Men and women store body fat in different places. You may have noticed that this happens more noticeably as men and women age. The reason isn’t necessarily because they’re less active, but because their sex hormones are declining.When men gain weight it goes straight to their abdomen causing the “beer belly” look. Women store it more in the thighs and butt.
Testosterone and estrogen, sex hormones, are strongly linked to weight gain. When we age, these levels are fluctuating leading to not only weight gain, but lower libido, depression, a decrease in bone density etc. Declining levels of both testosterone and estrogen mean that fewer calories are being burned. The hormonal changes also have an impact on where the fat is stored.
Testosterone is the hormone responsible for leanness and its decrease leads to more abdominal fat. However when levels of testosterone are too high this can cause weight gain and more belly fat. Going too far in either direction will affect the metabolism and so it’s important to achieve the right balance. For men with low testosterone, hormone replacement therapy can be very helpful in achieving the right testosterone levels. With regular testing and an attentive doctor, the right balance can be found and men will enjoy the benefits that higher levels of testosterone bring: reduced weight gain, improved libido, better moods and other positive effects.
When women approach menopause, estrogen levels plummet and testosterone declines. Testosterone is not just important in men, but women too. It is almost as if a woman is experiencing puberty in reversal since they will experience low libido, moodiness, difficulty sleeping, hot flashes and weight gain. Women who have always had difficulty losing weight will notice it may become even harder and women who have not had a problem might begin to. It doesn’t happen to every woman, and it can be controlled by increasing aerobic activity and weight training, while being extra careful with diet.
Women can also suffer from weight gain if their testosterone levels are too high. A sudden increase in weight gain isn’t necessarily from bad eating but could be explained by excess testosterone production. Too much testosterone could be a sign of an underlying condition. A doctor can perform a blood test to determine the levels and can then decide on treatment accordingly. Doctors often prescribe birth control pills or medications to reduce insulin levels since excess insulin causes an increase in testosterone production.
Some men and women simply have higher or lower levels of testosterone, progesterone and estrogen than others. There is a huge normal range out there but if you think you might have a hormone imbalance, you don’t need to suffer needlessly. Hormone therapy is a common solution for many men and women who suffer from hormonal changes. It’s always important to first consult with a doctor to check your levels, and to do so regularly to make sure that your hormones aren’t increasing too much. The correct balance can make a huge impact on your life in terms of weight control but also in terms of your sex life and general happiness.