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Low estrogen levels... and weight gain?


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Stats: 5'4, 20 years, female, 135 pounds... 

I have amenorrhea and very low estrogen levels, hence the inability to have periods. Also, Ive been working out consistantly and counting my calories and keeping them at the recommended intake for my age... anywhere from 1500-2000. However, i've been GAINING weight. At least 5-10 pounds. Water weight or actual fat weight? I do not know... but its scary to me, and frustrating. If I'm working out and eating right and gaining... what chance do I have at losing?

 

So I've done some research and found that low estrogen levels means that your body has a tendancy to convert foods to fat to try to produce estrogen. That might explain the weight gain. That being said, is there any foods I should avoid? Should I not be eating too many fats, because is this what is triggering my increased fat stores? Or is it the carbs... what's going on!

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id like to know an answer too.

if so, how can u fix ur body to burn calories and lose weight if there is a problem like this going on?

Your calorie intake is at a healthy level, so I would be inclined to think you aren't gaining much, if any, fat.  So it probably is mostly water weight.

Since you already have a hormonal imbalance, however, it might be possible that some of your other hormones are out of whack.  I would recommend getting a test of your thyroid hormones, and perhaps liver function as well.

As for whether eating fats/carbs will make you gain weight, it's about the calories, not where you get them from.  I have heard anecdotally, though, that eating healthy fats helps restore menstruation after an ED recovery (I know that's not the case here, but it still might help).  I don't think there's any foods you should avoid, but red meat, dairy and other high-protein items are a good thing to eat right now.  Also, make sure your iron stores are good and stable, too.

I'm not going to make a recommendation, because I'm not a doctor, but I know that getting on an estrogen/progesterone regulator (the pill, but NOT the minipill) might also help, if you aren't already on it.

Thanks for this. Right now I'm undergoing an enormous amount of stress because all I can think about is eating --> body turning food into fat --> body storing fat in attempts to produce estrogen --> body gaining weight --> body compromising all my efforts in the gym. I'm literally afraid to put anything into my mouth. I'm so particular about eating habits and what goes in, and I'm so diligent in the gym.

I'm just afraid my hormones are screwed up and science is not on my side this time. The idea that all of this is beyond my control of my efforts of food and the gym, and that science and hormones control this... this scares me to holy hell. 

I took a blood test this morning. Also, I started beyaz today as prescribed by my doctor. I'm just sitting here... so scared of whatever my body is doing. 

Is there anything I can do? 

Beyaz?  Is that Yaz, the birth control pill?

Because if it is, you've taken a HUGE step towards fixing your hormones.  Yaz is just one of many BC pills, and if you find you don't like the side effects (some people get them, some don't), there are other formulations you can try.  Yaz contains both progesterone (synthetic) and estrogen (bioidentical), which are the hormones your body is lacking.

Make sure you give the pill a couple months before you decide it isn't working - a lot of people don't wait for things to take effect before they give up :)  Now that you're getting some estrogen into your system, your body won't be quite so crazy about trying to store fat in order to make it itself.

Best of luck to you, and don't get afraid of food!  Hormones aside, it still comes down to calories in/calories out most of the time.  You aren't eating enough calories to put on 5-10 pounds of fat, so fluctuations like that are probably 90% water retention.

Thanks. This gives me some relief! I think it is water retention because there's no way I gain 5 pounds in a couple weeks, eating and exercising normally! Rational thinking!

 

Yes, Beyaz is supposedly another form of Yaz. I don't know much about it, barely anything really. I don't even know why there are 2 colored pills in the little package. But I took one around 3:30 today (it took me from 9 am to 3:30 to muster up courage to take it), so yes, hopefully my hormones are being fixed!! 

How long do you think before this all starts "working"? And why are there 2 different colored pills? I'm researching but can't find anything!

Thanks so much for your help:)

If it's like other birth control pills, you'll find that you have 3x as many of one pill as another.  The one with more pills is the actual birth control pill, where the other one is a placebo.  The placebo allows you to ahve your period while keeping you in the habit of taking your pill.

 

If there is a planned parenthood clinic in your area (or something similar) I would recommend going there if you have any questions.  They can tell you virtually anything you need to know on that topic.

Well there's 24 pink pills and 4 white ones. So you're saying I take the 24 for 24 days, then on the 25th day I get my period (supposedly) but take the white pill, the placebo? And then I guess its assumed that I have my period for 4 days, and on the 5th day, I resume the real pink pill, only the first pill of 2nd package, or month 2. Correct?

 

EDIT**

Oh, and what if I don't get my period once I finish the pink pills and reach the white ones... do I still take the 4 white ones for 4 days, or should I skip the white ones and move on to month 2's supply?

Original Post by keg1990:

Well there's 24 pink pills and 4 white ones. So you're saying I take the 24 for 24 days, then on the 25th day I get my period (supposedly) but take the white pill, the placebo? And then I guess its assumed that I have my period for 4 days, and on the 5th day, I resume the real pink pill, only the first pill of 2nd package, or month 2. Correct?

 

EDIT**

Oh, and what if I don't get my period once I finish the pink pills and reach the white ones... do I still take the 4 white ones for 4 days, or should I skip the white ones and move on to month 2's supply?

 You should get your period within those 4 days. I do not take the white pills because of my migraines. Once your done with the pack, you start on the second pack. It really does help with hormones although all my estrogen levels were through the roof instead of them being low. I hope this helps you; birth control made my life so much better!

Your doctor should have explained the pills to you and gone over how they work and how to take them.  I would recommend calling the office and talking to the nurse or doctor and having them answer all your questions so you know what to expect and know you are taking them correctly.  You are supposed to take them at the same time every day and don't miss any doses.  Good luck, hope they help!

Original Post by keg1990:

Well there's 24 pink pills and 4 white ones. So you're saying I take the 24 for 24 days, then on the 25th day I get my period (supposedly) but take the white pill, the placebo? And then I guess its assumed that I have my period for 4 days, and on the 5th day, I resume the real pink pill, only the first pill of 2nd package, or month 2. Correct?

 

EDIT**

Oh, and what if I don't get my period once I finish the pink pills and reach the white ones... do I still take the 4 white ones for 4 days, or should I skip the white ones and move on to month 2's supply?

You're correct about how you take them, though you might want to double-check with your nurse just to be 100% sure.

You probably won't get your period the moment you take the first white pill - it takes a little while for the hormones to clear out of your system, just as it takes a while for them to build up.  When I was on the pill, I usually got my period around the third placebo (white) pill.

That said, you might not get your period on the first cycle of these pills.  Sometimes it takes a little time for your body to adjust to the new hormone levels.  I took the pill to regulate my cycle - I'd get a 12 day period, then nothing for two months, then a two day period, then ANOTHER period eight days after that...ugh - and it took a few months before I was getting it every 28 days in sync with the pills.

Don't be too discouraged if you don't notice anything right at first.  Hormones, unlike neurotransmitters (chemicals in your brain) are slow-acting.  If you don't notice ANY change in your body after three months, visit your doctor again.  Until then, give it time.  I hate to say that (since I know it's tough!) but most of the patients I see suffer from a lack of patience when it comes to recovery :)

Make sure you pick a time of day that makes it easy to remember your pill.  I took mine after brushing my teeth every morning.  Since I never forget that!  (at least, not since before high school, ha!)

Edit: Yes, take the white pills, even if you don't get your period.  Women's bodies are designed to have up and down cycles of estrogen in order to menstruate.  You need those four white pills to provide the "down" cycle.

Everyone has given you great advice, I just wanted to add one thing: Make sure you take the pill at EXACTLY the same time everyday. I mean exactly, like to the minute. So since you took your first one at 3:30, you are going to have to keep taking it at exactly 3:30 everyday. Its been shown that even taking the pill at a slightly different time reduces it's effectivness from 99 to 94% effective.

Just wanted to get that out there, just in case you didn't know :) good luck with everything!

Oh shoot. I've been taking it around 3.00 yesterday. I didn't think 30 minutes would make a difference... Ah!!! What do i do? 3 or 3.30? 

And thanks guy for the advice! Rly helpful

I have been very irregular lately. 2 periods and 2 days of very light spotting since the holidays and like the OP I am not underweight at all. BMI is 21. Bodyfat is 22%. Kinda worried now but I'm afraid a doctor will just throw birth control pills at me and not look for the root cause. To my knowledge you don't even have periods on the pill, it's just your body being shocked going from 28 days of hormones to none causes a withdrawal bleed so it seems to be like putting paint on a rotten door.

And OP I cannot believe your doctor prescribed you the pill and didn't tell you what they do, when to take them, which were the active pills or which were the placebos.... This is why I don't trust docs and am putting off going to one.

 

Original Post by whiteflowers88:

I have been very irregular lately. 2 periods and 2 days of very light spotting since the holidays and like the OP I am not underweight at all. BMI is 21. Bodyfat is 22%. Kinda worried now but I'm afraid a doctor will just throw birth control pills at me and not look for the root cause. To my knowledge you don't even have periods on the pill, it's just your body being shocked going from 28 days of hormones to none causes a withdrawal bleed so it seems to be like putting paint on a rotten door.

And OP I cannot believe your doctor prescribed you the pill and didn't tell you what they do, when to take them, which were the active pills or which were the placebos.... This is why I don't trust docs and am putting off going to one.

 With fears like this, I'm not surprised you don't want to see a doctor.  I can't blame you for this, but you have some misinformation that I want to target.

A "withdrawal bleed" is what you get with any period.  Your natural cycle involves increased estrogen during folliculation, increased progesterone during ovulation, and then a drop-off which causes the shedding of the lining of your uterus and bleeding.  In fact, most of your menstrual discharge is lining, not blood.  There's very little actual blood.

So the pill basically artificially creates this same cycle.  I'm NOT saying it's for everyone, but it isn't something to be afraid of.

Now, I do agree that a doctor should study you before "throwing the pill at you".  But if you suffer from a natural lack of hormones, there's no reason why you should be concerned about hormonal replacement.  It's basically an attempt to recreate what your body SHOULD be doing if all systems were normal.

I do agree, also, that the OPs doctor should have taken more time to explain things.  If she's Canadian, I'd say it's because the provincial HIPs pay per visit, and not much at that - a doctor has to rush folks through to make a living (an explanation, not an excuse).  If she's American, there's no excuse.

And addendum - OP, pick a time of day (any time) that works best for you to remember.  Then just start, from today, taking the pill at that time.  If you change from 3:30 to 3:00 or 9:00 am for that matter, it's not going to make a difference this month.  Just make sure you pick something you can stick to.

You should be using a backup method of birth control for the first month anyway, and the other poster was saying it's less effective as a contraceptive if you change times.  Since you're using backup this month (DO!) it doesn't matter if you change the time.

It won't make a difference to your cycle if you change the time once.  Just make it something you can stick to, so you don't end up changing it again :)

Thanks for taking the time to explain. Although  we were told in school that the pill tricks the body into thinking that it is pregnant and the bleeding wasn't the same as a period at all.

Anyway I am not afraid of birth control at all and if/when I am sexually monogamous it's something I had always intended using. My 'fear' is more that a doctor will just put me on the pill and what I want to know is why my periods have become out of whack as I have been 100% regular since I was 12 years old. I'd like to find out the cause and try to rectify it without fake hormones if possible you know.

Original Post by whiteflowers88:

Thanks for taking the time to explain. Although  we were told in school that the pill tricks the body into thinking that it is pregnant and the bleeding wasn't the same as a period at all.

Anyway I am not afraid of birth control at all and if/when I am sexually monogamous it's something I had always intended using. My 'fear' is more that a doctor will just put me on the pill and what I want to know is why my periods have become out of whack as I have been 100% regular since I was 12 years old. I'd like to find out the cause and try to rectify it without fake hormones if possible you know.

Sorry, I didn't mean to come off as suggesting you were afraid of the pill.  I completely understand and support your desire to have the best information possible before making a decision to artificially regulate your hormones.  I just wanted to make sure the facts were out there.

I was taught the same thing as you in sex-ed, and it was a long time later before I realized they were either wrong, or just trying to make it seem "easier to understand" (either way, I was pissed).  In order to fool your body into thinking it's pregnant, the pill would have to supply a pregnancy hormone, like chorionic gonadotrophin, or something similar.  Turns out, estrogen and progesterone are regular cycle hormones, not pregnancy hormones.  Stands to reason that I got completely different symptoms on the pill than I did when I was pregnant :)

Honestly, I think there's just a lot of bad information out there, and it's pretty hard to sift the truth from the misinformation.

Best of luck figuring out what's going on with your period, flowers.  I hope you get some good, honest answers.

Does a womans body/hormones/chemistry change when she's dieted for too long in her past?

I can't for the life of me lose weight again. 1200 cal doesnt work with exercise. Eating seems to make me gain more weight, eating less doesn't help me lose weight without health problems occuring like binging or fatigue. What should I do?

I'm getting blood work done to check for thyroid/vitamin etc. How do I know if my hormones are keeping me from losing weight now?

Original Post by morena1987:

Does a womans body/hormones/chemistry change when she's dieted for too long in her past?

I can't for the life of me lose weight again. 1200 cal doesnt work with exercise. Eating seems to make me gain more weight, eating less doesn't help me lose weight without health problems occuring like binging or fatigue. What should I do?

I'm getting blood work done to check for thyroid/vitamin etc. How do I know if my hormones are keeping me from losing weight now?

I can't speak to whether your hormones have changed, though they should be able to bounce back from prolonged dieting with time.  But as to how your body has changed, try reading this:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/core_march_8. htm

You aren't eating quite this little, I think the information may still be applicable.

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