Tamoxifen & Weight Gain

pamomof2
pamomof2 Member Posts: 15
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Does anyone or has anyone out there experienced weight gain after being on Tamoxifen? My surgeon repeatedly has stated that there is no connection. I have had steady weight gain and don't know whether to blame it on my metabolism, or a combination of that and having 2 c-sections, a hystectomy and partial mastectomy. I have been on two different types of anti-depressants for hot flashes which haven't worked so now I'm just "sweating them out". I weigh about 15 lbs. more now than I did when I gave birth to my last child. Help ! I want to lose weight and be able to play with my kids. Email me [email protected].

Comments

  • krisrey
    krisrey Member Posts: 194
    Hi pamomof2,
    I was also very worried about weight gain from tamoxifen. In fact, before I started taking it I posted many questions here on this board. What I found out is that like anything else on this journey, it all depends on the individual. What I questioned is that if there is weight gain, what does it stem from, eating more, slow metabolism, water retention? I mean there has to be a reason, so I thought. I called the ACS and spoke to a nurse who set the question to a researcher. The researcher called me back and said recent studies showed that women on tamoxifen and women not on tamoxifen, had the same amount of weight gain. So even though everything I have read for side effects about tamoxifen includes weight gain, I guess we need to look deeper into the WHY..because if we new why, then maybe we could manage it better.
    For example, cutting back on salt intake, eating healthier, getting more exercise.
    I have been lucky I have not put on any weight, but I have only been on it for 3 months. I am very concious of my weight, as I am a personal trainer so taking tamoxifen for me was very scary and I have a tendency to obsess about my weight.
    Do you get any exercise now? If so, how much do you do? Here is my email if you would like to email [email protected]
    Take care and hope to hear from you.
    Kris
  • SCmom
    SCmom Member Posts: 46
    I just started taking Tamoxifen 6 weeks ago and I too have gained weight. I've noticed that I am having a "sweet" craving that I've NEVER had before. I also know that my nerves are about shot. Do you have problems with mood swings? My family is ready to go away!!! Laura
  • terryI
    terryI Member Posts: 43
    Hi,
    Just wanted to let you know that I have recently started taking tamoxifen and went for a check up on friday and gain 2 pounds. When asking my doctor he told me this is normal. I would love to start a diet now so this does not get out of hand. I can sympathize with you and wish you luck hope it helps to know those of us on tamoxifen have the same problems.
    God Bless and Hugs, Terry
  • inkblot
    inkblot Member Posts: 698 Member
    Hi Pamomof2:

    I don't take Tamox. but have two friends who have each been on it almost 2 years. One gained 12 pounds after the first 10 months on it. She began Weight Watchers and that has worked for her but if she stops going, the weight begins to come back pretty quickly. The other friend is very active and she chooses to just live with the weight she has gained as she was fairly thin before. Her gain of about 15 pounds, seems to be largely in her tummy area. As as aside re Tamox.: One friend has lots of hot flashes and the other has none at all, so it really does seem to be an individual response, depending upon our particular biologly.

    Momof2 (SC): Re the cravings for sweets: When we become postmenopausal we often need supplemental Magnesium. (It can be taken easily in a preparation which also contains Calcium in a 2:1 ratio) Some people find that it also helps them to sleep better when taken about a half hour before bedtime. Chocolates are loaded with Magnesium, so when we're a bit low in our systems, it may just be Mother Nature's way of helping us to get more of it. Just something for
    consideration and/or to discuss with your doctor's...particularly the gynecologist as they're usually knowledgeable re Magnesium/menopause.

    Good luck!

    Love, light and laughter,
    Ink
  • DeeNY711
    DeeNY711 Member Posts: 476 Member
    inkblot said:

    Hi Pamomof2:

    I don't take Tamox. but have two friends who have each been on it almost 2 years. One gained 12 pounds after the first 10 months on it. She began Weight Watchers and that has worked for her but if she stops going, the weight begins to come back pretty quickly. The other friend is very active and she chooses to just live with the weight she has gained as she was fairly thin before. Her gain of about 15 pounds, seems to be largely in her tummy area. As as aside re Tamox.: One friend has lots of hot flashes and the other has none at all, so it really does seem to be an individual response, depending upon our particular biologly.

    Momof2 (SC): Re the cravings for sweets: When we become postmenopausal we often need supplemental Magnesium. (It can be taken easily in a preparation which also contains Calcium in a 2:1 ratio) Some people find that it also helps them to sleep better when taken about a half hour before bedtime. Chocolates are loaded with Magnesium, so when we're a bit low in our systems, it may just be Mother Nature's way of helping us to get more of it. Just something for
    consideration and/or to discuss with your doctor's...particularly the gynecologist as they're usually knowledgeable re Magnesium/menopause.

    Good luck!

    Love, light and laughter,
    Ink

    Thank you for the wonderful news about chocolate! Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
  • jeancmici
    jeancmici Member Posts: 665 Member
    DeeNY711 said:

    Thank you for the wonderful news about chocolate! Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    Nobody should worry about weight gain with tamoxifen. I gained about 10 lbs. but when i got mets, lost 20 lbs. with no trouble at all.In fact, an overlooked clue was a loss of 8 lbs. in aug 03 when I was not dieting.
  • lucy
    lucy Member Posts: 157
    I too have gained about 10 lbs on tamoxifen, and worry about it all the time. I also have constant pain in the muscle of my leg from the knee cap down. It always feels like I was running a marathon race, and wonder if that is from the tamoxifen. I only have a year and a half to go on the tamoxifen, and can't wait.
    God Bless, Lucy
  • cindidyke
    cindidyke Member Posts: 1
    I recently completed 5 yrs of tamoxifen. There was a rapid weight gain for the first 6 mos which startled me so I began to really pay attention to my diet to curb the rapid gain. (Before the cancer experience my weight stayed exactly the same year after year regardless of diet or exercise.) I ended up gaining 6 lbs a year for the 5 yrs I was on tamoxifen for a grand total of 30 unwanted lbs I am now having trouble losing. With everything else, this extra weight is just awful. My guess is that this has been a metabolism issue steming from the menopause, but it is just my best guess. I had heard from others that tamoxifen was an appetite enhancer so I really tried to watch my diet pretty closely for the 5 years. Many of the women in a former support group were convinced that their weight gains were because of their tomaxifen and many of them were quite overweight.
    Their experience helped me to stay commited to limiting my food intake and staying active to minimize the weight gain.
    What types of anti-depressants were you taking for the hot flashes? I have been taking effexor with limited results, but I don't like the other side effects.
    Don't get discouraged! We are all hanging in there together and it helps just to know there are others who understand the daily struggles and really care. Let us know how you are doing. Cindi
  • granjan
    granjan Member Posts: 2
    krisrey said:

    Hi pamomof2,
    I was also very worried about weight gain from tamoxifen. In fact, before I started taking it I posted many questions here on this board. What I found out is that like anything else on this journey, it all depends on the individual. What I questioned is that if there is weight gain, what does it stem from, eating more, slow metabolism, water retention? I mean there has to be a reason, so I thought. I called the ACS and spoke to a nurse who set the question to a researcher. The researcher called me back and said recent studies showed that women on tamoxifen and women not on tamoxifen, had the same amount of weight gain. So even though everything I have read for side effects about tamoxifen includes weight gain, I guess we need to look deeper into the WHY..because if we new why, then maybe we could manage it better.
    For example, cutting back on salt intake, eating healthier, getting more exercise.
    I have been lucky I have not put on any weight, but I have only been on it for 3 months. I am very concious of my weight, as I am a personal trainer so taking tamoxifen for me was very scary and I have a tendency to obsess about my weight.
    Do you get any exercise now? If so, how much do you do? Here is my email if you would like to email [email protected]
    Take care and hope to hear from you.
    Kris

    the first time I had breast cancer and a lumpectomy I was able to take tamoxifen for three years but I was becoming bolemic and was advised to stop. That was in 1991. After five years I thought I was 'safe' In 1999 I was diagnosed again and after a partial masectomy, chemo, radiation etc I was put on tamoxifen again.
    I didn't lose 'all my hair' during chemo - but it started to drop out about two years into tamoxifen. My nails started to disintegrate I had also put on about 25lbs. I was taken off the drug and now although I feel better - I feel like I am flying without a net so to speak and I don't know what to do ??
  • wingingit
    wingingit Member Posts: 48
    I had put on several pounds while I was on chemo during which time I went into menopause. I will say that I did not hold back on comforting myself with food during that time! I am ER/PR+ and went on Tamoxifen about a year ago. Although I did not gain any additional weight I found that cutting back on calories was not enough to lose. I questioned both my gynecologist and PCP (both women) about it and they both thought it was the effect of Tamoxifen. One of them thought that maybe after a year or so the effects would level out and I might then be able to lose weight.

    For the last several weeks I have been on a low-fat diet, reduced my consumption of refined sugars, including my intake of processed foods, and stepped up my exercise a notch. I have lost about 7 pounds. I think this could be a good thing for me since I am estrogen positive, and fats and sugars (both insulin-producing) create estrogen. I will question my oncologist about it although he generally seems more concerned about the big picture. Of course, if there is any chance that healthier eating and weight loss can prevent recurrence, then I am all for it!
  • gloami
    gloami Member Posts: 4
    I have not put on weight and I've been taking Tamoxifen since Sept., 2002. What I am concerned about is whether or not the drug works! I had a small rare breast cancer removed, clean margins, no lymph node involvement and recently I had a biopsy because of "suspicious calcifications"...I'm waiting for the results today. I'm praying that the calcifications are benign -- due to the radiation treatment -- and all is well. Please note that prior to being diagnosed with Tubular Breast Cancer, I ate a lot of fiber and also, exercised, ate healthy, and was about 115 lbs. I'm still about 115 lbs..... Best of luck to you. I pray Tamoxifen works!
  • Snookums
    Snookums Member Posts: 148
    inkblot said:

    Hi Pamomof2:

    I don't take Tamox. but have two friends who have each been on it almost 2 years. One gained 12 pounds after the first 10 months on it. She began Weight Watchers and that has worked for her but if she stops going, the weight begins to come back pretty quickly. The other friend is very active and she chooses to just live with the weight she has gained as she was fairly thin before. Her gain of about 15 pounds, seems to be largely in her tummy area. As as aside re Tamox.: One friend has lots of hot flashes and the other has none at all, so it really does seem to be an individual response, depending upon our particular biologly.

    Momof2 (SC): Re the cravings for sweets: When we become postmenopausal we often need supplemental Magnesium. (It can be taken easily in a preparation which also contains Calcium in a 2:1 ratio) Some people find that it also helps them to sleep better when taken about a half hour before bedtime. Chocolates are loaded with Magnesium, so when we're a bit low in our systems, it may just be Mother Nature's way of helping us to get more of it. Just something for
    consideration and/or to discuss with your doctor's...particularly the gynecologist as they're usually knowledgeable re Magnesium/menopause.

    Good luck!

    Love, light and laughter,
    Ink

    When I first met with my oncologist he told me that breast cancer is the only cancer that you gain weight instead of losing it in the treatments. I found that during chemo I had to eat what I could and that posed some small gain but now post chemo my metabolism is so slow because of meno pause brought on by chemo and maintained with tamoxifen. I honestly, feel it isn't the tamox but a combo of little exercise due to recon and such and slower metab. I have been released to go back to Jazzercise so in a couple of weeks I will let you know if I begin losing because I am watching my diet. Candy
  • pamomof2
    pamomof2 Member Posts: 15
    cindidyke said:

    I recently completed 5 yrs of tamoxifen. There was a rapid weight gain for the first 6 mos which startled me so I began to really pay attention to my diet to curb the rapid gain. (Before the cancer experience my weight stayed exactly the same year after year regardless of diet or exercise.) I ended up gaining 6 lbs a year for the 5 yrs I was on tamoxifen for a grand total of 30 unwanted lbs I am now having trouble losing. With everything else, this extra weight is just awful. My guess is that this has been a metabolism issue steming from the menopause, but it is just my best guess. I had heard from others that tamoxifen was an appetite enhancer so I really tried to watch my diet pretty closely for the 5 years. Many of the women in a former support group were convinced that their weight gains were because of their tomaxifen and many of them were quite overweight.
    Their experience helped me to stay commited to limiting my food intake and staying active to minimize the weight gain.
    What types of anti-depressants were you taking for the hot flashes? I have been taking effexor with limited results, but I don't like the other side effects.
    Don't get discouraged! We are all hanging in there together and it helps just to know there are others who understand the daily struggles and really care. Let us know how you are doing. Cindi

    cindi: I took Effexor which sent my blood pressure soaring a couple times (and I always have great blood pressure), and I've taken Celexa. Neither has worked. The effexor took care of the night sweats, but that was all. I was prescribed Bellargell sp? which is an older med used for hot flashes in older women, but I haven't started it yet. My mother in law who is an RN read up on the side effects and I think I'll just "sweat it out" !