Oestrogen can cause weight gain - IMAGE - Women's Health & Fitness

Oestrogen

What is it?

The constant see-sawing of oestrogen and progesterone production keeps the reproductive system running. Oestrogen plays an important role in the menstrual cycle (high levels induce PMS) and pregnancy. It also helps maintain strong bones and may help prevent heart disease.

Is it out of whack?

Studies suggest oestrogen fluctuations across the female lifespan may help explain our higher prevalence of obesity compared to men. Low oestrogen is a significant contributor to weight gain in our older years, particularly approaching menopause. In younger women, spiked oestrogen levels can lead to irritability, migraines, depression and a raft of reproductive disorders.

“Oestrogen is the culprit for many of our problems, from breast cancer to endometriosis, PMS and cancer of the uterus,” says GP Dr Maura McGill. “Progesterone can ameliorate the effects of oestrogen gone wild, but if we are chronically short of one hormone, we need to reintroduce the missing hormone in the most natural way possible.”

Quick fix: Avoid oestrogen-induced weight gain in your premenopausal years by eating a wholefood diet and limiting your intake of processed foods. Dr McGill recommends steering clear of high oestrogen foods like chicken and soy products at PMS time.

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