Oh, those teary days – the scale kept creeping up no matter how hard you dieted and exercised! And these stubborn extra pounds just won’t budge through lifestyle changes alone.
Well, it’s a story on many indeed!
When your weight refuses to shift after diligent efforts or rapid gain strikes suddenly, the reason can be an underlying hormonal issue, often the endocrine system.
But do endocrinologists treat weight gain? Or when to see an endocrinologist for weight gain?
See an endocrinologist for weight gain if you’re experiencing sudden or persistent weight gain, fatigue, mood shifts, and skin and hair quality changes. Hormonal imbalances usually cause the symptoms. An endocrinologist can help regulate your hormones and metabolism to aid in weight loss.
Wait, there’s more to the story. Read to discover the connection between endocrinology and weight gain issues.
The Connection Between Endocrine System and Weight Gain
The endocrine system and weight gain have a close relationship. The endocrine system is a network of glands that produce hormones to control vital body functions. Its main job is to regulate your body’s metabolism, which converts calories into energy for cells and organs.
Your body’s hormones also regulate your appetite to help you maintain energy levels. Some hormones make you feel hungry. Others tell you when you’ve had enough to eat and stop you from eating more. When these hormones that control your appetite are imbalanced, it can lead to weight gain or loss.
Some of the key hormones and their impact on weight gain are-
- Thyroid hormones – An underactive thyroid slows metabolism, potentially causing pounds to creep up even with diet/exercise changes.
- Insulin and glucagon – These hormones moderate blood sugar levels, fuel intake, and appetite. Irregularities like insulin resistance promote weight gain.
- Cortisol – Having consistently high levels of this stress hormone prompts fat storage around the midsection and increased cravings.
- Estrogen – Drops in estrogen shift body fat distribution, leading to middle-aged spread.
- Growth Hormone – Growth hormone deficiency causes decreased muscle mass and a higher proportion of body fat.
- Leptin: It regulates energy balance by inhibiting hunger. In obesity, leptin resistance leads to increased food intake and weight gain.
Hormonal imbalances can lead to weight gain; conversely, weight gain can lead to hormone changes.
Do Endocrinologists Treat Weight Gain?
Yes, endocrinologists can indeed help treat weight gain. They specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions related to hormones, endocrine disorders, hormonal glands, and tissues.
Endocrinologists can help you lose weight by regulating your hormone levels and speeding up your metabolism. They can also treat underlying conditions that may affect your weight, such as type 2 diabetes.
They may prescribe weight loss medications, which help suppress appetite, stimulate metabolism, or impede fat absorption from food. Their treatment usually includes lifestyle modification – a healthy diet, exercise, etc.
When To See An Endocrinologist For Weight Gain?
You may see an endocrinologist if you are gaining weight without any clear explanation or changes in your diet or exercise routine. They understand the complex relationships between hormones, metabolism, and overall health. They can identify any underlying hormonal issues and provide personalized solutions for weight gain.
Weight gain connected to the endocrine system often involves several symptoms. These symptoms usually imply that it’s time to see an endocrinologist.
Symptoms And Signs Of Hormonal Weight Gain
Here are some signs that indicate a need to see an endocrinologist.
- Unexplained or unexpected weight gain, especially if it occurs rapidly, despite a healthy diet and regular exercise
- Fatigue, despite enough sleep
- Mood changes or feelings of depression
- Changes in body fat distribution, such as increased abdominal or visceral fat
- Dry skin or skin texture changes
- excessive hair growth (hirsutism)
- An increased appetite
- irregular periods
- Heavy or painful periods
- declining estrogen levels, often due to menopause
What Endocrine Conditions Cause Weight Gain?
Endocrine disorders can affect weight management when glands make too much or too little hormones. Here are some common disorders.
Hypothyroidism slows down metabolism, causing weight gain. The underactive thyroid gland produces fewer hormones, burning fewer calories and making it easier to gain weight, even with a consistent diet.
Hypothyroidism-related weight gain is typically due to salt and water retention, not excess fat. Modest changes of 5-10 pounds may occur, depending on the condition’s severity. However, treatment usually results in less than 10% body weight loss.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can cause weight gain due to insulin resistance. It results in higher levels of insulin in the body. Insulin usually regulates blood sugar levels and promotes fat storage. So, when insulin levels are high, it can lead to weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area.
Besides, type 2 diabetes affects metabolism, appetite, and fat storage. It can also make you feel hungrier and crave more food, leading to overeating and further weight gain.
Also, Type 2 diabetes is linked to hormonal disorders like hypothyroidism and PCOS, which may cause weight gain.
Weight gain during menopause can occur for several reasons. Lower estrogen levels, muscle loss due to aging, and lifestyle habits like diet and lack of exercise contribute. After menopause, lower estrogen levels can cause fat to accumulate around the waist instead of the hips and thighs.
Menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, poor sleep, or low mood can make it harder to stay active and eat healthily, leading to weight gain. As the body’s estrogen levels decrease during menopause, it can affect hunger and fullness signals, leading to weight gain.
Cushing’s disease can cause rapid weight gain. It is primarily related to the effects of excess cortisol on appetite, fat storage, and metabolism.
High cortisol levels increase appetite and promote fat storage, especially in the abdomen, leading to fatty humps and thighs. Cortisol can also cause insulin resistance, leading to obesity.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
High androgen levels can lead to increased fat accumulation in the abdomen, leading to central obesity. It can also cause symptoms like body hair growth, acne, irregular periods, etc.
Insulin resistance for PCOS can also lead to increased hunger and cravings. It can make you eat more, resulting in weight gain.
Some genetic conditions can cause weight gain. Changes in a single gene or mutations in multiple genes can lead to severe obesity, while syndromic obesity involves severe obesity and other traits.
These genetic causes of obesity impact the endocrine system, causing hormonal imbalances and metabolic changes, which can contribute to weight gain.
Some genetic conditions that may cause endocrine weight gain include-
- Prader-Willi syndrome – insatiable hunger and a slowed metabolism
- Cohen syndrome – an autosomal recessive disorder
- Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome – a genetic disorder
- OBHD syndrome – a rare neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by global developmental delay and hyperphagia
What Will the Endocrinologist Do: Diagnosis And Treatments
Endocrinologists typically use diagnostic testing, targeted treatment, and support for lifestyle changes to address weight gain effectively.
Endocrinologists diagnose weight gain through history, physical exam, evaluation of symptoms, and lab tests based on symptoms and risk factors. They may also conduct a panel of hormonal tests to determine if any hormonal imbalances could contribute to the weight gain.
If they suspect conditions like hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, or PCOS, specific tests are conducted.
For example- doctors test TSH levels to diagnose hypothyroidism and measure cortisol levels to check for conditions like Cushing’s syndrome. They may also measure androgen, estrogen, and progesterone levels, especially if someone has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Endocrinologists can help identify hormonal imbalances and develop a treatment plan. The plan may include hormone replacement therapy, medication, treating underlying conditions, or other interventions. Their target is to regulate hormone levels and speed up metabolism, which can aid in weight loss.
They may also prescribe weight loss medications, such as phentermine and Contrave. These medications work by suppressing appetite, stimulating metabolism, or making it more difficult for the body to absorb fat from food.
Usually, most endocrinologists recommend lifestyle changes, like a healthy diet, exercise, and stress management, to help with weight loss.
Can an endocrinologist help me gain weight?
Yes, an endocrinologist can help you gain weight if you are underweight or lose weight due to hormonal imbalance. They treat hormonal issues to restore balance, often involving lifestyle changes and exercise.
What hormone causes weight gain in females?
Several hormones may cause weight gain in females. These include estrogen, androgens, insulin, cortisol, Neuropeptide Y (NPY), growth hormones, and thyroid hormone.
The answer lies in your symptoms if you are still debating when to see an endocrinologist for weight gain. See an endocrinologist if you’re gaining weight rapidly despite a healthy diet and exercise. They can identify hormonal imbalances and suggest lifestyle changes or medications to manage obesity.
Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy, LA, for a holistic approach to regulating hormones and managing weight issues. Contact them today to get started on your journey towards better health.