is producing excessive hormones.
- Choose thyroid hormone replacement.
- Lifestyle and dietary changes. That can also entail lowering stress and workout sessions.
- Medications to manage and balance out the levels of insulin in the body and target your appetite.
- Testosterone replacement
- Certain medications will target hormone resistance or excess production to bring them to normal levels.
Is There a Way to Avoid Hormonal Weight Gain?
If you get an early diagnosis from an expert, your treatment can begin in the early stages of hormonal disbalance. It will minimize the chances of extreme hormonal weight gain or reverse the overall symptoms. Furthermore, you can make improvements in your diet plan, increase your workout session, get proper sleep, and manage your stress level and alcohol intake.
What Are The Risk Factors If Hormonal Weight Gain Goes Untreated?
Hormonal weight gain can lead to other problems like infertility, hypertension, heart problems, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, cancer, stroke, and asthma. Hormonal weight gain problems can also reduce your living years.
Are There Other Problems That Can Cause Hormonal Weight Gain?
Other than hormonal imbalance and genetics, there are some other health issues that can lead to hormonal weight gain, such as
- Prolactinoma/ Hyperprolactinemia
- Cushing's syndrome/ disease
- Type 2 diabetes
When to See a Doctor for Treatment?
There are several issues that can cause sudden and rapid weight gain. Generally, the reason behind sudden and unexplained weight gain is hormonal imbalance in the body. These hormonal issues can result from problems like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid deficiency, and low estrogen levels in the body. Moreover, if you start gaining weight due to hormonal imbalance, it may be followed by other symptoms like heavy or painful periods, headaches, mood swings, and insomnia.
Also, if you start gaining weight and don't have an apparent reason to justify it, you should see an expert as soon as possible. An expert can diagnose and identify what type of hormonal imbalance you have with the help of lab tests and your symptoms.
Can a Doctor Help You Lose Hormonal Weight?
A doctor or an expert can help you reverse all the weight gain issues. Whether your problem is hormone imbalance or not, a doctor can help you diagnose it and provide proper care. However, when you face hormonal imbalance and weight gain issues, a doctor can suggest several solutions, including lifestyle changes, diet changes, stress management, and workout. The experts can also suggest the replacement of thyroid or testosterone replacement. Doctors can also prescribe medicines to control hunger pangs and cravings and neutralize the level of hormones in the body.
Several hormones in our body are directly linked with our body weight. And if the hormonal balance goes haywire, you will see major fluctuations in your weight. So, to maintain a normal body weight and to get your problem diagnosed, you can visit Apprize Medical. Our experts do a thorough diagnosis to identify your problem and get to the root cause of it. After this, experts create a customized health plan that targets the problem. We offer several treatment plans to help you deal with hormonal weight gain issues, like weight loss treatment, hormone optimization, and personalized nutrition.
To get the best diagnosis of your problem along with a proper treatment plan, book an appointment with us at +1-305-851-2132.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have curated a list of general FAQs covering all your queries.
Hormonal weight gain affects both males and females differently. In females, the areas that are affected and gain weight by hormonal changes are the thigh, abdomen, and hip region. Whereas in males, the effects of hormonal weight gain can be seen in their abdomen area.
You can reset your hormones and bring them to balance in several ways. The several ways in which you can do this are:
- Getting sufficient and quality sleep
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Eat a meal that is rich in protein
- Add healthy fats to your diet
- Reduce the amount of sugar intake
- Do regular workouts
- Ensure that your gut is healthy
- Try meditation or stress-relieving methods
With age, it gets difficult to maintain your regular weight. As a matter of fact, it is common for females to gain weight during their menopause phase. But the important thing is that weight gain during the menopause period is unavoidable. However, you can reverse the weight gain during menopause by creating a healthy and active lifestyle.
When women gain weight in the lower region of their abdomen due to hormonal balance, it is known as a hormonal belly. Hormones are the type of chemical substance in our body that helps transmit signals from one place to another. They are responsible for how our metabolism, reproductive function, appetite, and sex drive operate.