Menopause can bring about a number of undesirable symptoms. While this stage of life itself is normal, its potential signs are not always welcomed. One of the most common signs of menopause, beyond the hot flashes, is the appearance of extra weight. Women who undergo hormone replacement therapy often blame the extra pounds on the medicines. Hormone replacement therapy weight gain appears to be one of the many myths that surround this phase of life.
Does Hormone Replacement Therapy REALLY cause weight gain?
The hormone replacement therapy weight gain myth has long been prevalent. Many studies, however, have shown that weight gain and the medications do not go together. In some studies, the placebo group actually gained a little more weight than those taking hormone replacement therapy.
Hormone replacement therapy itself is meant to help replenish the hormones the body stops producing in abundance during menopause. It can be very useful for helping relieve symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness and even mood swings.
Hormone replacement therapy does come with its share of potential side effects. These can range from very mild issues to problems as severe as the development of breast cancer and even uterine cancer. Weight gain, however, simply does not seem to be one of those side effects.
While hormone replacement therapy doesn’t seem to be the blame for weight gain during menopause, there are other factors that come into play during this period that can be blamed. The fact of the matter is the body is going through a lot of changes and some weight gain is generally to be expected.
After about age 35 and sometimes sooner, the body begins to react to aging. The metabolism starts to slow down. In some cases, this slowing can actually be by a whole lot. When the metabolism slows, weight gain is quite probably. How much or how little a woman will gain depends on many different independent factors, but the fact is weight gain to some degree is almost always expected.
The hormone replacement therapy weight gain myth likely got started due to the timing of its introduction. The therapy often starts around the time metabolism changes are taking place. So the two may appear to actually go together when in reality weight gain happens for an entirely different set of menopause-related reasons.
While the hormone replacement therapy weight gain myth is an easy scapegoat, stopping the therapy very likely won’t change the gaining issue. There are things women can do to help get their metabolism going again. It might not ever be as fast as it once was, but living with the extra pounds does not need to be the only options.
To help control or lose menopause-related weight gain, women can:
- Decrease portion size. It can be very helpful to control caloric intake by lowering portions at any given sitting.
- Eat more frequent meals. Smaller meals spread out over the course of the day can help keep the metabolism working at a better efficiency level.
- Eat healthier foods. Processed sugars, flours and high-fat content foods should be avoided most of the time. Eating healthy, balanced meals can help with weight gain uses.
- Exercise. Few things can beat adding exercise into the mix. Not only can a regular routine help with weight gain, it is also beneficial for helping prevent heart disease, osteoporosis, strokes and a variety of other conditions that can become are real concern during this phase of life.
While the hormone replacement therapy weight gain myth serves as a great scapegoat, it does not appear to be true. Many other problems can arise from this form of treatment, but weight gain does not seem to be one of them.