I hear from some of my women patients that when they go on hormone replacement therapy in menopause, they start to gain weight. This complaint is common enough that I decided to research it.
It became apparent to me that there are some women who are “estrogen dominant” AFTER menopause, meaning that they preferentially absorb and metabolize estrogen. When these women are given post-menopausal estrogen, it causes them to begin storing calories in their fat cells as if they were pregnant.
Estrogen and progesterone are primarily pregnancy hormones. The entire purpose of cyclical hormones in pre-menopausal women is to assure procreation. On a basic “Paleo” level it is all about survival of the species. Women are not naturally designed to continue having reproductive hormones after menopause.
As we age, our metabolism naturally slows down. So, for some women this translates into weight gain when they go on post-menopausal hormones.
Options for Hormone Replacement
There are other options for hormone replacement. And each woman needs to be individually evaluated. There is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to hormone balancing.
One option for women who tend to gain weight after menopause is to use testosterone pellets.
Testosterone is emerging as a very beneficial hormone for women, especially after menopause. It boosts metabolism to help women “lean out”. It helps build muscle, increases bone density, raises energy levels, stimulates the libido, supports brain function, and has been shown to down regulate estrogen receptors to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Testosterone also gets aromatized in fat cells into estrogen. So, for many women, using testosterone alone can eliminate the night sweats and hot flashes, increase energy, promote weight loss and lower the risk of breast cancer with no vaginal bleeding.
In one study 87% of women reported complete relief of all menopausal symptoms including anxiety and menstrual headache using testosterone alone. Side effects are minor and are limited to an occasional facial hair or acne in women prone to it.
If you are one of those women who does not seem to be doing well on the pregnancy-based hormones, testosterone pellets may be the answer for you.