Gaining Weight, Piling on Belly Fat and Losing Your Waistline?

It Could Be Your Hormones…!

You probably would agree that fat changes your shape. But did you know that weight gain isn’t always due to the foods you eat and how much you eat? It can be your hormones. And if hormones are the root cause of your weight gain, the specific glands involved in producing those hormones will distort your body in specific ways.

The four body types associated with glandular dysfunction are the Ovary Body Type, the Adrenal Body Type, the Thyroid Body Type and the Liver Body Type.

If you’re fighting a losing battle with weight gain and lamenting your accumulation of belly fat, this is important information.

When your glands aren’t working as they should, they’re likely telling you that you have an underlying health problem. All the dieting in the world won’t peel off the pounds. Neither will exercising to the point of exhaustion.

Your endocrine system and the hormones it produces can malfunction for a number of reasons. They can be assaulted by too much stress. They can be damaged by consuming too much sugar, eating a poor diet or starving yourself on low-calorie diets. They may also result from exposure to hormone-disrupting toxic chemicals, ageing, and menopause or andropause.

The only way to restore your body to its normal proportions is to restore your hormones to their proper functions.

Knowing your body type can help you understand which hormones may be involved.

The Ovary Body Type

Your two ovaries are glands on either side of your uterus that release oestrogen and progesterone. These two hormones control your sexual reproductive characteristics as well as the layer of fat you carry around your body.

For a variety of reasons, your oestrogen levels can become too high:

  1. Your ovaries may become dysfunctional and overproduce oestrogen.
  2. You’re probably exposed on a daily basis to a number of environmental chemicals called xenoestrogens ― fertilizers, plastics, food additives, household and personal care products, etc. These chemicals mimic your body’s naturally occurring oestrogen, act as endocrine disruptors and can dangerously increase your oestrogen levels.
  3. The correct ratio between oestrogen and progesterone can become unbalanced, with oestrogen becoming disproportionately high relative to progesterone. In fact, beginning at around age 35, progesterone declines 120 times faster than oestrogen.

Too much oestrogen and too little progesterone can result in a condition called oestrogen dominance. Oestrogen dominance increases the fat you produce and store, resulting in development of “saddlebag” hips and thighs, and a lower-abdomen pooch.

The Adrenal Body Type

Your adrenal glands sit atop your kidneys. It’s their responsibility to meet an increase in stress with a release of cortisol. This triggers your “fight-or-flight” response, which enables you to rise to the occasion and deal with danger or emergencies.

When they’re functioning well, the adrenals help keep your blood pressure and blood sugar in check, and stimulate production of needed energy. However, when stress continues unrelieved for long periods and becomes chronic, your adrenals just keep pumping out more and more cortisol.

All this excess cortisol causes progressive loss of muscle tissue and bone mass. It also causes redistribution of body fat, which builds up around your adrenal glands and vital central organs, adding inches to your mid-section (belly fat!).

It may also contribute to development of a “buffalo hump” on the upper back at the base of the neck, which adds years to your appearance.

Excessive cortisol is bad enough, but it also increases release of insulin, which is a fat-storage hormone. High insulin increases blood sugar to help you cope with stress, but when it’s too high, it increases your sugar cravings. And if you consume a diet high in sugar, flour and grains that break down into sugar, you will store even more fat.

The Thyroid Shape

The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is located in your neck, just below your voice box. The thyroid shape in women evolves from some of the same causes as the ovary shape ― primarily, from unbalanced oestrogen that becomes dominant.

Your thyroid hormones speed up your body’s metabolism, enabling production of energy in your cells, and promoting fat burning and weight loss. However, these hormones require adequate progesterone to carry it to specific hormone receptors so it can be used.

When oestrogen is dominant, progesterone is inadequate, not only to move thyroid hormones to receptor sites and enhance thyroid function but also to convert the T4 thyroid hormone to T3, which is the active form of the hormone.

With oestrogen dominance, the liver secretes a large volume of thyroid binding globulin ―
a protein that inhibits the thyroid hormone and decreases the amount that cells can take up and use.

Instead of your thyroid revving up, it slows down, causing fatigue, water retention and weight that refuses to come off. This is called hypothyroidism, which shows itself in a number of physical symptoms, including thinning outer eyebrows, ridged nails, saggy underarm skin and hair loss.

While adrenal weight gain tends to center in the midsection, weight gain due to hypothyroidism is distributed all over. This is because the thyroid controls metabolism in all the body’s cells.

The Liver Body Type

The liver has more than 500 functions, and it’s the body’s principal organ for detoxification. It filters out all the hormones, chemicals, bacteria and viruses that make their way into your body.

Over the years, however, the liver can become damaged and may not always succeed in filtering out toxins. Consequently, these unfriendly substances can be recirculated throughout your body.

This includes synthetic oestrogens from growth-promoting hormones given to animals used for meat, birth control pills, HRT (synthetic hormone replacement therapy), medications and environmental chemicals from pesticides, DDT, plastics, and household and personal-care products. These may build up in the body, contributing to further damage.

The result of liver damage is a pot belly and typically thin legs. Although the person may appear fat, they are not. The protruding abdomen is caused not by fat but by ascites ― a plasma-like fluid that leaks into a sac located above the intestines.

Are You Fated for Weight Gain in Mid-Life?

Many things can contribute to weight gain, but take heart! The redistribution of fat and added pounds that may result from unbalanced hormones during perimenopause and menopause isn’t inevitable.

A lot of women fear that taking hormones will cause them to gain weight. However, multiple clinical studies and scientific papers attest to the fact that bioidentical hormone restorative therapy, which restores diminishing hormones and brings them back into balance, does NOT cause weight gain.

In fact, taking bioidentical hormones increases the odds that you will resist weight gain.

One of the largest studies verified that none of the participants on hormones experienced weight gain. Another study found that post-menopausal women who chose not to take bioidentical hormones had higher percentages of body fat than those who did take hormones.

It is clear that when hormones become unbalanced and certain hormones reach excessive levels, women are at high risk of gaining weight. However, all the evidence tells us that bioidentical hormones ― which match the molecular structure of hormones made by your own body ― are a safe and effective antidote to that much-dreaded middle-age spread.

SOURCES:

Hormones and Weight Gain ― The True Role of Estrogen and Progesterone in the Process. Center for Holistic Health & Hormone Therapy

Hormones Not Only Affect Your Health, They Also Determine Your Body Shape. The Alternative Daily.

Luciani, J. The Four New Body Types. Shape.

Martin. Stress Results in Dangerous Cortisol Build-Up. Life Enthusiast. Aug. 31.

Vance, Mary. How Cortisol Makes You Fat. Mary Vance N.C.

Which Hormonal Body Type Are You? eMed.com.au.

How Hormones Can Affect Your Body Shape and the Nutritional Deficiency Connection. Perfect Patients.

Menopause and the mind

menopause-forgetfulness

Hormonal imbalances cause a whole host of unwelcome changes throughout the menopause. While the physical changes can have dramatic and often unexpected consequences, it is the cognitive effects of hormonal imbalance that can often prove the most disconcerting for women of a menopausal age.

This can take the form of anything from forgetfulness to fatigue – but there is an answer that naturally restores balance to your mind and body, without the concerning health risks of HRT, and that’s restorative medicine.    

So what are the potential psychological effects of the menopause if left untreated?

1. Anxiety

Reduced levels of oestrogens circulating in the bloodstream can cause intense anxiety during the menopause. A lack of these hormones causes irregular production of serotonin and dopamine – the neurotransmitters that control your emotions. This might cause you to experience an anxiety attack, or a series of attacks in succession that can then lead to depression if left unchecked.   

2. Mood swings

Mood swings are a fact of life for many, but can be greatly exacerbated by the hormonal imbalance that affects you during perimenopause and menopause. Even if triggered by something innocuous, the feeling is very real and can be debilitating. Again, this is caused by reduced oestrogens levels affecting neurotransmitters, but can also be worsened by other menopausal symptoms.   

3. Fatigue

The debilitating feeling of fatigue is a sure sign of hormonal imbalance. During perimenopause and menopause, your energy levels may drop, making you feel weak and listless – like a light has been switched off. A whole range of hormones are associated with fatigue: progesterone and oestrogens control mood and sexual desire, while the relation of cortisol levels to Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) can cause increased stress.

4. Foggy memory

You’ve probably heard of a ‘menopausal moment’, and while this falls some way short of a compassionate and supportive outlook, foggy memory is the reason this saying gained popularity. The signs can be subtle: you might start misplacing items, forgetting people’s birthdays or losing your train of thought. Whatever the signs, memory lapses are caused by a decline in oestrogens and the de-stabilisation of stress hormones.

5. Insomnia

Insomnia during the perimenopause and menopause is a vicious circle. Affecting women up to seven years before the menopause truly commences, insomnia is caused by hormonal imbalances – but sleep is the only process by which the hormones you need can be regenerated. Insomnia can have dramatic effects on daytime functionality, as well as raising the risk, in the long-term, of secondary health conditions such as heart disease.

Restorative medicine

How can it help?

Bioidentical Hormone Restorative Therapy not only helps you to regain your optimal hormonal composition, it also enables you to avoid the health risks associated with synthetic treatments.

Achieving this chemical balance helps to address all of the hormonal symptoms of the menopause, not just physical conditions like weight gain, hot flushes and a reduced immune system, but also cognitive faculties.  

What are the benefits over conventional treatment?

Bioidentical hormones are an exact match for compounds found within the body and so can be fully metabolised, but synthetic hormones are an alien chemical make-up that cannot be read, fully understood, used and excreted by the body. A whole series of studies have found that synthetic HRT compounds create an unacceptable risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease, as well as failing to work as effectively as restorative medicine.

While the maximum length of treatment for conventional HRT is just five years as a result of these risks, bioidentical hormones can be used for life with no secondary side effects. Synthetic hormones are designed by drug companies as a one-size-fits-all solution, but in contrast, restorative medicine is tailored by specialists to each individual’s hormonal composition, helping to restore the real you.

Find out how you can use restorative medicine to re-discover your balance and avoid any loss of control over your head space.

How restorative medicine can overcome migraines

Your body needs balance within its interlinking systems in order to function normally. If an imbalance occurs as a result of stressor factors (from emotional stress to the physical stress of poor diet or lifestyle), it can result in symptoms such as migraines.

Migraines can occur in young adults, adults and mature people, and can be very debilitating, with pain ranging from mild to severe, acute or even chronic, and with symptoms recurring in some cases for years.

But restorative medicine can help you regain your body’s natural balance, together with a whole host of other benefits for your overall health and wellbeing, including overcoming migraines.

What is the bodily imbalance which causes migraines?

Almost all your organs are controlled simultaneously by the two nervous systems: the sympathetic nervous system, which is an energy-giver that controls ‘fight or flight’ and stress reactions; and the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to calm your body back down and bring rest.

These in turn are influenced by four other systems: the neurohormonal system; the pineal gland (which balances production of the hormone melatonin and the neurotransmitter serotonin, both key to migraines); the digestive system; and the balance of magnesium ions (requiring a critical ratio of magnesium and calcium).

Migraines happen as a result of hormonal imbalance within the four subsystems, which then cause the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to go out of tune. This causes nerve endings in the nociceptive system (the brain sector that controls the feeling of pain) to become irritated, reducing your pain threshold and making you prone to migraines. When you restore balance to these critical systems, your nervous systems can in turn be harmonised and – hey presto – no more migraines!

It is worth noting that the searing pain of a migraine can also be an early indicator that the menopausal process has commenced (perimenopause), if you have not suffered from migraines previously. This is primarily due to the fluctuation of oestrogens and progesterone levels at this time; two important female hormones that have to remain within a specific ratio in order to maintain balance within the body.

How restorative medicine can get you migraine-free

As mentioned in Chapter 1 of ‘The Menopause Cure: Hormonal Health’, an effective and natural remedy based on restorative therapy and an enhanced lifestyle has been developed by Dr Dzugan, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of the Dzugan Institute of Restorative Medicine. Over 85% of his patients found complete relief of their migraine – even after 30 years of suffering. His cure also works to remove a host of other menopausal symptoms, improve quality of life and obtain positive longevity.

  • The migraine cure focuses on tweaking the four interlinked body systems, also adding lifestyle improvements to complete the cure.
    To tune up the neurohormonal and digestive systems, Dr Dzugan advises rebalancing specific hormonal levels using a bespoke bioidentical hormone restorative therapy programme, carefully tuned to each individual patient. Natural intestinal flora restoration and the cleansing of parasites is also paramount.
  • The pineal gland’s control of hormone and neurotransmitter production works on a natural cycle that needs to be re-set in order to restore balance.
  • Magnesium ion levels need to be tuned by balancing magnesium and calcium levels – both these critical minerals contribute towards migraines.

You can shake off the shackles of migraines by using bioidentical hormone restorative therapy in tandem with a healthy and balanced lifestyle. This requires a good diet, low stress and toxin levels, as well as an environment that is conducive to overall wellbeing.

Restorative medicine, when combined with a well-managed lifestyle, will not only remove debilitating migraines, it will correct menopausal symptoms, slow – and, in some cases, reverse – the ageing process, and help stave off chronic disease, letting you live life just the way you want to for a very long time!

Stress is a Major Ager!

Ageing is multifactorial*, and stress is included in this.

Stress is a ‘major ager’, it speeds up the ageing process – mind, body and spirit! It’s not important if it is emotional, mental, physiological, environmental or nutritional, or biological, they all lead to the same result – continual stress equals faster ageing and faster body breakdown.

Today, stress is everywhere, it is killing us. It starts in the morning with perhaps eating a rushed breakfast in the car on the way to work; to organising your day and how to fit your tasks into it; to disagreeing with a colleague or family member; to dealing with a bad driver on the roads – these are all stressors. Stress never stops!

Continual and unrelenting stress causes the stress hormone, cortisol, to rise. This creates a continual flow of cortisol in the bloodstream, which is highly destructive. This includes suppressed thyroid function which can cause blood sugar imbalances, which will lead to insulin resistance; impaired cognitive performance including concentration, memory, and problem solving; decrease in bone density and muscle tissue; high blood pressure which effect the function of the arteries; and increased abdominal fat which leads to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

Continual stress also degrades the immune system, our protector, leaving us wide open to such things as cancer and age-related, degenerative diseases. High stress levels also cause behavioral problems such as irritability, depression, unhappiness, or the opposite, extreme happiness, together with insomnia, and reduced mental and physical control.      

Think of it this way, any stressor will create a six hour shut-down of the immune system, when there are two or three stressors at a time whether it be, emotional, physical physiological, environmental, or nutritional, we get a twelve or eighteen hour shut-down. Bereavement can throw the whole body into total hormonal bewilderment for as much a six month.  

As we age our hormones decline, in menopause our sex hormones decline drastically over  a five year period, putting the body under an incredible and continual stress load. If we are already highly stressed and are also menopausal, our stress will be exacerbated because of this factor (and we definitely will not be sleeping).

How to control stress levels?

To remain, fit, healthy and youthfully active we need to ensure that we control our stress levels by doing such things as yoga, curling up with a good book, taking a hot bath, making time for sleep, sex, and for ourselves, meditation, massage, and exercise, but restorative doctors believe that stress control on a permanent basis is impossible ‘unless and until’ hormonal balance is restored.

*Multifactorial – involving or dependent on a number of factors, especially genetic or environmental factors.

 

My hot flush! Described by 5 real women.

Describing a hot flush as a ‘sensation of warmth’ just doesn’t cut the mustard, when we know there are woman utterly blindsided by their first attack.

You say hot flash, we say hot flush!

The standard description of the British hot flush is a sudden feeling of feverish heat. In the United States they are more commonly known as a hot flash and described as temporary but recurring episodes of flushing with a sensation of warmth or heat.

What we can all agree on, is for the 75% of women affected during the perimenopause, they can be deeply unsettling, distressing and, on occasion, make life darn near impossible. Women experiencing an abrupt decline in oestrogens often suffer the worst.

So, fans at the ready, we’ve scoured forums and the blogosphere to share the most descriptive accounts of a hot flush on the web. If you are going through hell with hot flushes you may find a little comfort in knowing you are not alone.

And for the lucky ones… read on and be better prepared to help; turn the heating down, keep a spare ice pack at home (and at work) and cover for your girlfriends when they need you too!

We’ve got your back! #WomenRock

Darcey Steinke on wanting to kill the menopause

“Hot flashes are inner apocalypses, singeing the body and the brain. During my first volcanic night sweat, a chaotic force moved through me. Heat rose, busting through the top of the thermometer, and swept through my body like the special effect I’d once seen on the set of a horror movie. Flames spread through a wire and rose up encircling a cabin. It was horrible, but also exquisite. Finally, I thought, God was going to communicate with me physically. Like a biblical character, I felt overwhelmed, scared, and sublime.”

Read the full article, What Menopause Taught Me, on NYMag.com for a wonderfully raw account with a surprisingly uplifting conclusion.

 Lesley Grant Timmins on threading a moving needle

“My first hot flush started with a chill, followed by a roaming band of heat that crawled up my legs to my back, all the way to my scalp. Soon I was drenched in sweat. Within the next few months the pattern took hold, repeating every half-hour to 45 minutes, interrupting every daytime activity and, worse, sleep.”

Read the full blog, Confessions of a hot flush queen, on Alive.com

Girlywhirly answering a plea for help on Mumsnet

“My flushes feel like the blast of heat you get when stepping into a hot sauna, except that the heat is from your inside! I don’t seem to break into a sweat though. The ‘heat’ lasts for about 30-40 secs and subsides. I know what you mean about the duvet! I push the duvet on and off and stick a leg out at the side. DH and I have only a 4.5 tog duvet all winter. I think my neck sweats most at night. In my case, I am interested to note that these ‘flushes’ disappear when a period is due, for a couple of weeks before and after, although this is only twice a year now (age 51).”

Read the full discussion, Please describe a hot flush to me, on Mumsnet.com

Skinny And Single on how the bitch turned

“The wonder of going from cold to roasting in an instant. The wonder of bleeding through 17 layers of cotton, two towels and a mattress. The wonder of my new beard. That’s cool though, people have a new beard fetish lately, I’m good to go. I guess I’m just old, I’m going grey and getting deep wrinkles. I have random pains and the occasional limp. But hey, when I was 23, I had problems too, I’d rather be here, any day. This shit’s a breeze, I got this. PS: I just want my armpits to dry.”

Read the blog, Rest In Peace To My Uterus, on Skinny And Single

Barbara Younger on hot flashes at school

“I could barely respond. I was standing there, in the middle of the circle of students–my favorite format for conducting class– trying to keep my “cool” and remember what I was doing there. I had felt a hot flash mounting up my legs from the very bottom of my feet, increasing temperature as it ascended, until it got to its highest tension in my face and head. It then erupted in visible sweat that flashed my face and made my neck and armpits moist. It was a power surge indeed, and my face was red as a tomato and my consciousness astral travelling. When I was able to finally come back to my senses, I sat down in front of twenty faces that looked at me in horror. And then I calmly said: “It’s a hot flash!”

Read the rest of the blog to find out how she got coped through the class in Friend For The Ride

We’d love to hear more personal descriptions of a hot flush. Have you read one that should be included on our list. Can you share your own experience of a hot flush with us?

September is Menopause Awareness month and we’d really like to get the message out – no more suffering alone. Sharing experiences and tips can and do help.

If you’d like to contribute please leave a comment below.

What to expect from perimenopause

  • What to expect from the perimenopause

    Perimenopause - What to Expect

What to expect from perimenopause but more importantly, what you DO NOT have to accept about it!

Menopause is a difficult stage for almost all women, things don’t just take a ‘pause’ they change. The way I look at it is, menopause is the ‘change’ but perimenopause is the ‘pause’. ‘Pause’ because in perimenopause female hormones drop drastically, so the body then has to take a pause to try and adjust itself to these lower or declining levels of hormones. This, for instance, is why we get hot flushes. Hot flushes only last as long as it takes for the body to adapt to these changes in hormone levels. Once the body adapts itself, it begins to change, it has to change, as it no longer has sufficient fuel (hormones) needed to stay healthy, strong and vital, and the person you once were. In fact, this is when we begin our descent into ageing and its related illnesses – hormones protect us.

It is not always easy to tell if you are experiencing perimenopause, and in fact, some women believe it to be impossible, convincing themselves they are too young. I understand totally, but the sooner you listen to your body the better. So many women live with and suffer from symptoms of perimenopause for years, some for as long as 15, before they seek the correct treatment. Perimenopause can begin about 10 to 5 years before menopause, so you could start noticing symptoms as early as your late 30’s, which can greatly disrupt your life, both at work and at play.

You wake up one morning with a feeling of despair, but don’t know why. You are moody, irritable, and you definitely do not feel as good as you used to – your energy levels have dropped, your positive thinking is hovering on the negative side, and sex drive, it just faded away without you realising (but perhaps your husband or partner did!). Your beloved family are stepping around you carefully so as not to crush the eggshells. You’re tired all the time but just don’t seem to be able to get enough sleep; in fact, you can’t sleep. You gain weight, something you never had to deal with before. You ate like a horse at one time with no problem. But not now. And it seems like you are living in a constant state of PMS, and that’s not far from the truth. Your hormones are playing tricks, you have an imbalance, just like before a period, but only this time they are not going to get any better. Welcome, benvenute, bienvenida, bienvenue, willkommen to my world, to perimenopause, to menopause. It happens to every woman, and is apparently, something that cannot be avoided.

But the wonderful thing now is, we no longer have to face these life-disrupting events. We don’t have to take the menopause lying down, have no energy, face depression, fade away into the background, or be left with a feeling of hopelessness, of where to go, and how to resolve it. Neither do we have to face all the age-related diseases that go with it. We have restorative medicine! When you restore your hormones, you restore your health, your life, you restore you, and you obtain longevity. It’s as simple as that!

To your health!