Insulin Resistance and Menopause
Learn the causes and cures of insulin resistance in women
Fatigue, mood swings, insomnia, and weight gain are common menopause symptoms. However, they can also be signs of a condition called insulin resistance, which affects many perimenopausal and menopausal women. Insulin resistance is a precursor to diabetes and can also put women at risk for many other health issues, including heart disease, hypertension, breast cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and obesity.
What Causes Insulin Resistance?
Insulin is supposed to control blood sugar (glucose) by signaling to cells that it is time to absorb the glucose they need as fuel. But when blood sugar levels are too high for too long, cells become desensitized and no longer respond to insulin—in other words, they become insulin resistant.
There are a variety of factors that can create high blood sugar in women and potentially lead to insulin resistance.
First of all, there is the simple fact that sensitivity to insulin changes with age. This is true regardless of your weight. But if you do gain weight—as many menopausal women do—this will only slow your metabolism further and increase issues with blood sugar.
Secondly, there is the fact that many women don’t get proper nutrition. A poor diet full of simple carbs from refined and processed foods requires more insulin to metabolize. This results in elevated insulin levels that make cells less and less responsive to insulin over time.
Finally, there is the fact that hormonal changes affect how cells respond to insulin. For example, high testosterone is considered predictive of insulin resistance in menopausal women. Declining estradiol (a form of estrogen) has also been linked to insulin resistance in some women. Fluctuations in adrenal and thyroid secretions also play a role.
How to Heal Insulin Resistance
The good news is it is possible to heal insulin resistance. You can start by changing your diet. Cut back on refined and processed foods, as well as carbs. Remember, carbs will be turned into glucose. You should not be eating more than about 15 grams of carbs per meal and 7 grams of carbs per snack. Focus instead on eating lean protein, whole grains, leafy vegetables, beans, and fresh fruit. Be sure to get plenty of fiber. All of these nutrients are excellent for blood sugar control. They can also help you lose weight, which will help improve your metabolism.
The changes you make to your diet will be most effective if they are also paired with hormone replacement therapy. At Renew Youth™, we offer a variety of treatment options for women that can help bring your unique body chemistry back into a healthy balance, making it easier for insulin to do its good work of blood sugar control. Contact us today to learn more.