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Does Estrogen Contribute to Weight Gain? Your Question Answered

Estrogen and Weight Gain
Excess estrogen and weight gain is said to be one directly proportional proposition, i.e., if levels of estrogen increase in the body, so does the weight. We take the effort to help you comprehend the actual relation between pulsating levels of estrogen with regard to weight gain.
Kanika Khara
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
There can be various causes, other than oily foods and inactive lifestyle that may cause weight gain in women. Sometimes, even though you may not change your diet or exercise routine, you notice a few extra pounds around your waist. This condition can be extremely annoying and disappointing for anyone, not only because it affects your appearance, but obesity could be the root cause for several health ailments, such as cardiac disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. Hence, one such contributing factor for weight gain in women is estrogen -- a female sex hormone responsible for causing ovulation.
Contributing Factors
When in excess, estrogen elevates the growth of estrogen-sensitive tissues, causing an increased size of adipose (fat) tissues in the waist, thighs, and other estrogen-sensitive fat tissues. Especially in women, one may notice fat deposits around the belly, lower butt, thighs, and sometimes in the back of the arms. Some of the factors that may contribute to increased levels of estrogen, which, eventually cause weight gain are given below.
One of the prominent symptom of menopause is weight gain, which inadvertently affects, in toto, your physical frame. Commonly seen in women between ages 35 - 55, the prodromal stages of menopause -- also referred to as perimenopause -- keeping a tab on your weight becomes deucedly difficult. Moreover, women may find themselves striking a fat chance to lose those piled-up pounds. Since hormones directly impact the appetite, metabolism, and fat storage, it is during menopause that estrogen levels suffer a drastic drop, thereby causing the body to stop ovulating. As a result, the ovaries produce less estrogen, and the body starts searching for other places to compensate, or fill up for the deficit. Contrarily, the androgen levels in the body increase due to the proportion of estrogen being lower, along with its inability to control the effects androgen production has, on the body. This increase leads to a major band formation around the waist.
As the fat cells in our body generate estrogen, the body works harder to convert calories into fat in order to increase estrogen levels. Unlike the muscle cells in our body, the fat cells do not burn calories. This is what causes the accumulation of those unwanted pounds, where the body ends up storing more fat than it used to. Fat accumulation distributed around the waist increases the risk of cardiac crises. Besides, it may also lead the individual to become susceptible to conditions, like diabetes.
Birth Control Pills
Studies show that women taking higher-dose pills, tend to have an average of about 5 lb weight gain. Higher doses of estrogen in birth control pills is known to cause weight gain in women due to fluid retention. Direct stimulation of kidney substances called renin-angiotensin, by the estrogen in the pills, causes water retention, which further leads to sodium (salt) retention in the body. Although, this weight gain is temporary, using the lowest possible estrogen-containing birth control pills will help control weight gain and swelling due to water retention. Oral contraceptive pills are also known to elevate the levels of insulin in the body. The carbohydrate content ingested finds its way through the fat cells. It, precisely, is due to this inconsistency in absorption that women gain weight even when they do not intend to.
Weight gain is one commonly observed symptom of hypothyroidism -- a glandular disorder resulting from insufficient production of thyroid hormones. Estrogen and thyroid hormones have opposing actions, hence, estrogen hormone, being more dominant, interferes with the thyroid hormone activity causing hypothyroidism, which, eventually leads to weight gain.
Weight gain due to increased estrogen levels is said to be normal, especially during menopause and is not considered a sign of severe health problem. In fact, weight gain during menopause helps to lessen other related symptoms, like anxiety and hot flashes. However, since excessive weight gain can lead to other health ailments, one of the best way to maintain body weight is to gradually reduce your calorie intake or increase the body's metabolic rate. A regular exercise program, including weight training and aerobic exercises, is a good method to improve the body's metabolism. A balanced and healthy diet containing more of nutrient-rich low-calorie plant foods and less of processed and junk foods is recommended.
Disclaimer: The article published herein, is meant to accomplish pedagogical purposes only. The recommendations mentioned hereby may not be generically applicable. The information, by no means, intends to supplant the diagnosis and advice imparted by the medical practitioner.