Susan Merenstein, Pharmacist/Owner

(412) 586-4678

The Hidden Truth About Weight Gain

Many of us know that maintaining an ideal weight is difficult despite all the best efforts with diet and exercise. What most don't know is that an undetected hormone imbalance can be the hidden culprit sabotaging your hard work to stay slim.

What's the Connection?

Hormones are key players in regulating weight, metabolism, blood sugar, insulin, and when and where the body stores fat. As we age, shifting hormones complicated by stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, etc., trigger numerous symptoms of imbalance - including unexplained weight gain. The good news is that there is a simple, at-home test that can identify whether you're one of the thousands effected.

Hormone Triggers to Weight Gain

Women with a hidden hormone imbalance often can't lose weight as easily as they have in the past. Or they now have immovable belly fat they never had before. Weight gain caused by hormone imbalances can occur at any age. In younger (premenopausal) women 20 to 30 years-old, irregular cycles, or lack of ovulation lead to imbalances and premenstrual weight gain, fluid retention, and sugar cravings made worse by stress, yo-yo diets, birth control, etc. In midlife (perimenopausal) women 40 to 50 years-old experience a "roller coaster" of symptoms including weight gain, and belly fat caused by fluctuating hormone levels in the years leading to menopause. In menopause (women of 50+ years) without ovulation, progesterone production plummets. This created a surplus of estrogen - a condition of estrogen dominance - that promotes weight gain in the hips and thighs, water retention, and a sluggish metabolism. Postmenopausal women often mark the end of periods with the beginning of their real struggles with weight.

Men with a hormone imbalance often notice that body fat is taking the place of lean muscle as testosterone and DHEA levels decline around age 40. The more pounds gained, the more testosterone turns into estrogen in fat cells, with further drops in metabolism.

Related imbalances of cortisol and insulin in both sexes can impair thyroid function and raise risks for metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Hormone imbalances that impact weight:


  • weight gain in hips and thighs
  • water retention
  • low thyroid
  • sluggish metabolism


  • decreased lean muscle/increased body fat
  • decreased metabolic rate
  • abdominal obesity


  • belly fat
  • increased appetite
  • sugar cravings
  • impaired thyroid and metabolism

Vitamin D3 deficiency:

  • hyperinsulinemia
  • belly (visceral) fat storage

TSH elevated:

  • hypothyroidism
  • low metabolic rate
  • obesity

Fasting Insulin:

  • insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome
  • abdominal obesity


  • predictive of type 2 diabetes

Vital Health Pharmacist has a great Weight Management At-Home Test Kit you can use to reveal whether hormones are silently sabotaging your weight loss efforts, and pinpoint hormone imbalances that contribute to unexplained weight gain.