Hormones and Weight Gain
By Randi Morse
As women grow older they often find that they are gaining weight. This comes as no surprise. Changing estrogen levels can severely impact the amount of weight a woman puts on. Women who are going through menopause often find that they have a very difficult time losing weight, but a very easy time gaining it. How connected are our hormones to weight gain?
Estrogen and Estradiol
Hormones are directly connected to how much a person weighs, especially in the case of women. There is a form of estrogen in a woman's body called estradiol. Estradiol is naturally produced by the endocrine glands and helps to regulate metabolism. The level of estradiol in a woman's body decreases when she begins to go through menopause. This can lead to weight gain and a difficulty with weight loss. Women who have a shortage of estradiol often find that the weight they're gaining settles in their mid-section and abdomen, which is known as visceral fat.
Another reason why a woman may have low levels of estradiol is due to a condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a condition that is known for hormonal imbalances. Some women with PCOS have higher testosterone levels or an imbalance between the progesterone and the estrogen levels in their body. Women who have PCOS often struggle with weight gain and weight loss which is likely linked to lower levels of estradiol.
Fighting Weight Gain
Maintaining a healthy weight is important, especially as you get older. While having lower levels of estradiol makes it more difficult to lose weight, there are things that you can do to help keep your weight at a healthy level. Staying active is very important, not only to help you keep the weight off but also to help keep your muscles and body strong. If you find that you are gaining weight easily, a lifestyle change is a great idea. Avoid eating processed foods and up your intake of fruits and vegetables. Cut sugary drinks, like soda and juice, out of your diet, and make sure you eat plenty of lean proteins.
Dealing with low levels of estradiol can be very frustrating, but changing up your diet and exercise routine to account for your body's change can be a huge help toward staying healthy.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Huntington Beach, Calif.