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I’m on hormone replacement therapy. Is there anything I should be aware of?

There’s two types of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), synthetic and bio-identical, and they are slightly different. The synthetic hormones bind to the estrogen and progesterone receptors more strongly in some tissues and more weakly in others. They’re not exactly equivalent to natural estrogen and progesterone in the human body. So their effects can vary with different women. 

The research on HRT suggests that they may have a slight weight-gain effect. However, they also seem to have a waist-slimming effect. That means women who are on HRT tend to maintain their hourglass shape a little bit better, but might end up getting a little heavier in the process. This is largely related to the fact that HRT will raise metabolic rate, which most people think is a good thing, but the metabolism compensates and can cause some women to eat more. 

If you are on HRT, you can be happy with the idea that you’re more likely to maintain your hourglass shape. You’ll also probably have less signs and symptoms of menopause. But you have to be even more diligent with your diet than other people will need to be. Watch out for hidden increases in caloric consumption—particularly carbs—because this is bound to send SHMEC out of check and stall your fat loss attempts. 

Dr. Jade’s bias is toward bio-identical hormone replacement, because they are bio-identical, and so behave the same as the estrogen and progesterone you make in your own body. The problem is that most prescription bio-identical hormones don’t cycle like they do in a normally menstruating woman. The result is that you don’t get the same results as you do with your naturally occurring hormones that fluctuate month to month. But they can definitely help for some, are better than synthetics (in Dr. Jade’s opinion), and are nothing to be afraid of if your doctor recommends them. Just pay careful attention to SHMEC, follow the program, and you will be fine.

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