What is Hormonal Weight Gain?

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

Hormones control and coordinate activities throughout the body. They are secreted by several glands in the body to support growth, development, reproduction, and more. Hormones can also directly affect your weight. In fact, if your hormones do not perform as expected, weight gain often results. Weight gain can be caused by underlying hormonal imbalances in the body. If you aren’t making changes with your diet or exercise routine but have been recently gaining weight, your hormones could have been the reason. Both men and women may experience hormonal weight gain at some point in their lives.


Here’s a list of hormones and how they influence weight gain:


Thyroid Hormones

Thyroid gland is an endocrine gland located in your neck. It produces the hormones T3, T4, and calcitonin which all regulate and directly affect the body’s metabolism.


Deficiencies of these hormones lead to hypothyroidism. This condition slows down metabolism which causes modest weight gain.

Cortisol

This hormone is supplied by the adrenal glands, the triangle-shaped organs at the top of the kidneys. It’s the body’s main stress hormone and mainly responsible for your response to “fight-or-flight” situations.


When you deal with too much stress, cortisol level increases, leading to weight gain.

Testosterone

Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men. It also plays a key role in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism.[1]


It has a significant effect on body fat composition and muscle mass in males. As men age, testosterone levels drop. Weight gain is a common symptom of testosterone deficiency.

Progesterone and Estrogen

These hormones are the two most important hormones in females. They are responsible for various female characteristics in the body.


During menopause, women produce much less estrogen and progesterone.


To find estrogen, the body works harder to convert calories into fat to increase estrogen levels since fat cells can produce estrogen. But the fat cells don’t burn calories as much as the muscle cells do, which causes weight gain.


Meanwhile, decreased progesterone levels are associated with water weight and bloating caused by water retention during menopaus