How Hormones Affect Weight

Have you tried everything you know to do to lose weight without success?

Weight loss can often feel like an uphill battle, but if you have been consistently eating a healthy diet and exercising, you should start to see results after several weeks. However, if you’ve been doing your part to lose weight, but you still aren’t seeing any results, it might mean that there is an underlying issue that is preventing you from losing weight, such as a hormonal imbalance.

The endocrine system is a vast, complicated system, and the hormones it produces control everything from hair growth to mood. When something is out of whack with your hormones, it can create all kinds of problems in your body. There are several hormones that can play a part in your weight, including weight gain and the ability to lose weight. The three most common hormonal imbalances that can hinder weight loss include thyroid hormone, sex hormone and stress hormone imbalances.

Thyroid Hormone

A thyroid hormone deficiency, called hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid, can lead to a decrease in the metabolism and is most commonly seen in women. Hypothyroidism can caused by many things, from a lack of iodine in the diet to some medications to surgery.

The Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:

  • Menstrual cycle changes
  • Constipation
  • Hair Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Intolerance to the cold
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty losing weight

How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?

Hypothyroidism is diagnosed through a blood test. The most common blood test for diagnosing hypothyroidism is designed to measure the presence of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), but you can get a more accurate diagnosis with a blood test that measures the levels of the actual thyroid hormone in the blood.

How is hypothyroidism treated?

The most common treatment for hypothyroidism is hormone replacement therapy through a thyroid hormone pill. Regular blood tests are required to monitor thyroid hormone levels once treatment has started.

Sex Hormones

Women

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – Some women suffer from PCOS, which is an endocrine disorder that elevates both insulation and testosterone levels. In addition to weight gain, PCOS can also cause infertility, menstrual disorders, acne and male pattern hair growth (most commonly facial hair).

Menopause – When a woman reaches menopause, her estrogen levels drop off dramatically, and weight gain is often a side effect and is most commonly found around the gut. Since estrogen assists in creating feminine curves, weight gain after menopause is often not as femininely proportioned as weight gain prior to menopause.

Low Estrogen – Some women experience low estrogen long before they reach menopause. The effects of low estrogen are the same, regardless of whether the low estrogen levels were caused by menopause or something else.

Men

Low Testosterone – As men age, testosterone levels can start to diminish, and this is called andropause. Not all men experience andropause, but for those who do, weight gain is a common side effect, and it is typically centered around the gut.

How are sex hormone imbalances treated?

Although lifestyle changes can help to diminish some of the effects of an imbalance in sex hormones, many people have found relief through hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement therapy treats more than just the symptoms; it attacks the problem at its root. If you do decide to choose hormone replacement therapy, make sure that you choose bioidentical hormones rather than synthetic ones.

Bioidentical hormones are not made in a lab, and their molecular structure is much closer to the structure of the hormones that naturally occur in your body. This makes is easier for your body to accept and use these hormones.



Stress Hormone

When you are stressed, the stress hormone, cortisol, is released. In the short-term, a little cortisol in your blood stream can be healthy, but if cortisol levels are elevated for a prolonged period of time, it can have consequences. When your cortisol levels are elevated, it actually increases your appetite, and if they are elevated for too long, this increase in appetite can cause weight gain.

What causes elevated cortisol levels?

Chronic Stress – Chronic stress is the main cause of elevated cortisol levels, which is why learning how to cope with your stress is so essential for your health. Whether you do yoga, get a massage or simply vent to your friends and family, it’s important to figure out ways to lower the stress in your life.

Sleep Deprivation – In addition to stress, sleep deprivation can also cause an increase in cortisol levels. Practicing good sleep hygiene (i.e. turning off the TV before bed, going to bed at the same time every night, etc.) can help you sleep better at night.

Cortisone – Cortisone is an oral medication that is used to treat many different disorders, including arthritis, skin conditions and breathing disorders, but long-term use can lead to weight gain. Unfortunately, if you need cortisol, you can’t simply stop taking it, but you could talk to your doctor about adjusting your dose.

Cushing’s Syndrome – Cushing’s Syndrome is a specific kind of tumor that increases the production of cortisol, and it should be addressed by a doctor.

Don’t let your hormones prevent you from reaching your goals!

Nothing is more frustrating than doing everything in your power to lose weight, only to be thwarted by your hormones. At Rejuvime Medical, we offer bioidentical hormone therapy in Baton Rouge, and while we can’t help you treat cortisol or thyroid hormone imbalances, we can help you find a solution to testosterone and estrogen imbalances. Schedule a consultation to find out if hormone replacement therapy is the right option for you.

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