Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can cause changes in weight, but the effects vary greatly between individuals. There are several factors that influence whether someone gains, loses, or maintains their weight on HRT:
- Type of hormones used - Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and other hormones can impact weight differently. Estrogen may contribute to fat redistribution to hips/thighs and development of breast tissue. Testosterone may increase muscle mass. Progesterone effects are more complex.
- Dosage - Higher doses, especially early in transition, may cause more significant weight fluctuations up or down. Finding an optimal dosage is key for stabilization.
- Route of administration - Oral, transdermal patches/gels, and injections absorb differently and have different metabolic effects. Patches and injections tend to provide more stable levels.
- Individual biology - Genetics, age, lifestyle, diet, exercise, and starting weight affect how body composition changes on HRT. People respond uniquely.
- Stage of transition - First 6-12 months sees the most drastic body changes. Weight often stabilizes after this time.
Here are some trends doctors observe regarding HRT and weight:
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- Many transgender women lose some muscle mass and gain fat tissue on estrogen therapy, resulting in modest weight gain on average
- Some transgender men gain significant muscle and lose fat on testosterone, leading to mild weight loss on average
- Hormone therapy does not directly make someone gain or lose excessive weight independently
- Nutrition and exercise remain important for controlling unexpected weight fluctuations
- Working closely with your doctor to adjust HRT dosing helps stabilize weight long-term
has helped over 5,000 transgender and non-binary people transition safely while achieving their body goals. Our world-class endocrinologists monitor weight changes due to hormone therapy and make dosage adjustments as needed. We also offer nutritional counseling and fitness services to complement your transition. Contact us for a free consultation!
Managing expectations around weight changes is important when beginning HRT. Our bodies react uniquely to hormone adjustments. Try to be patient and focus on healthy lifestyle habits, not the number on the scale. Over time, an appropriate HRT regimen can help transgender individuals feel at home in their bodies without significant weight gain or loss. Work closely with an experienced professional to develop realistic goals and a customized transition plan just for you. We are here to support you each step of the way!