‘Tis the season for gatherings with family and friends, which often includes large meals, comfort foods, sweet treats, and seasonal beverages. The average weight gain during the holidays is around one pound, which seems significantly less than what one may expect. However, indulging during this time of year may not be the main cause for weight gain. Hormone fluctuations may be the culprit. Read on to learn how hormones play a key role in weight management.
What is hormonal weight gain?
Hormonal weight gain occurs when hormones are imbalanced. Various factors impact hormone levels including lifestyle and age. As a result, certain hormones are over or underproduced and/or function less effectively, and weight gain is a common side effect.
Which hormones cause weight gain?
Several hormones play a role in bodily functions that relate to weight, including appetite control, metabolism, fullness indications, and body fat distribution. Below are some of the main hormones linked to hormonal weight gain.
This stress hormone, when overproduced, can cause the body to exist in ‘fight or flight’ mode. The concept of stress eating is connected to high cortisol levels. As a result, individuals may have an increased appetite, crave sugary, salty, and fatty foods, and have a desire to binge eat to combat stress.
While estrogen is not directly linked to weight, an imbalance can cause the body to work less efficiently, resulting in potential weight gain. Symptoms of estrogen imbalance may include fatigue and slower metabolism.
Insulin is a hormone that helps the body’s cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream to use for energy. When the body does not respond to insulin (also known as insulin resistance), glucose levels increase in the blood, causing high blood sugar. Excess glucose is stored as fat, resulting in weight gain. Ongoing insulin resistance can also lead to Type 2 diabetes.
How do I know if my weight gain is related to hormones?
There are a number of conditions, signs, and symptoms that may indicate hormone-induced weight gain, including the following:
- Central obesity (fat increase in the abdominal region)
- Cushing syndrome (also known as hypercortisolism) occurs when the body overproduces cortisol over time and/or from taking corticosteroid medication.
- Rounded face (“moon face”)
- Fatty hump between shoulders
- Purple stretch marks
- Thyroid goiter (irregular growth of the thyroid gland), looks like a lump on the neck
How is hormonal weight gain diagnosed?
Hormone levels can be tested through the following methods:
- Blood test
- Saliva test
- Urine test
If a hormone imbalance is identified, it may be an indicator of weight gain and/or the inability to lose weight.
How can I manage my hormones?
Regenerative Medical Institute offers complete hormone care services including hormone and metabolite testing and subcutaneous hormone pellet therapy. Dr. Orbeck is an expert in hormone pellet therapy delivery, and he has educated a number of patients and colleagues on this topic. He develops personalized treatment plans for patients based on their specific needs.