Hormonal belly is a term that refers to the accumulation of fat in the abdominal area as a result of hormone imbalances.

Hormones are the chemical messengers used by the body, travel through the bloodstream to tissues or organs, and work slowly over time, according to the National Library of Medicine in the United States.

Hormones affect different processes, including:

  • Growth
  • Metabolism: The means by which your body gets energy from the foods you eat.
  • Sexual function
  • Mood

Hormones are made through special groups of cells, the endocrine glands, including the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands, and pancreas. In addition, men produce hormones in the testicles, and women produce them in the ovaries.

Hormones are powerful, requiring only a small amount to cause significant changes in cells or even the whole body. That is why too much or too little of a particular hormone can be dangerous.

What hormones affect belly fat?

Thyroid hormones

The thyroid gland secretes hormones that help control metabolism, and as a result, these hormones affect every organ in the body, according to Medical News Today.

Hypothyroidism, or underactiveness, is a condition that occurs when this gland doesn't produce enough hormones, causing many bodily functions to slow down.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes, Gastroenterology and Nephrology in the United States (NIDDK), a common symptom of hypothyroidism is weight gain, often centered around the abdomen.

The American Thyroid Association notes that weight gain may not necessarily be due to fat accumulation, but may be due to the accumulation of salt and water.

Treatment of belly fat caused by hypothyroidism: Your doctor may prescribe levothyroxine, a medicine that mimics normal thyroid hormones. If this is the cause, a person can be expected to lose less than 10% of their body weight because most of the excess weight caused by hypothyroidism is the accumulation of salt and water.

However, once a person's thyroid levels are in the typical range, their ability to gain and lose weight is the same as those without hypothyroidism.


Cortisol helps the body manage stress and plays a key role in the fight-or-flight response. When a person feels anxious or stressed, the body often transitions into survival mode.

When this happens, the adrenal glands produce more cortisol, which stimulates the body to store more fat. The body often redistributes this fat to the stomach, chest and face.

However, if the body continues to produce high levels of cortisol for a long time, it can lead to more serious conditions, such as Cushing's syndrome, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Cushing's syndrome can be very serious, and its symptoms include:

  • Fat combines between the shoulders
  • Increased fat around the base of a person's neck
  • We transform the legs and arms
  • Easy exposure to bruising
  • Muscle weakness

Some medications, especially glycocorticoids, may cause Cushing's disease, and pituitary tumors can also cause this disease.

Treatment of abdominal fat caused by cortisol: depends on the cause. If a person has Cushing's syndrome, treatment may include changing medications or surgery to remove the tumor.

However, if cortisol levels increase due to stress, a person can try some natural ways to reduce it, such as relaxation techniques.


Fat cells secrete a hormone called leptin. Leptin targets nerve cells in the brain, especially the hypothalamus, and leads to feelings of satiety.

Leptin levels in the body are related to the amount of fat stored by the body, and when there are higher levels of the hormone the brain realizes that the person has stored enough fat, which leads to a feeling of satiety after eating.

Overweight sufferers tend to have too much fat in the body's cells and high levels of leptin. In theory, the brain should know that the body has stored enough energy.

However, if the signals between the leptin and the brain don't work, leptin resistance can occur.

Doctors don't fully understand the causes of leptin resistance, although genetic mutations and changes in brain chemistry may play a role.

Treatment of abdominal fat caused by leptin: Some research suggests that inflammation may cause leptin resistance, so doctors may recommend lifestyle modifications to reduce inflammation, such as exercising or eating an anti-inflammatory diet.

However, research on leptin resistance is relatively new, so there is no specific treatment.

Low testosterone levels:

Testosterone is the most important male sex hormone, and is also produced by females, it helps to identify typical masculine characteristics such as body hair and face, and promotes muscle growth in both sexes.

Testosterone levels decline with male age, and deficiency can lead to stunted muscle growth and weight gain.

One study found that 30% of obese men had low testosterone levels.

Testosterone deficiency may be caused by certain medical conditions, and it may also occur due to damage or removal of the testicles. Other causes can include infections, autoimmune conditions, chemotherapy and pituitary disease.

Symptoms of testosterone deficiency include:

  • Weight gain
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Body hair loss
  • pooping
  • Depression
  • Decreased libido
  • Loss of muscle mass

To treat belly fat caused by low testosterone levels, your doctor may prescribe testosterone supplements or recommend lifestyle changes such as more exercise and a low-calorie diet.

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Also known as polycystic ovaries, it is common, affecting about one in 10 females of childbearing age.

Females with PCOS may have higher levels of male androgens or hormones, and higher levels of insulin, a hormone that influences how the body converts food into energy.

As a result, a woman may gain weight, especially around the abdomen.

Other symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Irregular menstruation
  • Acne
  • Thinning hair

To treat belly fat caused by polycystic ovary syndrome, hormonal birth control methods may help in females who don't want to get pregnant. Medications, such as metformin, may reduce insulin resistance.

Treatment can also be obtained through dietary changes, especially eliminating foods that cause high blood sugar.


When a woman enters menopause, estrogen levels drop, and this can lead to increased belly fat.

To treat belly fat in this case, you can use hormone replacement or exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.

Menstrual fluid retention

Some women retain fluids during their period, and this can cause bloating, especially in the stomach, and temporary weight gain.

Treatment for this goes through changes in diet, such as reducing processed carbohydrates and sodium, drinking enough water, and exercising.

How do I know if I have a hormonal belly?

Signs that weight gain due to hormonal factors include:

  • Timing, for example if it occurs around the time of your period or during menopause.
  • Weight gain that occurs precisely around the abdomen.
  • Other symptoms can indicate an underlying condition, such as hair loss or fatigue.