It is very common to see women have severe fluctuations in weight and there is a good reason why this happens. Oprah for one had severe fluctuations in weight and these seem to have become less frequent lately. She herself has tried to publicize the fact that this problem might have been related to hormones.
I have seen women work extremely hard to lose weight with very strict diets and strenuous exercises. However, it is really hard to swim upstream and often that is what women are doing. Hormonal imbalances make it really difficult to lose weight and cause severe fluctuations that cause the “Yo-yoing” effect.
Oprah also tried to publicize that hormonal fluctuations start even in the 20s and 30s for a lot of women so most women should get their hormones tested early in life. The best way to check hormone levels is not with a blood test but with a saliva test. This is because in blood most hormones are bound to protein and are inactive. In saliva, on the other hand, only active hormones come out so it is a better measure of what is actually working.
One of the common imbalances is called Estrogen Dominance where there is excessive estrogen and not enough progesterone to counterbalance it. Progesterone is released after ovulation and if ovulation does not happen correctly, progesterone does not get released. This lack of progesterone can lead to weight gain.
Some women have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which also causes numerous hormonal problems. In PCOS, very small cysts can form on the ovary and the hormones can collect in them instead of being released normally. Not only does this cause decreased progesterone, but it also causes increased testosterone. Some medications such as Spironolactone and Metformin can help in PCOS.
When trying to lose weight it is important to first fix these hormonal problems otherwise losing weight is like swimming upstream. If you try to swim upstream, you have to struggle very hard for any little progress and when you get tired, you get thrown far downstream leading to the Yo-Yoing effect.
Fixing estrogen dominance if often as easy as using an over-the-counter progesterone cream but the problem is that most physicians are not trained in use of such bioidentical creams. When I graduated from residency, I had never heard the term “bioidentical” and I had to go through special training to learn about natural ways to balance hormones. At present, my practice is the only one in the area that uses natural, bioidentical hormone adjustments to help make it easier to lose weight.
Hormonal adjustments also help with other issues. I have had numerous patients who found that depression and anxiety resolved when their hormones were adjustments. I have a patient who used to get severe migraines but when I adjusted her hormones using a natural, over-the-counter progesterone cream, her migraines have disappeared! Hormones affect our whole body and it is really important to make sure that they are at the right level.
Making such hormone adjustments are vital when it comes to trying to lose weight. If you want to make sure that you do not having the “Yo-yoing” effect that Oprah suffered, you will want to get your hormones adjusted before you try to lose weight. It is a lot better to swim downstream than the other way round!!!