Did you know, young women on regular junk food diets have a higher risk of developing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)? Eating junk food affects brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine. Consequently, the fat from junk food triggers the brain to want more food, an effect that can last up to several days. This unhealthy diet results in obesity, thus significantly increasing the risk of PCOS in adolescent girls. Is there a weight loss medication that can combat any previous weight gain?
Unfortunately, old habits die hard. Some women tend to carry on with their unhealthy diets and unconsciously adopt unhealthy lifestyles throughout their adulthood. Such unhealthy lifestyles include lack of proper sleep, not exercising, after-dinner treats, and drinking alcohol. Typically, the resulting factor is weight gain and obesity.
This article sheds light on weight gain in women, particularly over 50 years of age, and how to manage it medically.
What is Weight-Loss medication and how does it work?
For most women, once you clock 50, eating the right foods for your health and weight becomes a priority. Normally, the practical way to stay healthy and lose weight is through physical exercise. However, if working out isn’t effective in shedding off the pounds, consider consulting a doctor for medical assistance. There is a medical solution for you – weight loss medication.
Weight-loss medications are prescriptions with pharmacological agents to treat obesity and control weight. They influence the human body’s fundamental processes by altering the absorption of calories, appetite, and food cravings.
Nonetheless, what you need to understand is weight loss drugs are used in addition to a healthy diet and exercise. These pharmaceuticals are not for everyone. According to medical guidelines, a doctor only prescribes medication for weight loss if:
- You qualify as obese (your BMI is 30 or higher)
- Your weight gain is causing health conditions like heart disease or high blood pressure
Common Weight-Loss Medications:
1. Orlistat (Xenical)
This prescribed pharmaceutical works in your gut by blocking your body from absorbing about a third of the fat you eat. Ensure you are on a low-fat diet before taking Orlistat. It is also advisable to take a multivitamin pill daily to supplement your body with vitamins not absorbed from the foods you eat.
Xenical can also be obtained without a prescription, in half a dose known as Alli. Although this drug is approved for long-term use, common side effects include passing gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pains.
2. Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia)
This is a combination of two medications, Phentermine which reduces your appetite, and Topiramate, which treats migraine headaches and seizures. As a result, you feel less hungry, or it makes you feel full sooner.
Common side effects include dizziness, trouble sleeping, tingling in the hands and feet, dry mouth, and constipation. Please note that Phentermine is only approved for short-term use (a few weeks).
3. Naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave)
This is a blend of two medications Naltrexone which treats alcohol and drug dependence, and Bupropion which treats depression or helps people quit smoking. Like Phentermine-topiramate, this drug curbs your appetite.
Common mild side effects include insomnia, vomiting, diarrhea, dry mouth, dizziness, headache, while serious side effects include liver damage and increased heart rate.
Contrave is approved for long-term use. However, if you don’t lose at least five percent of your weight in 12 weeks, the doctor may advise against taking it since it will most likely not work for you.
4. Liraglutide (Saxenda)
This weight loss medication is available by injection only. Saxenda works by mimicking your intestinal hormones to tell your body that your stomach is full, thus suppressing your appetite. It is also available at a lower dose, under the name Victoza, which is also FDA approved to treat Type 2 diabetes.
Common side effects include diarrhea, rapid pulse, constipation, headache, and abdominal pain, with a severe side effect of increasing your chance of developing pancreatitis.
Although it is approved for long-term use, if you don’t lose four percent of your weight within 16 weeks of prescription, it is highly unlikely to work for you.
5. Other medications
Other medications to curb your appetite include Benzphetamine, Diethylpropion, and Phendimetrazine. They all work by tricking your brain into thinking that your stomach is full.
Common side effects include dizziness, headache, difficulty sleeping, restlessness, constipation, and increased blood pressure. As such, they are all approved by the FDA for short-term use (up to 12 weeks only).
Benefits of Weight Loss medication for women over 50
Research confirms that medication for weight loss aids in losing up to 10 percent of your starting body weight, thus helping women over 50 to deal with common health issues like lowering their blood pressure and blood sugar. Other benefits of weightloss drugs include:
- They work and give results faster than the slow change in lifestyle habits, which would only give you 3 to 7 percent weight loss in a year.
- Weight loss within a few weeks of medication acts as a motivator for shedding more pounds. You can do it!
- If adhered to strictly, a combination of healthy habits and diet medication gives relatively better weight loss results in a shorter period.
Some of the healthy habits to incorporate with your weight loss medication include:
- Calcium for the bone – Opt for dark greeny leaves and calcium supplements.
- Protein for healthy muscle mass – Go for eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, and beans.
- Vitamin B-12 for brain function – Drink plenty of water, eat fruits, fish, and whole grains.
- Stuff your sandwiches with veggies instead of slathering them with mayo.
Opting for medication for weight loss is a smart way out of your obesity. It will definitely help and motivate you to make the necessary lifestyle changes to improve your health.