You would have never thought biology would ever come this handy before!
For women, hitting their fifties can be a blessing as well as a curse. Although free from their menstrual cycle, a woman’s body undergoes various changes that need to be monitored regularly. While going through their menstrual cycle, women experience several symptoms such as acne, irritability, tenderness in the breasts, feeling bloated and of course bleeding. Although once a woman starts going through menopause, which can be best summed up as hormone replacement, she begins experiencing different symptoms altogether.
These symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, palpitations, anxiety, vaginal dryness, headaches, and difficulty sleeping. After hitting menopause, the woman becomes more prone to diseases such as breast cancer, heart diseases, and osteoporosis all of which are indirectly connected to obesity. To avoid all of these perils women going through menopause should monitor these specific hormones for irregularities and take action that is needed to help them build a better lifestyle for themselves.
1: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
The Thyroid gland, found at the base of your neck, produces T3, T4, and Calcitonin. When the gland starts producing lower amounts of the thyroid hormones than usual, the condition that arises is known as hypothyroidism. The symptoms for this include weight gain, High cholesterol, constipation, low heart rate and fatigue. It is understandable, as the hormones produced by the thyroid gland are known to regulate metabolism, heart rate, and growth. Women, after menopause, become more susceptible to hypothyroidism, leading them to gain weight due to the problems quality of water accumulation.
Getting TSH levels checked and running them by a doctor should be your number one priority. Apart from this monitor your fiber intake and make sure you don’t overindulge in high fiber as it contributes to the absorption of TSH. Avoid taking supplements such as iron and calcium tablets at the same time as your thyroid medication, as they can interrupt the absorption of thyroid replacement.
Leptin is known as the ‘satiety’ hormone, as one of its core jobs is to signal the body to subdue hunger, opposing another hormone known as Ghrelin that urges the body to consume more. This hormone has quite the similarities to Insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and is more prone to occur in women going through menopause. Apart from signaling the brain to stop consuming food, the long term work of this hormone regulates fat stored in the body. The more fructose containing foods are consumed, the more fat is deposited in parts of your bodies such as the liver or belly, leading them to secrete large amounts of Leptin. It, in turn, desensitizes the body to the hormone, not allowing the brain to receive signals to stop eating. In fact, a study has shown that obese people are known to contain high amounts of Leptin.
It can be controlled through a few and minor lifestyle changes. Which include: Sleeping at least 7-8 hours every day, keeping yourself hydrated and avoiding excessive amounts of sugary beverages
Produced by the adrenal glands, this hormone is used for the regulation and mobilization of energy. It is secreted when the individual in question is angry, stressed, anxious or depressed, or in other words, this hormone is there to help short-term problems only. It energizes the body by moving around fat reserves to weaker cells while it regulates the body by providing the carbs, proteins or fats, whatever it deems fit, to the body for a particular activity. Depression and Anxiety are two major symptoms of menopause, which leads to increased amounts of cortisol secretion also known as ‘Hyperinsulenimic.’ It enables fat cells to mature and increase in fatty deposits, allowing the person in question to gain weight.
You can manage this hormone by trying to maintain a stress-free life, including indulging in things like meditation and yoga. It will not only help relieve you of stress but anxiety as well. Avoiding alcohol and processed food is also another way to ensure lower levels of cortisol in the body.
It is a hormone secreted by the Pancreas, to help maintain glucose levels in the blood. It transfers glucose into cells that either uses it for energy or store it as fat. Excessive consumption of processed food and drinks with artificial sweets leads to ‘Insulin Resistance.’ It causes high levels of sugar to remain in blood stream instead of being carried to cells to be stored for later, leading to Type 2 diabetes and Obesity. It can be managed by consulting a doctor and altering some lifestyle choices.
These involve exercising 4-5 times a week, consuming Omega 3 Fatty acids and green vegetables.
High or Low, this hormone does no good at either end unless it stands a neutral stance. The Ovarian cells secrete this hormone, which becomes a reason for low estrogen levels in the bodies of women going through menopause, as it is the end of their ovulation. It leads the body to seek other areas for more estrogen, settling for fat cells converting it back into glucose. You will gain weight in the lower area of your body. It can be maintained by choosing foods that are high in phytoestrogens, which acts as a substitute for estrogen. Drinking herbal tea and eating Flax seeds also help increase estrogen in your body.
High amounts of estrogen can be found in the bodies of people who consume animals that have been treated with excessive hormones to grow etc. Biologically, significant amounts of estrogen stress out the cells that produce insulin leading to Insulin Resistance. That again, in turn, leads to weight gain. It can be avoided by not buying processed meat and indulging more in veggies and fruits.
Secreted by the Pineal glands, this hormone helps with ‘circadian rhythm,’ that is the time you sleep and rise. If the individuals sleeping cycle is messed up, the melatonin which is secreted at night, while you are asleep, to heal the body will only be offered to you in small doses. It also causes stress which will ultimately lead to inflammation- induced weight gain.
By getting 7-9 hours of sleep in a dark room and not eating food right before going to bed, women can maintain their melatonin levels and live a happy and healthy lifestyle.
A hormone relatively found in small amounts in a female’s body. As women age, high-stress levels and the age factor itself lowers the already minimal amount of testosterone present. This hormone plays a significant part in weight loss as it helps burn fat. Low amounts of this hormone are more likely to cause obesity and depression, which can lead to more weight gain problems itself.
After getting your testosterone levels checked, one can manage to generate a reasonable amount of this hormone in their body by making a few necessary adjustments in their lifestyle and diet. Avoiding alcohol and taking Vitamin C, Zinc, Magnesium and Protein supplements is a good first step. Adding foods rich in fibers to your diet to increase your metabolic rate is another way to manage this hormone’s regulation in your body. Daily workouts are also mandatory to boost testosterone levels in your body as well.
It is mainly secreted mostly in the stomach as well as in minimal amounts in the pancreas, brain, and small intestine; leptins alter hormone, Ghrelin helps stimulate appetite in the body. Obesity makes one more delicate towards having this hormone in their bloodstream. While a person is dieting, which can be common in older women trying to lose weight after menopause, Ghrelin is higher in the blood stream, which becomes a major factor in weight gain.
To lower the amount of Ghrelin being secreted into your blood, one needs to eat every 2-3 hours. Starvation diets will only help you gain weight not lose it, hence planning out six meals a day that is filled with healthy fats, proteins, dietary fiber, and fruits is a good way to lose weight as it will regulate the right dosage of this hormone into your blood stream. Drinking a glass of water 15 minutes before you will stop you from over-eating as well as help in the digestion process of the meal that you will consume. Crash diets or starvation are always the worse options to choose from especially due to this hormone, hence rather than doing that you might as well take up a meal plan that will benefit you as well as a few exercises to help keep you in shape.
We have already discussed Estrogen earlier, but it has lots of significance attached with this hormone. It is one of the most abundant and visible hormones that can lead to weight gain after menopause. It needs to be in perfect sync with estrogen if you don’t want to gain weight. A balance between these two hormones is vital for a person going through menopause. If one has low amounts of Progesterone in their body but higher amounts of Estrogen due to eating meat that has been grown through hormone stimulation, one is more prone to weight accumulation and depression.
Consult a doctor if tests prove little amounts of Progesterone in your body. Your best bet to avoid this can be by avoiding processed meat, which not only causes problems in women going through menopause but also causes many disruptions in the cycles of women going through menstruation. Meditation, yoga or even dancing can help you burn off the extra edge that might be jarring your brain from its peaceful state.