Weight gain and hormone imbalance

5 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

Hormones affect every single person. I’m also going out on a limb and saying that hormonal imbalance affects every single woman at some point in their life. Our monthly menstruation is the perfect time to check in with our bodies. Consider it a health report card! The length, quality and quantity of menstruation can tell us a lot about our hormonal health. A healthy period typically has very few symptoms leading up to it, can last 4-7 days and can go from 24-32 days.

For a more detailed analysis of what your particular menstruation might mean, visit my past blog post “What Your Period Blood Means“!

Your hormonal cycle contains waves of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. They each have their peaks and valleys. While a regular cycle resembles something like the image below, if you are suffering from an imbalance of hormones, you may find that specific hormones are out of balance in your body. These hormones work synergistically, and if they are not able to compliment each other where need be, we are at risk of developing unpleasant symptoms. Overtime, these pesky symptoms can turn into big problems like PCOS, struggling to get pregnant, recurrent miscarriages, awful peri-menopause, and more.

If you’re still learning to decipher your monthly menstrual report card, consider the symptoms listed below as other signs of hormonal imbalance. If you’re struggling with any of the symptoms we talk about in this post, I encourage you to book a complimentary hormone freedom call, so we can get to the bottom of your symptoms.

Weight gain

Are you doing all the right things and your weight just won’t budge? Are you gaining weight around your hips, waist and/or thighs more easily? It can be frustrating to feel like you’re doing all the “right” things and just not getting the results you’d like. This may be a sign of estrogen dominance or thyroid dysfunction. 

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Estrogen dominance and weight gain work cyclically. Adipose tissue attracts and stores excess estrogen as well. Adipose tissue functions as insulation and cushion, but can often develop in excess. The more adipose tissue, the more room there is to store excess estrogens. However, if there is not enough estrogen to fill all adipose tissue pockets, other hormones will begin to be converted into estrogen to make this match. (Extra fat, more estrogen is made. Excess estrogen, more fat is stored on the body to house the extra estrogens.) Their magnetic attraction is not good! It can be a really frustrating cycle that needs intervention before it leads to more severe symptoms.

Weight gain and hormone imbalance

Thyroid Health

Something else to consider is your thyroid. Thyroid dysfunction and weight gain work in a similar way. Thyroid hormone (T4) is responsible for your metabolism. If you have a thyroid dysfunction and are producing less T4, you metabolism will slow down. This is hypothyroidism. You would think that if you are underproducing T4 and gaining weight easily, that it would be simple enough to supplement for T4 production and the weight would drop off. However, this is not the case. Each person makes a precise level of T4 and going above and beyond will not speed up weight loss. It is a balancing act. It requires hormone testing, precise supplementation and continued weight loss effort. Check with your practitioner to see if this might be where your weight gain is coming from!

That being said, weight can fluctuate. Weight gain can be linked to stressful routines, lack of sleep or inadequate amount of exercise. Look carefully at your circumstances. If you feel like you’re listening to your body, giving it the movement it needs, nourishing it in a way that is healthful and supportive, and you continue to gain weight or are unable to lose weight, consider that it might be a hormonal imbalance.

Tip: The fastest way to get to the root of your weight gain woes is a hormone test. You want to find out which hormone is responsible so that you can respond accordingly right away! I offer this testing in The Hormone System. You can learn more about it here!

Hair growth 

Have you noticed small hairs popping up in unexpected places? Chin whiskers? Side burns? Back, chest or arm hairs? Even dark nipple hairs? This can be a sign of excess testosterone. Testosterone stimulates the follicular canal to produce the protein keratin which is responsible for hair growth.

Testosterone levels can be high for a couple of reasons. Sometimes the explanation for this is more the presence of other androgens, including, dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione. These three androgens are converted into testosterone and promote male characteristics in women, i.e. hair growth! This can be caused by a number of issues, most often in my practice, I see it in women with PCOS. {LINK}

Those suffering from PCOS are dealing with an excess of androgens. Androgens are secreted by the ovaries or adrenal glands and encourage keratin production in the follicles. PCOS is really any combination of elevated estrogen, low progesterone, high insulin and/or high testosterone/DHEA.

Tip:

Depending on the root cause, you can balance testosterone through diet, exercise, supplementation and reducing stress. A specific treatment, however, is licorice root tea, a sexual organ tonic. This herbal remedy treats adrenal and glandular problems. It contains compounds similar to adrenal cortical hormones to help regulate your levels. 

Acne 

Hormonal acne tends to pop up around the chin and jawline, and often appears after estrogen peaks right before ovulation. When you have an excess of estrogen, it begins to spill over and convert into testosterone. Testosterone is responsible for producing the protein keratin. Keratin is required to grow skin, hair and nails. If there is too much keratin being produced we run the risk of having our pores blocked, causing acne. Another way that this can happen is if testosterone produces an excess of sebum, a sebaceous gland secretion that lubricates skin and prevents water loss. An overproduction of this oily, waxy substance is bound to clog our pores and lead to unpleasant pimples.

Dairy, simple or refined carbohydrates, processed and trans-fatty foods can encourage the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a more potent form of testosterone and increases keratin and sebum, leading to acne prone skin.

Tip:

Supplementing zinc can help reduce the conversion of testosterone to DHT. This is because zinc is a vital component of over 300 chemical reactions in the body, including that which will offset the conversion of testosterone into the more potent, DHT.

5 signs of hormonal imbalance

Headaches or migraines 

Our bodies are very sensitive to hormone fluctuations. This means headaches, physical fatigue, joint and muscle pain and even lack of coordination can occur as a result of these waves of hormones. Estrogen in particular, increases our response to neurological stimulation or injury. Any physical tensions, potential joint pains or muscle soreness will be heightened as estrogen rises.

If you notice headaches popping up around your day 12-14 or during the second half of your cycle, this may be due to a hormonal imbalance. This is because before ovulation estrogen reaches its highest peak and then drops off quickly. If this peak is higher than optimal and/or if the pituitary gland isn’t triggering the ovaries to make adequate progesterone to curb the drop-off, headaches can occur. Progesterone is a soothing, sedating hormone and because progesterone and estrogen work synergistically, if ratios are off, we will feel these discrepancies as aches and pains.

Tip:

Peppermint oil can be a saviour! Try rubbing some on your temples for a minty halo of relief!  

Mint for hormone imbalance

Anxiety (Insomnia & depression)

Hormonal anxiety can also be linked to less than optimal ratios of estrogen and progesterone. Progesterone is characterized as the calming hormone. It has you craving alone time, feeling more introspective and wanting to snuggle up at home with a good book instead of going out and being social. Estrogen on the other hand is the hormone that makes you feel more attractive, sociable, outgoing and adventurous. If you are dealing with a hormonal imbalance, you can be hit with estrogen highs. When estrogen spikes too high you can feel jittery, clumsy or anxious. Estrogen and progesterone work in synchronicity for a reason and have a direct correlation with emotions. If the ratios become extreme this can lead to prolonged anxiety. 

Another contributing factor is the hormone, cortisol and another vicious cycle can occur here. You feel anxious and panicky, this fight-or-flight feeling causes your stress hormone, cortisol to rise. If this continues to happen, in the name of producing more cortisol, it begins to rob the body of the resources needed to make other hormones, progesterone specifically. As this cycle progresses, progesterone levels drop further, the gap increases, anxiety worsens and cortisol production continues to soar. If we get far enough down this rabbit hole, this is when depression can occur.

Tip:

Have you heard of CB2?! It isn’t the hot button substance that CBD is. In fact, it contains no CBD (or THC) at all but works to activate the same receptors that CBD does. Therefore, without any “high”, you get the same calming effects. CB2 oil is hemp seed oil + terpenes, which are the organic aromatic compounds of the hemp plant. These terpenes activate the same receptors in your body that CBD attaches itself to. CB2 will chill you out and lower the call for cortisol, freeing up your body to get back to producing other hormones. 

It is important to pay attention to these warning signs, pinpoint whether or not your symptoms are the result of hormonal imbalance, and intervene to make appropriate adjustments in the name of your hormonal health!

Ready to have balanced hormones and get the results you deserve?

Applications are now open for The Hormone System AKA my 12 week hormone program to balance your hormones once and for all.

You’ll be fully supported to say buh-bye to all those awful symptoms of hormonal imbalance for good, and get super amazing results with a individualized action plan.

Book a free hormone freedom call to discover if this is the right next step for you!

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