Hormones and Obesity

A hormone is a chemical messenger that helps the body to function optimally. To date, over 50 hormones have been identified, each playing an important role in our bodily processes. Although most people realize their importance, many people who struggle with obesity may be surprised to learn that hormones play a significant role in their weight gain and loss

Obesity is a complex and multifactorial medical condition characterized by an excess accumulation of body fat (adipose tissue) that can lead to serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Imbalances in key hormones like estrogen, insulin, leptin, ghrelin, and cortisol can cause weight gain. And in some cases, it can be extremely difficult to counter these problems through diet and exercise alone. 

At Southern Nevada Bariatrics, board-certified bariatric surgeon Mustafa Ahmed, MD, helps his patients reach their weight-loss goals through personalized weight management plans. These plans may include bariatric surgery such as sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass, as well as comprehensive hormone, nutrition, and lifestyle guidance.

Dr. Ahmed specializes in helping patients manage their weight through surgical and non-surgical treatments. If you are struggling with obesity, consider scheduling a consultation at his Las Vegas office by calling (702) 626-0499. Alternatively, you can fill out a form on our website for more details. Dr. Ahmed can evaluate your hormone levels and provide individualized treatment recommendations to help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Hormones & Endocrine Disorders

Hormones are responsible for regulating bodily functions such as metabolism, growth and development, mood, and reproduction. They are produced by various glands in the body, including the pancreas, thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands (the endocrine system). And, when these vital facets of our endocrine system are not balanced, or if they are affected by stress or a medical condition, weight gain is a common result. (1)

Several endocrine conditions can affect weight, including the following:

  • Diabetes – Diabetes is a medical condition characterized by high blood sugar levels that is thought to affect roughly 34 million Americans. (2) It is often linked to weight gain, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. This chronic condition affects how your body processes glucose, the primary source of energy for your cells. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t effectively use it.
  • Hypothyroidism – Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones to meet the body’s needs. The thyroid gland, located in the neck, plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate. When it doesn’t function properly, it can lead to a wide range of symptoms, including weight gain.
  • Cushing’s Disease – This rare but serious condition is caused by the overproduction of cortisol, a hormone with multiple regulatory roles. The symptoms of Cushing’s disease include weight gain, particularly around the face and abdomen, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, and mood swings.
  • Hypogonadism – Hypogonadism is a medical condition that affects the reproductive system, resulting in decreased production of sex hormones. Decreased testosterone levels in men can cause weight increases. Patients with a hypogonadism diagnosis may benefit from hormone therapy.

Find out more about Medical Weight Loss on the Southern Nevada Bariatrics website.

Which Hormones Affect Weight?

While diet and lifestyle choices play a significant role in the development of obesity, hormones also have a profound impact on our weight. Several hormones are involved in body weight regulation, including the following.


Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone. Obesity and estrogen have a complex relationship that affects many aspects of our health. Adipose tissue produces estrogen in both men and women. In obese individuals, adipose tissue mass increases, leading to higher levels of circulating estrogen. This hormonal imbalance can cause insulin resistance, which impairs glucose uptake, contributing to type 2 diabetes. (3)

Higher levels of estrogen can lead to leptin resistance, a hormone that regulates appetite and body weight. The combination of leptin resistance and insulin resistance can lead to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease.


Insulin plays a crucial role in the development of obesity and related metabolic disorders. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreatic beta cells that regulate glucose metabolism in the body. When insulin resistance occurs, the body’s cells become less sensitive to insulin, causing an increase in blood glucose levels. This leads to hyperinsulinemia, further contributing to obesity and other metabolic disturbances.


Leptin is a peptide hormone that plays a key role in appetite control and weight regulation. Produced by adipose tissue, it is responsible for signaling to the brain when the body has had enough to eat. This promotes satiety and regulates energy expenditure. (4) However, in cases of obesity, this signaling system can become disrupted, leading to leptin resistance and a breakdown in appetite control.


Like leptin, ghrelin is a hormone that plays a significant role in regulating appetite. It is known as the “hunger hormone” because its levels increase when the stomach is empty, which signals the brain to stimulate hunger and increase food intake. This hormone also affects metabolism by increasing fat storage and reducing fat burning.

Studies have shown that ghrelin levels are higher in obese individuals than in those with a healthy weight. These elevated levels of ghrelin may contribute to increased food intake and decreased energy expenditure, leading to an increase in weight.


Also known as the “stress hormone”, cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Its primary function is to increase blood sugar levels which provides energy for the body to respond to stressors. Chronic stress can lead to elevated cortisol levels, which can contribute to weight gain and obesity.

Hormone Therapy

Hormonal imbalance can cause a wide range of issues, including weight gain. Hormone therapy is a treatment that involves the use of external hormones to regulate and balance natural hormone levels in the body. This therapy can include various types of hormone replacement treatments including:

  • Estrogen Therapy
  • Testosterone Therapy
  • Progesterone Therapy
  • Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
  • Growth Hormone Therapy

Data indicates that hormone therapy is effective in aiding weight loss by regulating metabolism and decreasing appetite. It can also improve energy levels, mood, and overall well-being. 

To discuss hormone regulation for weight management with Dr. Ahmed, call (702) 626-0499 or complete our simple inquiry form for more details.

Bariatric Procedures

If other methods have failed to produce results, bariatric surgery may be a solution for your weight management issues. Dr. Ahmed offers both sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass surgeries for such situations.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomy, also known as gastric sleeve surgery, is a permanent weight loss treatment that involves reducing the size of the stomach. During the procedure, Dr. Ahmed removes a portion of the stomach, creating a smaller “sleeve” shaped stomach. This restricts the amount of food an individual can eat, leading to weight loss. The procedure is performed laparoscopically, which means small incisions are made in the abdomen, allowing for a quicker recovery time.

Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass, also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is a surgical procedure that involves making significant changes to the stomach and small intestine to limit the amount of food that can be consumed and absorbed by the body. It is an effective treatment for obesity and has been shown to improve or resolve many weight-related health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. 

Like sleeve gastrectomy, it is not a quick fix or a cosmetic procedure. Patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery must commit to making permanent lifestyle changes, including adopting a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity, to achieve and maintain long-term weight loss.

Personal Consultation

At Southern Nevada Bariatrics, we understand that weight loss can be a challenging journey. That’s why we offer comprehensive consultations to ensure you receive the best care possible. Dr. Ahmed is an experienced surgeon who specializes in gastric bypass surgery, and he will work closely with you to determine if this procedure is the right choice for your needs.

During your consultation, Dr. Ahmed will conduct a full medical assessment to evaluate your overall health and any underlying conditions that may affect your eligibility for surgery. He will also discuss your weight loss goals and expectations, as well as your lifestyle habits and dietary preferences. This information will help him develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your unique weight management needs.

How Much is Gastric Bypass Surgery in Las Vegas?

Our goal is to provide you with comprehensive information and treatment that addresses all aspects of your health and weight-related wellness. To schedule your appointment with Dr. Ahmed at our Las Vegas location, please call us at (702) 626-0499 or send us an online inquiry to learn more about our services.

Read Dr. Ahmed’s blog for further details about weight management surgery at Southern Nevada Bariatrics.


  1. Ylli D, Sidhu S, Parikh T, Burman KD. Endocrine Changes in Obesity. PubMed. Published 2000. Accessed June 22, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279053/#:~:text=Obesity%20in%20both%20men%20and 
  2. Singer ME, Dorrance KA, Oxenreiter MM, Yan KR, Close KL. The type 2 diabetes “modern preventable pandemic” and replicable lessons from the COVID-19 crisis. Preventive Medicine Reports. 2022;25:101636. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2021.101636
  3. Kuryłowicz A. Estrogens in Adipose Tissue Physiology and Obesity-Related Dysfunction. Biomedicines. 2023;11(3):690. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ 
  4. Dornbush S, Aeddula NR. Physiology, Leptin. PubMed. Published 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537038/ 
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