Testosterone is an often overlooked hormone in the grand scheme of menopause but the truth is, it helps with hotflashes, nightsweats, bone loss, energy, self-esteem, sexual desire, and orgasm response. For many women, this important hormone decreases with age however for some, it actually increases leading to increased facial hair, acne, and an increased risk for heart disease.
As testosterone levels increase, your insulin sensitivity decreases increasing your risk for blood sugar problems like diabetes. A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that menopausal women with the highest levels are three times more likely to develop coronary heart disease and have greater risk for metabolic syndrome.
So what can you do?
First, get your levels of free and total testosterone checked. Next get your levels of fasting glucose and fasting insulin tested. This can give you important insight into your risk level.
If your glucose and/or insulin is elevated, examine your diet by cutting out sugar, simple carbs, coffee drinks, soda, and other high sugar/high carb sweets. Consider blood sugar balancers such as cinnamon (the spice) or chromium (the supplement).
If your testosterone is high, exercise vigorously most days of the week, eat a high fiber diet (30-50mg per day) to bind it up, or try the supplements saw palmetto and green tea extract.
For those of you interested in raising your testosterone, you can do it with natural hormone replacement (in small doses and under the supervision of your healthcare provider), a diet high in hormone-free protein, and enough zinc.
Eat a clean diet of organic fruits and vegetables and hormone-free meats. Stay hydrated with plenty water and find balance in your life…especially when your hormones are all out of balance.
Kalyani R, etal. The Association of Endogenous Sex Hormones, Adiposity, and Insulin Resistance with Incident Diabetes in Postmenopausal Women. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Vol. 94, No. 11 4127-4135.