6 Facts about Female Hormones
How Aging Affects Women’s Hormones
When you’re a woman, “hormones” can seem like a dirty word. From your first period, hormones are blamed for bad moods, blemishes, and weight gain. And while that may be true to some extent, the endocrine system does so much more. It’s tasked with managing all parts of life: eating and sleeping, sex and reproduction, growth and healing, and more. (1, 2)
But when hormones get out of whack, they can have major impacts on your body and brain. Understanding how hormones work can help you appreciate them and prepare for the hormonal changes you’ll experience as you get older. (1, 2)
6 Facts That Will Help You Understand Female Hormones
1. Hormones Affect Everything
Glands throughout your body produce hormones all day long. Those hormones communicate with each other, as well as other compounds in your body, to make sure they remain in balance. (1)
You might have heard some hormones referred to as “good” or “bad”, but like most things in life, hormones can’t be categorized as just one thing. For example, estrogen gets a bad wrap for causing hot flashes but it’s also responsible for keeping bones strong. The stress hormone cortisol reduces inflammation and regulates your blood pressure. Although too much cortisol can lead to digestive problems and weight gain. Hormones are part of every aspect of daily living, and they can have a number of effects on our bodies. (1, 3)
2. Small Hormonal Changes Have a Big Impact
Hormones can be compared to Goldilocks and the three bears. You don’t want too much or too little. Instead, you want the amount of each hormone to be just right. (1)
Even small hormonal changes can throw you out of balance. For instance, when the range of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) changes by even a little, it can affect your metabolism, memory, and body temperature. (1)
3. Testosterone Isn’t Just Important for Men
While some people think of testosterone as “the male sex hormone” and estrogen as “the female sex hormone”, both sexes need this pair of hormones. For women, testosterone is important for libido. If you noticed your sex drive decline in your thirties, that’s totally normal. This is the time when women’s testosterone levels decline, too. Supplementing testosterone can be helpful for low libido, but it’s still unclear how safe it is to use testosterone for sex drive long-term. (1)
Women can also produce too much testosterone and develop polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). About 10% of women in their reproductive years are affected by PCOS. The condition can be painful and cause infertility, as well as long-term health issues like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. (1, 4)
3. Insulin Is a Hormone Too!
Did you know that insulin is one of the hormones your body produces? Its job is to control your blood sugar levels. When your body ineffectively uses it, type 2 diabetes develops. Having type 2 diabetes can put you at higher risk for serious issues like stroke, heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure. You can prevent type 2 diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. (1)
4. Your Body Weight Influences Your Hormones
Insulin isn’t the only hormone affected by your body weight. Changes in weight can affect estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid hormones. Gaining or losing weight can also impact leptin, the hunger hormone, and ghrelin, which is responsible for satiety. (1)
Exercising not only will help you maintain a healthy body weight but can affect your hormones. Exercise increases dopamine in your brain, which reduces stress and depression. Working out does wonders for serotonin, which promotes restful sleep. Estrogen and testosterone get a boost from regular physical activity, too. (1, 5)
Supplements are a great added support as part of a healthy lifestyle. Calcium HMB (beta hydroxy beta methylbutyrate), a compound with over 90 clinical studies and 5 US Patents found in AgelessLX is proven to:
Reduce muscle loss
Improve post-workout recovery/soreness
Enhance fat loss when combined with diet
Enhance muscle strength when combined with exercise
The best workout plan for increasing hormones is a combination of weight training and cardio. Additionally, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) releases more of these hormones and raises your levels of human growth hormone (HGH), which regulates body composition. (1, 5)
5. Parathyroid Hormone Could Be Stealing Calcium from Your Bones
You probably already know that having too little calcium in your bones can cause osteoporosis. But did you know that a specific hormone could be stealing calcium from your bones? (1, 6)
Your parathyroid gland, which is located next to your thyroid, produces a hormone that regulates the level of calcium in your bones and blood. If you’re not getting enough calcium from supplements or dietary sources, the parathyroid hormone (PTH) will cause your bones to release calcium into your bloodstream. Once your blood has enough calcium in it, your body will stop producing PTH. Hyperparathyroidism causes your parathyroid to overproduce PTH, eventually causing calcium. It’s common to treat hyperparathyroidism by removing the parathyroid gland. (1, 6)
6. Non-Hormonal Treatments for Menopausal Symptoms
When you think of women’s hormones, menopause quickly comes to mind. It’s the most infamous effect of hormonal changes as women age. (2)
The ovaries start producing less estrogen and testosterone around the time a woman turns 50. The pituitary gland will make more follicle-stimulating hormones to try to make up for those falling hormone levels. These hormonal changes signal the beginning of menopause. (2)
While menopause and its symptoms, such as hot flashes, irritability, and insomnia are normal, they can be uncomfortable. Many women also experience decreased libido and vaginal dryness which can alter her sex life. These lower estrogen levels can also lead to osteoporosis and a higher risk of bone fractures. (1, 2)
At one point, it was common to take a combination of estrogen and progesterone to deal with the symptoms of menopause. But long-term use of this therapy increased the risk of stroke, breast cancer, blood clots, and cardiovascular disease. (2)
Now, it’s considered safe to use estrogen and progesterone as a short-term treatment for menopause symptoms, but there are also non-hormonal methods available. These are medications that treat symptoms. For example, researchers are studying a neurokinin-3 receptor blocker that would prevent the brain from sparking hot flashes. (1, 2)
You’re probably tired of hearing it, but menopause symptoms are just one of the things that will be improved by leading a healthy lifestyle. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress will improve several symptoms of menopause. (2)
While hormones are undoubtedly complicated, a little bit of knowledge can go a long way. If you’re concerned that your hormones may be out of balance, call your doctor to see how they can help.
Watch a Video Podcast!
We know that hormones do have an effect on our aging but is it everything? Is there anything we can do about it? You can get the answers from Dr. Stephanie Grey in The Hormone Dance to Live and Age Well episode on the Evolving Ageless video podcast You’ll definitely want to check it out!
Every week the Evolving Ageless video podcast takes you into the minds and behind the scenes of doctors, clinicians and many other experts in the health and beauty field – covering a variety of topics specifically for women! Don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode!