Medical Q&As

HRT - weight gain?

Does HRT contribute to weight gain in women? My partner put on a lot of weight since going on it after she had a total hysterectomy including removal of her ovaries seven years ago.

Several studies have been undertaken to answer the very question you ask. The conclusion drawn from these studies is that HRT does not routinely contribute to weight gain. However, there are always exceptions and I have had the experience of treating women who gained weight while taking HRT. As we get older our metabolism slows down and we require fewer calories for the routine tasks of everyday living. Therefore it may be necessary to eat fewer calories and exercise more in order to maintain a stable body weight. It has also been suggested by some doctors that removal of the ovaries also reduces testosterone levels in a woman’s body, which in turn reduces muscle mass. It is important to realise that women also have small amounts of testosterone in their bodies even though we tend to think of it exclusively as a male hormone. If muscle mass is reduced the lost tissue is replaced by fat. It is also possible that your partner may not have greatly increased her weight but her shape may have changed. Several studies have shown that women have often perceived that their weight has increased even though serial measurements have demonstrated that they have changed shape rather then weight. In other words they have experienced a process of redistribution of their body fat but their overall body weight remained the same.