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Hormonal Belly Fat: What It Is and How to Get Rid of It

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Originally published February 22, 2022. Last updated March 11, 2024.

Updated March 5, 2024. Originally published February 22, 2022.

Many people experience hormonal belly fat, and understanding its symptoms and causes can help you burn it off. Sometimes, hormones can be the culprit for excess belly fat. As we age or experience lifestyle changes, our hormone levels can fluctuate due to several factors, such as menopause or increased stress levels, resulting in a hormonal belly.

Fortunately, many tips and treatment options are available to help you get your hormones in check and lose hormonal body fat to achieve your ideal body weight.

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What Is Hormonal Belly Fat?

Hormonal belly fat is lower abdominal weight gain that occurs when our hormones are out of balance. Hormones are responsible for regulating many bodily functions, including metabolism, hunger, reproductive functions and sex drive. An imbalance of hormones, where certain hormones are too low or too high, can lead to excessive weight gain in the lower abdomen.

Signs You Have Hormonal Belly Fat

Several factors can cause belly fat, including gender, age, dietary habits, amount of physical exercise and hormonal misfiring. So, how can you tell if hormones are the cause of your abdominal weight gain? While you can look out for some signs, it’s important to discuss any of your questions with a doctor to identify the root cause. Sometimes, it’s not always obvious and can vary from person to person.

Here are a few warning signs and symptoms you can look out for to help identify the cause of your belly fat:

  • You’re constantly stressed or anxiousIf you work in a stressful environment or are currently experiencing a stressful event in life, your body could be producing higher cortisol levels. Over time, it will use cortisol to manage stress, which can signal to your body to store more fat — causing weight gain in the abdominal region.
  • You’re losing hair: If you are experiencing an increased rate of hair loss along with more belly fat, your hormones could be to blame. Many hormones can cause hair loss, including underactive thyroid hormones, which help manage energy and metabolism. Inadequate levels of thyroid hormones can also result in hair loss, fatigue, constipation and weight gain. If you are experiencing both hair loss and weight gain, an underactive thyroid could be the culprit.
  • You’re experiencing new cravingsNew cravings, especially those for sugary goods, could signal that hormones are to blame for your increased weight gain. A constant sweet tooth could mean that your body is struggling with insulin resistance, which causes your body to store more fat. Elevated insulin levels can also cause increased amounts of the hormone leptin, which gives you a feeling of fullness after eating. Combined with insulin resistance, these increased hormones can cause you to eat more sugary foods — resulting in lower belly weight gain over time.

Causes of Hormonal Belly Fat

Some of the most common causes of hormonal belly fat for women include:

Causes of hormonal belly fat

  • Menopause: Menopause causes a significant change in hormone levels. It impacts most women after age 45 when the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone. Many studies reveal a link between menopause and weight gain, where declining levels of estrogen can result in excess abdominal fat. And since menopause occurs later in life, our age and changes in diet and exercise can also lead to increased weight gain in women at this time.
  • Slow thyroid: Our thyroid is responsible for releasing hormones that control our metabolism. Hyperthyroidism occurs when our body doesn’t produce enough hormones to meet our needs, causing many of the body’s functions to slow down, including the process of burning energy from the food we eat. An underactive thyroid can, as a result, cause our body to burn energy from the food we eat at a slower rate, resulting in weight gain in the lower abdomen.
  • Increased or imbalanced cortisol levels: As mentioned, cortisol is the hormone that helps our body manage and respond to stress. When stressed, our adrenal glands produce more cortisol, sending signals to the body to store more fat. When dealing with high levels of stress or anxiety, increased amounts of cortisol can lead to excess belly fat and weight gain.
  • Insulin resistance: Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. It is activated when we eat, allowing glucose to enter our cells and provide energy to the body. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels. If your cells become resistant to insulin, they can’t store glucose like they should, resulting in high blood sugar and affecting how your body stores fat. When this occurs, it can signal to the body to store more fat, especially around the abdomen.
  • High leptin: High levels of the hormone leptin are also associated with increased weight gain in the lower belly. Leptin is the hormone that signals to the brain that we are full after eating. People with obesity have higher leptin levels that can bombard the brain, confusing it so it no longer responds to leptin signals. Over time, this can make you no longer feel full after eating, causing excess hunger, eating and weight gain.

How to Get Rid of Hormonal Belly Fat

With today’s modern lifestyle, hormone imbalances are becoming increasingly common due to stress and other factors. Fortunately, you can make some lifestyle adjustments to your everyday routine to help get your hormones back on track and get rid of hormonal belly fat. Here are some top tips for how to reduce belly fat and combat hormonal misfiring.

How to get rid of hormonal belly fat

Nutritious Diet

Protein influences many hormones that control your appetite and the amount of food you eat. Making sure you include high-protein foods in your diet can help you avoid overeating. Other nutritious foods for hormonal belly fat include:

  • Whole grains.
  • Fresh fruits.
  • Vegetables.
  • Lean meats.
  • Fatty fish.

Sugary foods that contain fructose increase insulin levels and promote insulin resistance, so avoiding these foods may be instrumental in getting your hormones on the right track. It’s also essential to avoid processed fatty foods and excessive caffeine intake to get rid of your hormonal belly.

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Regular Exercise

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should aim for 150 minutes of weekly, moderate-intensity activity, as well as two days of muscle-strengthening activity for optimal body function. Exercise is excellent for keeping your hormones in check. If you’re searching for tips on how to lose hormonal fat, exercise is the perfect opportunity to burn belly fat and calories.

Alternative Hormonal Belly Fat Treatments

Hormonal belly fat is common for many people, and it can be tricky to burn off that excess belly fat. Fortunately, some treatment options can also help with this process, including:

  • Thyroid hormone replacement therapy: Thyroid hormones are a common cause of hormonal imbalances that cause weight gain in the abdominal area. At Synergy Wellness, we offer thyroid hormone replacement therapy, which includes replacing your thyroid hormone with more youthful or active levels. Thyroid hormone replacement is an excellent option to help get those hormones back on track, helping you lose that pesky lower belly fat*.
  • Body shaping procedures: We also offer several body shaping procedures designed to help you achieve your ideal body image and weight. At Synergy Wellness, we are dedicated to providing you with advanced and affordable body shaping and fat removal techniques designed especially for your body and goals. We can help you achieve excellent results and experience a new boost of self-confidence*.

Contact Synergy Wellness to Schedule a Medical Weight Loss Consultation

At Synergy Wellness, we understand that hormones and belly fat sometimes go hand in hand. We can help you treat and reset your hormones to help you start losing hormonal weight*. We offer personalized weight loss plans designed especially for you and your needs to help you live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you lose hormonal belly fat.

*Disclaimer: Weight loss results vary and are not guaranteed.

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About the Author:

President, Medical Director: Jan Trobisch, MD

Dr. Jan Trobisch graduated from the esteemed Freie Universität Berlin in 1999 and completed his residency training in Internal Medicine at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, California, by 2004. After his residency, Dr. Trobisch worked as a hospitalist and served as an attending physician for the residency program. He founded Synergy Wellness Center in 2009.

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