Can Hormone Replacement Therapy and Weight Loss Go Hand in Hand?

May 2, 2024
Minute Read

Hormone replacement therapy is a type of treatment designed originally to help women who are going through menopause. Sometimes known as Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy (bHRT), this treatment uses natural hormones that are identical to those produced in the body and replaces key hormones that are no longer being produced the way they should. Doing so is a useful therapy to overcome the degenerative side effects of Aging as well as menopause and other conditions.

Today, however, the concept of using hormone replacement therapy as a potential aid in weight loss efforts has emerged, particularly given the impact that hormonal imbalances can have on weight and metabolism.

Hormonal imbalances can affect weight in several ways. Specific hormones control weight gain or weight loss like:

  1. Sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone)
  2. Cortisol
  3. Insulin
  4. Thyroid hormones

To that end, things like sex hormones might change your body composition and metabolism by distributing fat, whereas cortisol levels can influence how much fat gets stored due to stress. For that reason, it is important to consider what you eat, your physical activity, and the way those can work together with HRT. 

Hormone replacement therapy and weight loss: research findings on HRT's effects on weight management

Many of the studies surrounding the potential relationship between hormone replacement therapy and weight loss or weight gain have to do with preventing weight loss associated with bone degradation.

Other studies have pointed out that adipose tissue works as an insulator and can interfere with heat dissipation in menopausal women. As such, women who have higher abdominal adipose tissue have more severe symptoms during menopause. Hormone replacement therapy was found to be a potential way to manage the symptoms and moderate weight gain during menopause, which, by extension, had a direct impact on the severity of symptoms.

Women are commonly afraid of using hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptom management because they think it will cause weight gain. Several studies evaluated the weight gain for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women who used hormone replacement therapy compared to those who didn't. The results were negligible. Weight gain was almost exactly the same whether or not individuals used hormone replacement therapy. These findings indicate that hormone replacement therapy can be a useful way to manage menopausal symptoms but doesn't necessarily do much to reduce weight gain, which means it wouldn't do much to help people with weight loss.

However, other studies have looked at the overall influence of hormone replacement therapy on body composition and weight changes in addition to bone mass for early postmenopausal women. The trial found that body weight increased to a lesser degree over five years in women who used hormone replacement therapy compared to those who didn't.

Still, it was noted that the biggest determinant of potential weight gain because of things like menopause had to do with a decline in physical fitness. Under normal circumstances, body weight increases after menopause, but hormone replacement therapy can reduce the increase in fat mass. The downside to this is that the increase in fat mass actually works to protect against bone loss, so those women who have used hormone replacement therapy specifically as a way to moderate weight gain after putting themselves at risk if they were postmenopausal for continued problems with bone health.

All of this suggests that there remains a lot of research to be conducted as it relates to hormone replacement therapy used specifically for weight loss and not just for menopause symptoms.

There are many mechanisms by which HRT could potentially aid in weight loss or prevent weight gain, including the following:

- Estrogen

Estrogen is responsible for regulating body fat distribution, specifically adipose tissue. As such, estrogen bioavailability could significantly affect the distribution of adipose tissue so that it does not build up in a specific spot and lead to disruptions in heat dissipation and menopausal symptoms. However, there is currently no research on the subject. 

- Testosterone

Testosterone metabolites also regulate body fat distribution and play a significant role in the development of muscle mass. In theory, hormone replacement therapy could potentially aid in weight loss or prevent weight gain by balancing estrogen and testosterone levels in the body, although more research needs to be conducted.

- The impact of balanced hormones on appetite, metabolism, and energy levels

Another area for potential research has to do with the impact of a balanced hormonal profile on appetite, metabolism, and energy levels. Several studies have confirmed that balanced hormones directly impact your appetite, as well as how quickly your metabolism works to burn fat and how much energy you have to stay physically fit. However, research remains as to whether hormone replacement therapy, controlling all three of these areas, can have a direct impact on weight gain or weight loss.

Factors to consider before starting HRT for weight loss purposes

If you are still considering hormone replacement therapy weight loss programs, there are several factors you need to consider before starting.

- Medical history

The first factor is your medical history. We will sit down with you and review your medical history but you should also speak with your primary doctor to get more information on whether any aspect of your medical history might indicate a possible contraindication or risk factor when using hormone replacement therapy.

- Hormone levels

It's important to have your hormone levels tested beforehand so that you know where your hormone levels are now and where they might change with hormone replacement therapy.

- Health risks

As with any type of treatment, hormone replacement therapy has some health risks. Based on your medical history and current hormone levels, you need to be aware of these risks and how they apply to you. Our team will review this with you if you reach out for a consultation.

- Weight loss goals

Our team will speak with you about your weight loss goals as well as any potential health risks and other lifestyle factors. A small to moderate amount of weight loss, you might be better served by increasing physical activity, something that was noted in some of the existing literature on hormone replacement therapy for weight loss; the majority of women who saw increased weight gain after menopause did so because they had limited physical activity so if you increase your physical activity you might avoid weight gain all together and not need to use hormone replacement therapy.

- Lifestyle factors

Tangentially, you also need to be aware of what lifestyle factors you might need to consider for weight loss before turning to hormone replacement therapy. If you are having issues with your metabolism, with vitamin deficiencies, or low energy, these factors might be more easily remediated with exercise and a change to your diet. Our team can explain the efficacy of IV vitamin therapy or other treatments to boost energy and metabolism before you consider hormone replacement therapy.


If you are considering hormone replacement therapy and weight loss options, it's important that you consult with your healthcare professionals for personal advice. The role of diet and exercise is instrumental in managing your weight and it might be something that you change in conjunction with using hormone replacement therapy for weight management.

Summing Up

There is a new push for using hormone therapy for weight loss, given the fact that specific hormones can relate to weight gain or weight loss. While some research has investigated the effect on weight management, there are other factors to consider before starting with hormone replacement therapy and weight loss, such as your hormone levels, health risks, and lifestyle factors.

There is potential synergy between hormone replacement therapy and weight loss efforts, but you should explore all of your options and seek professional guidance before beginning.

It all starts with Yu.

Written by: