Weight Gain with Tamoxifen

Can anyone help with weight gain issues with Tamoxifen ? i started taking this drug December 2014 after my surgery and radiotheraphy . I don't want to stop taking it as i think its a life saver but need tips on weight loss so i can move forward and gain more confidence . Don't get me wrong i am not vain in any way and if it means me being over weight but alive then i choose being overweight but surely there is a happy medium out there. I cope just with the hot sweats so to eliminate one issue would be good . I have recently started walking at the weekends which is good for body and mind . To do any more serious exercise is not an option at the moment as i am still in pain and discomfort from the surgery and radiotheraphy changes so any movement if you know what i mean gives me more pain . Any suggestions ? I am Type 2 diabetic so weight gain is no good for that either .

22 Replies

  • I gained 2 stone on tamoxifen and couldn't shift it. I was on tamoxifen for 4 years and came off it this Easter as too many side effects. Already my water retention has gone and the sharp pains I used to get. My horrendous hot flushes are now manageable. Sorry it sounds gloom and doom, but I hated it. Good luck with your journey.

  • Thanks for reply ..glad to hear you have got through the tamoxifen battle ..stay well.very best wishes.

  • Hi Louise

    I started tamoxifen in April and am coping with the flushes although they're not pleasant. I had read about weight gain and, because I put weight on during chemo and was overweight to start with, I joined weight watchers just to keep some control of my weight. Tamoxifen, from what I've been told, doesn't make you gain weight as such, but increases your appetite which then means you gain weight. I have managed to lose almost a stone since finishing chemo. I do walk regularly and do a bit of jogging but I keep an eye on my weight and try to stick to the WW eating plan. I'm hoping to lose weight steadily. It is do-able. Good luck!

  • Thank you ...didn't realise it increased your appetite so that new information.one of my diabetic drug that they put me on this year on top of the metformin does that so a double whammy. So I understand better now. Appreciate your reply ...stay well and very best wishes

  • Hi. Still having pain problems this long after surgery and radiotherapy treatment you probably need to ask for a physiotherapy referral. Tamoxifen slows down your metabolism so you need to increase your output and reduce your intake of calories, I have done this by cutting out carbs during the week and having them only at weekends and I exercise every week day through walking at pace, Pilates and Macmillan Cancer Rehabilitation programme, which is a physical fitness group specifically for people like you and me. Weight loss is definitely slower but it can be done and try cutting out caffeine and alcohol to help reduce sweats.

    Good luck x

  • That's great advice . I am learning so much today already and it gives me an extra push knowing it can be done . I will try the carb thing as well.I will look into that Macmillan program also ..stay well and once again thank you..😊

  • Hang on in there Louise, it can be done slowly but surely! Aim for losing 2lbs a week, which soon adds up to half a stone a month, you will get there. I've lost 8 kgs since my surgery in February and had loads of setbacks with Seroma and infection and now need more surgery as the cavity is not healing so need debridement and a drain inserted. I've broken my own rules on food now and again, that's life and reality but the trick is to accept that and just get straight back on it again. You can do it so you go for it!


  • Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. It really does help.I agree slowly slowly is the best way . It's hard at work when I sit there and every one seems to be talking how much weight they are losing and saying how many sins are in each food they put in there mouths .it can be quite depressing .I need to ignore them and do my own thing. They don't have cancer and medication related issues so they haven't got a clue . You take care and stay well. Unless you are a member of the cancer club no one wanted to join people don't understand although some try..very best wishes..just had weetabix and strawberries ...

  • Hi Louise.

    i have been on here this week already moaning about tamoxifen making me too 'wide awakey' at night. and have got some great advice.

    2 years ago i joined slimming world and lost piles of weight and was delighted with my new self.... then found a lump and everything got put on hold while i went through .. well you know all about it...

    between stress and comfort eating and chemo and steroids and post surgery sitting about, i piled all the weight back on and after chemo, felt lumpy, bloated and miserable, so was determined that i was gonna go back to slimming world and start again and get back that feeling of 'super model-ness' that i had attained last year! :) ...

    one thing i will say about the slimming world (and probably weight watchers is much the same)... you eat a good diet, you're allowed spuds and pasta etc and all veg and fruit but you keep mostly to your 'free' foods and crap and treats are 'synned' so that you keep them to a minimum..you find new ways to enjoy the treats you love, and it really does work.. i have lost 2 stone again so i'm well on the way and am delighted, the tamoxifen is not gonna win that one...

    but a happy side effect that i have noticed big time, is that the hot flushes(power surges, tropical moments) are very managable and only mild if i am being good... if i am being naughty, then every extra coffee, sugary treet, glass of wine, or spicy take away will bring on a couple of unwelcome sweats, so in a way it keeps me in check, and also keeping fit and walking or going to the gym is a massive help with both the weight loss and the hot flashes.. (and your state of mind)

    sorry. i'm rabbiting on... but i agree with previous posters, it's appetite and not actual weight gain from the tamoxifen. i was dreading going on it when i knew i had weight to lose as i had heard it was going to make things very hard, but that has turned out to be not the case.

    It's not easy when you already have other issues, but i guarantee that if you get the better of a few pounds, which is the hardest part then you'll start to feel much better and the knock on effect of knowing you have control over at least something in your life is a wonderful feeling.

    xxxxx gracie

  • Love the attitude Gracie. Thank you for all the advice .all this does help .I am new to this forum as I am not on any social media so I am getting great help. Thanks for taking time to reply. I want to get back to me 😊

  • I know exactly how you feel regarding the weight!! I've been on tamoxifen 18 months and gained quite a bit of weight for me and I really don't like it. I keep telling myself well at least I'm still here to complain but it does get me down. Re the exercise with being diabetic as well it would be good to probably try to do a little more. It may be an idea to see if there is a physiotherapist I'm your area who could help you with an exercise program to follow and also work through the pain you get. I appreciate its painful but unfortunately you may have to work through that to help stretch the area that's causing the pain. Good luck with it all xx

  • Thank you appreciate the help and advice. Trying not to get down about the weight as in the big scheme of it it wasted time but it does at times .stressing about my latest mammogram pending results as well hopefully get them and move on .it's been tough six months got results that it hadn't spread to neck and throat so that's good .need to move on so I can concentrate on losing weight just a stone will please me and keep it off .but people have been great on this forum .Love the Haven especially Hereford they helped me a lot. Hey no pain no gain ..I have a high pain threshold so willing to try anything..stay well. Take care

  • You're welcome and I'm pleased to hear it's not spread. I'm the same I try not to let it get me down but at times I can't help it. I've gone being a size 8-10 to a 12-14 and keep trying to tell myself that as long as I keep myself fit and healthy then that's all I can do.

    It is lovely to have found this forum and realise that what is happening to you is also being experienced by others. Take care and good luck xx

  • Is taking Arimidex an option instead? I have swapped between Tamoxifen and this throughout my treatment due to bone pain. Maybe it will help with weight gain issue. Worth asking.

  • Oh food for thought ..Will look into that thank you ..Take care x

  • Hi there. I am 5 years into 10 years of Tamoxiden- yep it's pretty nasty drug to be ion but like you I see it as a life saver! I put on weight in early years and still get hot flushes and bloating and mood swings. Exercise and diet got my weight back under control - reduced sugar and carbs . I walk everywhere . If you want to lose weight get into river dipping and swimming it's fabulous and you burn calories like no ones business ! Besides skinny dipping is just so exhilarating and liberating - good for body image too

  • Wow good on you ..as you say good for body image as well. Hot sweats in this heat are almost unbearable. Only getting a couple hours of sleep.people think I am being miserable wanting cooler times but let them try it for a while. I deal with the moods ok but not the flushes .I have a fan on my desk on the go all day on top of the air conditioning.I have heard acupuncture can help .stay well and take care

  • I have a lot of post mastectomy pain - and have finished radiotherapy and chemo. And I am now on letrozole which is giving me joint pain and also still on Herceptin.

    I found moving about in a hydrotherapy pool brilliant - it allowed me to open up and relax miuscles that were very tight from stress and grief at the whole nightmare. These pools are often run by disability organisations and most are on to the public for some of the time. Also physiotherapy has been very helpful with post mastectomy issues...

    And now I have graduated to Aqua fit classes for older people. Apart from being great fun, they are a great way to exercise w no strain on your joints.

    Hope this helps...

  • it does indeed help ... many thanks - stay well .

  • I was on tamoxifen more than 5 years may be seven. Weight gain rose to 15st. i felt well on the drug...hot flushes I even had in teens...it was just part of me...I noticed nothing. It helped to keep me 25 years clear, but now with diabetis 2 but weight less. Cancer has returned so back to year zero. Surgery December, Chemo January just at the point you forgot those experiences. New drugs take time...even have problems with the diabetic meds, I think diabetic mood swings worse. Perserve it should improve.

  • Thank you for responding .I wish you all the very best .I know it's a great drug and at the end of the day what's a bit of weight gain compared to not taking it. On it for another 8 years all being well. You take care and if you need to talk we are here for you .none of us know what's round the corner but sometimes a little chat on this site goes a long way even just getting a hello how are you ..

  • I am just dabbling here but such a range of experiences some confuse me. Still on the rollercoaster towards the op, calling a halt to everything. if anyone wants a distraction from Cancer my artwork is on facebook, as botanical artist and also at times in facebook b a groups. BerylAProut. Enjoy!

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