Does Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Cause Weight Gain or Loss?

Reviewed on 1/22/2021

What is hormone replacement therapy?

Hormone replacement therapy boosts the levels of hormones lost during menopause. There is no evidence that HRT leads to weight gain or weight loss.
Hormone replacement therapy boosts the levels of hormones lost during menopause. There is no evidence that HRT leads to weight gain or weight loss.

Women typically undergo menopause between the ages of 45 and 55. It occurs around one year after a woman’s last menstrual cycle. The menopausal transition affects the production of hormones produced by the ovaries. This leads to changes that may affect your health. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) including prescribed medication that boosts the levels of hormones lost during menopause

A variety of hormone replacement therapies are available, but they can lead to various side effects. While some believe that HRT causes weight gain, there’s no conclusive evidence to prove it. There’s also no proof that HRT encourages weight loss

Side effects of hormone replacement therapy 

HRT may be recommended for the following conditions:

While menopause may lead to weight gain due to changes in your metabolism, there’s no evidence that HRT affects your weight. However, there are other potential side effects of HRT, including:

Depending on the prescribed type of HRT, women may end up with a higher chance of developing endometrial (the lining of the uterus) or uterine cancer. It’s best to discuss the risks of each form of HRT with your doctor

Types of hormone replacement therapy

There are several types of hormone replacement therapies available: 

Estrogen-only HRT

Estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy includes a synthetic form of estrogen. This form can increase your risk of getting endometrial cancer if you still have a uterus. Healthcare providers don’t recommend using estrogen-only HRT if you have any of the following medical conditions: 

Women may experience the following side effects after taking estrogen-only HRT:

Progestin-only HRT

Progestin-only hormone replacement therapy contains a synthetic form of progesterone. Your doctor may prescribe both estrogen-only and progestin-only HRT to decrease your risk of endometrial cancer. This form of HRT causes many of the same side effects as estrogen-only medication. 

Estrogen and progestin combination

This form of hormone replacement therapy provides you with synthetic estrogen and progesterone in one dose. It can be a good option for individuals who prefer to take their HRT all at once. There’s no estrogen or progestin HRT that leads to weight loss or weight gain.

Causes of hormone replacement therapy

Women typically begin taking HRT when they start losing estrogen and progesterone hormones during menopause. Surgery to remove reproductive organs like a hysterectomy (removal of all or part of the uterus) can also decrease your hormone levels. Your doctor may recommend HRT to help your body adjust to the changes.

When to see the doctor about hormone replacement therapy

Talk to a doctor about HRT if you’re experiencing symptoms of menopause, including:

Tests for hormone replacement therapy

Doctors typically perform a physical examination to determine the cause of your hormone issues. They may also include additional diagnostic tests to check the current levels of various hormones in your system. After getting your results, they may recommend HRT to alleviate your symptoms.

Treatments for hormone replacement therapy

Your doctor should continue monitoring your use of HRT. Let them know about any side effects you may be experiencing, so that they can catch any medical issues that may arise from HRT. 

QUESTION

If menopause occurs in a woman younger than ___ years, it is considered to be premature. See Answer

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References
SOURCES:

Maturitas: "Weight gain and hormone replacement therapy: are women’s fears justified?"

National Cancer Institute: "Menopausal Hormone Therapy and Cancer."

National Institute of Aging: "What Is Menopause?"

StatPearls: "Hormone Replacement Therapy."

U.S. Food & Drug Administration: "Menopause: Medicines to Help You."

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