By popular demand, I am writing today about how our hormones change as we age. Men, please don’t look away now because even though this is not about your body, it could very well have an impact on someone close to you, either right now or in the future.

‌This is a story very close to my heart. It would have helped me so much to understand this in my late 40s so I wanted to share it with you in the hope that it can help you.

‌In our 40s and sometimes earlier, women’s hormones begin to change. We move from the HPO axis, Hypothalamus, Pituitary, and Ovaries to the HPA axis, Hypothalamus, Pituitary, and Adrenals. So we move from relying on our sex hormones to relying on our adrenal hormones.‌

Now is the time to give yourself a moment to listen. To connect to yourself, your inner self and ask your body what it needs.

‌It’s time to be willing to make yourself a priority, I’m willing to bet that you’ve spent your life so far prioritising other people. Sit up and take notice because you are more vulnerable to disease once menopause starts.

‌For years the HPO team, the team that produces the sex hormones has been dealing with physical, emotional and chemical stress and now the HPO team is retiring and the sex hormones have declined leaving you with the adrenal team that produces cortisol to keep us alert and ready for danger, meaning you feel anxious, depressed, unable to sleep, lacking sex drive, losing muscle, gaining weight and feeling like you’re losing the plot.

‌The hormones produced by your adrenal glands, the HPA axis, help to regulate blood pressure, electrolytes, blood sugar, immune responses, digestion and thyroid function. When you experience stress your adrenal glands start to produce the stress hormones and these other hormones get ignored. Stress takes priority over health because the stress signal is the one that gets us out of danger when our lives are at risk. The trouble is that because of the way life works these days, we never use up the energy that stress induces for us to run away from the tiger.

‌If the stress passes quickly things return to normal and everything runs along as it should. However, if the stress is chronic and we don’t calm it down, these hormones remain on hold causing issues with our long-term health.

Hormone Hierarchy

‌We all know that what drives this hiatus is the change in hormones and hormones work in a hierarchy of power, they are not all created equal. Some of them we have more control over than others!

So as I see it, let’s make it easier for ourselves and address the ones that we have some control over.

‌At the top of the hierarchy is – Oxytocin

‌The one we get when we fall in love. The LOVE hormone, the FEEL GOOD hormone. The one we get when we hug people, cuddle babies or stroke our dogs and cats. We get it from watching a romcom, listening to music, yoga, sex etc. And the endorphins from exercise. We also get it from massage therapies, head massage, and reiki among others. ‌The next in line is…

‌Cortisol, yup, the stress hormone

‌Cortisol gives you belly fat, causes spikes in your blood sugar and will wake you up at 2 in the morning to tell you there’s a crisis. It will make you cranky when you’re hungry. Cortisol is the hormone of women who are constantly hurrying. Recognise her? ‌After Cortisol comes…


‌This is the hormone that is produced by the pancreas when we eat food, mainly carbohydrates. The more sugar the meal provides us with, the more insulin we produce. And if the body can’t process the insulin properly we lay it down as fat. More fat around the middle. Gaining weight is not about calories, it’s about hormones.

‌‌The Other Hormones

The ones at the bottom of the pile are the sex hormones and those that help to regulate blood pressure, electrolytes, blood sugar, immune responses, digestion and thyroid function. These are the ones that get ignored when Cortisol and Insulin are working too hard.

‌‌Once you understand this process you will realise the importance of these two most significant pieces of guidance I can give.

Manage Stress

We all experience stress, however we do not all manage it in the same way. Some people can calm their stress response and some people have not yet learned how important that is. Whether it’s reading a book, listening to music, doing yoga, meditation or another quiet practice you cannot afford to ignore the need to come out of “fight or flight” and back into “rest and digest”.

‌Balance your plate

Being sure to eat a balanced meal 3 times a day, with an even distribution of vegetables, protein and good-quality carbohydrates is a great start. This reduces the amount of insulin required and prevents your blood sugar from going up and down too fast. When your blood sugar drops too low you produce cortisol because your body perceives danger, yet again you go into “fight or flight” so I’m hoping you can see the importance of balance here.

More support

If you’d like more support then read this Article on Protein and Managing Stress which I know will help. What might also help is booking a Free 30 minute consultation with me to talk this all through.