Weight gain is another concern shared by many women as they age. The weight
itself is only part of the problem, I am often told. Women complain to me about
the change in the shape of their bodies, particularly the fact that fat seems
to accumulate around their stomach, buttocks and thighs rather than being
evenly distributed over their entire body. Once again, progesterone can
effectively address some of the biochemical reasons for this weight gain.
Estrogen dominance causes an increase in thyroid binding globulin. When this
occurs, the thyroid hormones are bound in such a way that the thyroid gland
becomes dysfunctional. The degree of dysfunction is proportional to the degree
of estrogen dominance. The thyroid gland is best known for its metabolic
function affecting weight. If the body does not have enough progesterone, a
woman can diet and exercise with a vengeance and still not lose the weight they
want. Progesterone is needed to equalize estrogen dominance and eliminate a
hypothyroid condition so that, with a healthy diet and exercise, the body’s
metabolism will respond and weight loss can occur.
In addition, too much estrogen causes tissues around the abdominal area to
retain water, or bloat. In younger women, this bloating is most noticeable
around their menstrual cycle when their progesterone levels naturally drop to
precipitate menstruation. As women age and their progesterone levels do not
cycle back up during the month, then the resulting estrogen dominance causes
the bloating to be a constant issue. This uncomfortable feeling is eliminated
when progesterone balances the estrogen. Progesterone then acts as a natural
diuretic, thereby reducing the bloating.
Changes in the blood sugar levels that occur with age and as a result of
hormone imbalance are also linked to weight gain. As the body’s production of
progesterone decreases and the circulating estrogen becomes dominant, insulin
is released more rapidly and more often. When fluctuating hormones unnaturally
stimulate insulin release, the body craves sugar. Food cravings can sometimes
be uncontrollable. Many women report that they find themselves consuming many
more sweets, even when they are not truly hungry. As a result, they ingest more
calories than their bodies require. When progesterone is in balance with
estrogen, it serves to temper insulin release, thereby normalizing the blood
sugar levels and reducing food cravings.