The hormonal changes during menopause can certainly encourage weight gain, particularly on the abdomen, hips and thighs as the body shifts production of oestrogen from the ovaries into those fat cells instead.
Why it all changes menopause
Bioidentical progesterone supplementation can help with menopausal weight gain because as we start this major life change, production of our body’s two major hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, starts to fall. This in itself is entirely natural but unfortunately piling on the pounds can easily happen at this time.
Many women find it hard to control their weight during menopause but most put this down to poor diet or lack of exercise, and although yes these are factors they are certainly not the whole story.
What makes it worse?
In Western societies, a combination of factors including extended use into menopause of synthetic birth control methods such as the Pill and Coil, the widespread use of HRT, processed foods and environmental toxins, cause progesterone levels to drop much faster than in societies where these factors are not present. The result is what the founder of bioidentical progesterone cream usage – the late John Lee, MD - called oestrogen dominance.
Oestrogen dominance is an imbalance between oestrogen and progesterone levels whereby, instead of the two hormones being relatively equal to each other, the ratio of oestrogen is elevated.
This is what he had to say on oestrogen’s effect on body fat:
“There are no doubt good evolutionary reasons for some of oestrogen’s seemingly negative actions on the body such as water retention and weight gain. If we think of oestrogen in terms of procreation and survival of the fetus, it would seem advantageous to the baby for the expectant mother, in times of famine, to store body fat.”
John Lee MD – What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About The Menopause
Oestrogen dominance can occur even if levels of oestrogen are also relatively low, it is the relationship each hormone has to the other that is more important than the actual amounts.
What is the effect of oestrogen dominance?
The symptoms are easily recognised: hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, poor sleep are among them. Less well known is that oestrogen, when unchecked by progesterone, interferes with thyroid function, reducing its effectiveness.
This can lead to increased conversion of carbohydrate into fat, as well as sugar cravings. The result is that the weight piles on much easier and slimming down is much harder.
What can help?
If you have any of the symptoms of oestrogen dominance then check which hormones are out of balance. You may need just progesterone plus an additional herbal supplement to boost the effectiveness of the cream in helping you to lose weight.