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Does Medication Actually Help Eliminate Midlife Weight Gain

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Managing midlife weight gain can feel like an uphill battle. You’ve probably tried diet changes, exercise, and yet, the stubborn pounds won’t budge, making you question if there’s another solution for this predicament.

Could medication be the proverbial silver bullet to this widespread issue? It’s crucial to wade carefully through these waters, understanding the benefits and possible risks, before making the best decision for you and your long-term health.

Dr. Gala’s Quick Take

No, medication does not typically and totally eliminate midlife weight gain. It may assist in managing symptoms or related conditions, but lifestyle changes like diet and exercise are more effective for controlling weight gain during midlife.

Questions to Ask About Meds When You’re Dealing with Menopausal Weight Gain

examining if medications can remedy midlife weight gain.

If you’re struggling with menopausal weight gain, it’s crucial to have a heart-to-heart with your healthcare provider about medication options. They may help with weight loss while jeopardizing your long-term health and negatively impacting your finances.

This isn’t just about shedding pounds … it’s about reclaiming your power and taking control of your body during this transformative phase of life.

Asking questions about meds is a vital step. Don’t be shy. Ask about weight-promoting medications and their potential side effects. How will they interact with your current medication regimen? What lifestyle changes should accompany medication use? Will the medication impact other menopause symptoms? And what are the long-term effects on your metabolism?

List of Weight Loss Drugs and Their Risks

weight loss drugs on scales and measuring tape

Navigating the world of weight loss drugs, like Ozempic and Semaglutide, can be tricky, considering the potential risks such as an increase in BMI and waist circumference. It’s crucial for you to understand that while these drugs might promise swift results, they could also lead to unexpected consequences.

Imagine working hard to conquer midlife weight gain, only to find your waistline expanding. Taking these drugs, particularly alongside others like antidepressants or insulin, could make your health struggles worse. It also becomes harder to unravel as you combine medications.

Discontinuation of these weight loss drugs can also lead to weight gain. It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s an unfortunate reality for many. It’s important to approach this with a clear and powerful mindset. You have the ability to make informed decisions about your health. You shouldn’t compromise your health just to fit into your favorite jeans.

In the face of these risks, your strength and determination can shine. It’s not about the quick fix, but the long-term, sustainable changes you can make for your health.

Here’s a list of common weight loss drugs and their side effects:

Semaglutide (Wegovy, Ozempic)

Wegovy is a form of semaglutide that you start slowly and increase over 16 to 20 weeks to help your body adjust, reducing the risk of side effects, which can include:

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Ozempic follows the same treatment plan but is typically used for type 2 diabetes management.

Tirzepatide (Zepbound, Mounjaro)

Tirzepatide, also known in the diabetes community as Mounjaro, is now also used under the brand Zepbound to tackle obesity. It works by dulling your appetite and should be used alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise. Some of the things you might experience with it include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Reactions at the injection site

Liraglutide (Saxenda)

Saxenda influences the gut hormones that signal to your brain that you’re full. While it helps in reducing your food intake, it comes with a list of possible side effects:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea, constipation
  • Headaches, dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort

This medication isn’t suited for everyone, especially if there’s a family history of thyroid cancer.

Phentermine (Adipex, Suprenza)

Phentermine has been around for a while and is often used to kick-start a weight loss plan. However, it can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Feelings of overstimulation
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep issues
  • Heart palpitations

Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia)

Combining phentermine with topiramate can be effective but also ups the ante on side effects, including:

  • Weird sensations
  • Taste changes
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth

It’s best avoided if you have serious health issues like heart disease or glaucoma.

Naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave)

Contrave mixes an opioid blocker with an antidepressant, influencing brain areas linked to satisfaction and hunger. It’s not without its downsides, though:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Dry mouth

Definitely a no-go if you have epilepsy or are on opioid medication.

Can Hormone Therapy Prevent Weight Gain?

pills and injections as a form for hormone therapy

You might be wondering if hormone therapy can be your secret weapon in preventing weight gain. The truth is … it’s a complex issue.

Hormone therapy isn’t a magical pill to prevent weight gain any more than other medications … especially for women in midlife and dealing with menopause.

Hormone therapy can, in fact, redistribute fat from the midsection to other areas. While this isn’t weight … or even fat … loss, it could help you feel more confident in your appearance. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some women experience bloating in the midsection because of hormone therapy, which can feel like weight gain.

Start with time-restricted eating along with a high-quality diet full of nutritious foods and regular exercise. This is a sustainable strategy to manage your weight.

Life isn’t about finding quick fixes, it’s about creating sustainable habits that make us feel great.

Midlife Weight Gain Can Be Caused By Prescription Medications

the risks of prescription medication for midlife weight gain

In the journey of midlife changes, it’s crucial to know that certain prescription medications, like antidepressants, beta-blockers, insulin, and glucocorticosteroids, can tip the scale and lead to weight gain. Weight loss medications can cause weight gain, especially when you’re combining antidepressants and beta-blockers.

As you can see, it’s important to make informed decisions about your health. Always ask your healthcare provider about the potential side effects and weight gain percentages of prescribed medications. You’ve got the right to know, and they’ve got the responsibility to inform.

Lifestyle changes should be adopted first, for at least 3 months, before starting on weight management medications. It’s time to take charge of your health. Don’t let prescription medications dictate your midlife journey.

Hormonal Fluctuations Aren’t the Only Force Driving Weight Gain

While hormonal fluctuations are a common culprit for midlife weight gain, they’re not the only force at play. As I’ve just explained, certain medications can also tip the scales in the wrong direction. And during the menopause transition, some medications for chronic diseases can lead to an increase in weight and waist circumference … even if that wasn’t happening prior to menopause.

Now, you might be thinking, “Isn’t weight gain just part of midlife?” Sure, some weight gain can be expected, primarily due to hormonal fluctuations.

Speaking from my own experience, this is a challenge that is common but can be managed. As I moved through my 40s, I started to accumulate fat. I hadn’t gained a lot of weight, but my body fat percentage had increased significantly.

My body had become noticeably unresponsive. I would comment that I felt like the “Pillsbury Dough Girl.” The routines and strategies that used to work for me no longer had any effect.

So, trust me when I tell you that crazy diets, intense exercise, supplements … and especially medication … aren’t going to get you where you want to go.

Been there and done ALL THAT!

This can be particularly disheartening and zap your motivation when nothing you try seems to work. You’re not powerless. You can counteract these midlife forces.

As a reminder, if you’re taking multiple drugs, the impact can be even more significant. And, any attempt to discontinue use of a prescription medication should be closely monitored by the prescribing doctor.

Key Takeaways

  • Medications for menopausal weight gain should only be considered after evaluating potential side effects, interactions with current medications, and necessary lifestyle changes.
  • Risks and considerations of weight loss drugs Tirzepatide and Semaglutide include a potential increase in BMI and waist circumference, as well as the impact of combining them with other medications.
  • Hormone therapy is not a magical solution for preventing weight gain, but it can redistribute fat from the midsection. It should be combined with a high-quality nutrient-dense diet and regular exercise for weight management.
  • Certain prescription medications can lead to weight gain, including antidepressants, beta-blockers, insulin, and glucocorticosteroids. Alternative diet and lifestyle changes should be explored before starting weight management medications.

Conclusion

Don’t let menopausal weight gain get you down. Medication is not your only option.

Explore all avenues, and make the decision that’s right for you. It’s your body, your health, your journey. You’ve got this!

“If you came into my office, I’d ask you a lot of questions that would help us connect the dots … so that together we can deal with your toxic stress. Every situation is unique and you need a plan that works for you. Not a one-size-fits-all solution.

If you’re thinking you can’t come into my office, don’t worry. I’ve created a program with all of my initial recommendations to help you unravel the mystery. You can use it at home and at your convenience.

So if you’re thinking that managing chronic stress just isn’t possible … or even the answer … for you, I want to show you what you may be missing. And how you can identify the toxic stressors that are creating your symptoms with my Human Energy System Reboot. You can get started HERE.” – Dr. Gala


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About the author 

Dr. Gala

Dr. Gala Gorman is a licensed Acupuncturist, Naturopath, and Author who offers practical advice and programs for women who are experiencing health issues resulting from chronic stress.

She helps women intentionally reset their human energy system. This relieves their symptoms and restores their energy so that they can reclaim their "Super Woman" status.

Dr. Gala advocates for getting to the root cause of the health issue and treating it naturally. She encourages women to be their own health advocates. In her latest book, "What's Your Kryptonite?" readers learn to become their own PCP - Primary Care Person!

She uses advanced techniques including her MOLT Method™ to initiate an intentional reset. Molting ... or resetting … are critical processes for rejuvenation, growth, and adaptation in both the natural world and for all systems ... including the human body.

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