Studies show that lower estrogen levels may reduce metabolic rate and could even cause increased eating and decreased activity. The same effects are seen with aging, so women may experience a double whammy if entering menopause naturally. With surgical menopause, the lack of estrogen for a more extended period can bring a variety of other risks.
How HRT may help
Hormone replacement therapy can help different patients in different ways. HRT provides a level of estrogen in the body. However, since aging also affects weight gain and fat distribution, replacing estrogen may not have significant results. HRT will help to relieve hot flashes, sleep disturbances, moodiness, and body aches or pains. The absence of those symptoms may help increase activity levels and decrease fatigue and snacking for a pick-me-up.
Other HRT benefits
The fat distribution shift seen with aging and menopause means women tend to see an increase in midsection measurements. This type of fat distribution is called android and increases the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown estrogen replacement assists in decreasing the shift from gynoid, or fat at hips, thighs, and bottom, to android.
Does HRT have a bad rap?
Hormone replacement therapy does provide some benefits, but there have been conversations regarding risks associated with the treatment. Concerns regarding an association with breast cancer, blood clots, heart disease, and stroke are out there. Most of these issues are related to combined hormone therapy or taking estrogen and progestin. However, even with that, the benefits are often found to outweigh the risks.
Is HRT right for me?
An open discussion with a healthcare provider is the only way to determine if HRT is the right choice. Age at the time of menopause, surgical versus natural menopause, and health history must all be considered. However, even then, HRT should not be considered solely for weight control. Weight, metabolism, and body shape are changes that occur naturally with age, and HRT is not the catch-all solution. Ensuring good food choices are made, and moderate exercise is consistently performed should be the primary methods for weight management. For more information about menopause and HRT, speak with a healthcare provider or OB/GYN.