“Does low estrogen make you gain weight?” is a simple question.
The answer is also simple, “Yes, particularly in women.”
If you’re suffering from an imbalance of female hormones, weight loss is something you’re probably going to struggle with — the literature provides plenty of scientific support for that conclusion.
So let’s discuss some other problems most people haven’t considered when it comes to low estrogen — you see, there’s more to this problem than a simple increase of the number on the scale.
Does Low Estrogen Make You Gain Weight? Let’s Start With the Basics
For starters, estrogen plays a significant role in controlling food intake, body-weight distribution, glucose metabolism, and insulin sensitivity — all important factors affecting weight loss or gain.
When endocrine processes are operating correctly and are in balance, controlling your weight will definitely be easier than if they are out of balance.
Simply put, poor hormonal balance leads to irregular weight fluctuation.
There are two conditions related to hormone imbalance that may be evidence of a connection between low estrogen and weight gain — more importantly to a particular type of weight gain.
Does Low Estrogen Make You Gain Weight During Menopause?
Weight gain is often associated with aging in women and often coincides with the end of regular menstruation, referred to as “menopause” — in fact, it seems that the weight gain (and weight retention) often seen in postmenopausal women is likely directly related to low estrogen levels.
Women go through significant hormonal changes during menopause.
In fact, we often see a particularly drastic reduction in estrogen as the ovaries cease ovulation. Weight gain and weight retention issues soon follow.
This is not just based on clinical experience or anecdotal evidence — there are several studies supporting this, showing that low estrogen levels in menopausal women were the likely cause of weight gain.
But menopause is not the only condition that can lead to low estrogen levels (and associated weight gain).
Does Low Estrogen Make You Gain Weight if You Have PCOS?
PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition where many small cysts develop on women’s ovaries. PCOS often results in hormonal imbalances, including low estrogen.
Along with irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain is a serious condition associated with PCOS, and if left untreated, may result in diabetes or heart conditions.
So, weight gain in menopause and PCOS, both low E conditions, further supports the overall link between low estrogen and obesity.
How Low Estrogen Affects Your Body
What is most surprising about low E and weight gain is where it happens.
There are two common patterns of fat distribution that result in two distinct body shapes, or figures, and each pattern is typically associated with a particular gender.
The female figure is characterized by “gynoid fat distribution,” meaning weight is carried in the thighs and glutes.
It’s typically described as a pear shape.
“Android fat distribution”, on the other hand, is characterized by weight carried around the abdomen and midriff, higher on the skeletal structure, and is commonly associated with men’s bodies. This is usually described as an apple shape, rather than a pear shape.
What’s often seen in women suffering from low estrogen, characteristic of postmenopausal women and those with PCOS, is the shift from the feminine pear shape to a more masculine apple shape.
Fat begins to accumulate around the abdomen, as you might see in a man, rather than in the areas to which you’re used to fat accumulating.
As I’m sure you can imagine, this isn’t exactly a welcome change for most women — men often have the opposite problem when their testosterone levels drop, a change that is similarly unwelcome.
Does Low Estrogen Make You Gain Weight? Find Out More
We’ve written extensively on this subject, so, if you’re interested in reading more, take a look at our blog post on low estrogen and weight gain here.
So, does low estrogen make you gain weight?
The short answer is yes, but fortunately, there are many treatment options available.
If you think low estrogen might be contributing to unwanted weight gain, you may be a candidate for estrogen replacement therapy.
Get a thorough evaluation to find out if it’s right for you.