How to Get Rid of Hormonal Belly? Types, Causes, and Recovery

Hormonal Belly

Are you trying strenuous exercises and a changed lifestyle but still not getting rid of the belly bulges? The weight gain, excess consumption of calories, and disrupted hormonal issues lead to extra weight gain around the stomach. Let’s see: How to get rid of hormonal belly? Or How can you reduce hormonal belly?

Hormonal belly can be reduced by:

  1. Limiting the consumption of high fatty foods, refined carbs, sugary foods and alcohol.
  2. Increasing the consumption of high fiber foods which helps in regulating bowel movements.
  3. Reducing the screen timing and getting enough sleep of at least 6-8 hours.
  4. Engaging in aerobic and abs exercises to decrease visceral fat.
  5. Doing resistance pieces of training to reduce belly fat.

Excess abdominal Fat & Belly Fat is linked with the increased risk of insulin resistance, type 2 Diabetes & Heart Disease. Abdominal obesity is also one of the leading causes of Metabolic Syndrome. Although, all abdominal fat is not the same. 

Hormonal Belly

Types of Fat:

Table Of Contents hide

There are two types of fats:

  • Subcutaneous Fat
  • Visceral Fat

Subcutaneous Fat:  

It is present under the skin & within your skin & muscles. In a moderate amount, it will not increase the risk of metabolic disease and its risk.

Visceral Fat:

Visceral fat is present in the abdominal cavity around your internal organs, acts as an insulator. It is associates with metabolic syndrome and health-related issues, i.e., Type 2 Diabetes & Heart Disease. It is hormonally active fat and influences many disease-related processes by releasing different compounds in the body.

Types of Belly Bulge:

Bloating based bulge:

Swelling or pressure in the stomach is known as bloating. 

The most common cause of bloating is the trapped gas or overeating in a short time. The feeling of bloating can cause abdominal distention and visible extension of the belly. The condition of distention happens when the sensation of being bloated triggers your brain to react by moving your diaphragm down and relaxing your abdominal wall muscles.

Other causes include:

  • Constipation
  • Irritability Bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Bacterial infections
  • Gastroparesis (delayed in empty of the stomach)
  • Gynecological conditions, Ovarian Cysts

Adrenal Stress Fat Based Bulge:

A natural response against a threat is known as stress. When a person experience threat, his coordinate system gets active and stimulate the body glands to release stress hormones. Adrenal glands release adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones in response to nervous and hormonal singles. It occurs for a short duration of time, and the body gets normal abruptly. 

Stressed-Out Belly:

Traditional Meal PlanBreakfastLunchDinner
Day 1Egg white omeletteTwice-baked sweet potatoBaked eggplant parmesan
Day 2Apple cinnamon oatsPork and pear saladShrimp rice
Lactose-free meal plan   
Day 1Tofu scramble with sweet potatoes and avocado toastRoasted sea bass with lentilsWarm chicken asparagus salad
Day 2Hazelnut oatmeal with bananaStir-fried turkey with broccoli and brown riceSeafood rice

Post-Pregnancy Belly Based Bulge:

During pregnancy, several changes occur in the body includes the belly, the most common. A person loses 13 pounds even after birth, but it is more likely you gained after pregnancy. Fluid retention & abdominal separation may cause belly bulges. The separation of two long muscles that run parallel in the abdomen caused by the growing uterus during or after pregnancy is called Abdominal Separation.

Postpartum Based Belly Bulge:

Gluten-Free Meal PlanBreakfastLunchDinner
Day 1Vanilla strawberry chia bowlQuinoa TabboulefiRoasted fish with new potatoes
Day 2Salmon and broccoli FritattaShrimp quinoa bowlTuna rice salad
Vegan Meal Plan   
Day 1Dried apricots oatmealPea and potato soupKidney bean curry
Day 2Blueberry wafflesBroccoli saladQuinoa Edamame salad

Menopausal Hormonal Belly Bulge:

Menopause is a common cause of weight gain in females. It’s usually begun during perimenopause, before menopause, in which hormonal changes affect the body weight, especially the abdomen area. The following components results in belly fat:

  • Hormonal fluctuation (Estrogen)
  • Insulin resistivity
  • Insomnia 
  • Low Muscle Mass

Hormonal Belly Bulge:

Traditional Meal planBreakfastLunchDinner
Day 1Cabbage cheese berries and almondsBaby carrots with hummusLemon rosemary salmon with steamed asparagus
Day 2Honey oatmeal with cranberries and pecansTuna tomato saladRoasted chicken breast with broccoli and cauliflower
Vegan Meal Plan   
 Berry quinoa bowlCouscous and kidney bean saladMushroom curry
 Oatmeal with cranberries and pecansWarm black bean and quinoa saladKidney bean-quinoa bowl

Beer Belly Based Bulge:

Beer is enriched in calories which increases the number of calories resulting in weight gain. Hops contain phytoestrogens, similar to female sex hormone, i.e., estrogen, present in plants used in manufacturing beers. Through some researchers, the body belly fat stores fatter by phytoestrogen.

For Alcohol-Based Belly Bulge:

Gluten-Free Meal PlanBreakfastLunchDinner
Day 1Gluten-free-oats, raspberries with honeyGluten-free bread with apple and cheddar cheeseRoasted salmon
Day 22 scrambled eggsToasted oven quesadillasChickpea and potato hash
Lactose-Free Meal Plan   
Day 1Green smoothiePrawn salad with avocados and olive oilMeatballs with veggies and cheddar cheese
Day 2Eggs with goat cheese, tomatoes and basilTuna and white bean spinach saladChickpea and potato hash

Food Intolerance Based Bugle:

Food intolerance has become much common in recent years. Approximately 20% world population faced food intolerance. Food intolerance is the difficulty in digesting various types of foods. They have also termed food sensitivity. Bloating, Distended Abdomen, Stomach Pain, Diarrhea are common causes of food intolerance. Typical food intolerances are Dairy, Gluten, & Caffeine.

Common Weight Gain Based Bulge:

Increased Weight affects the body, but some people get more in the abdomen area than others. They increased weight results when the intake of calories is much more than a person burns through its metabolic process & daily routine activity. Being overweight is also associated with stress and insomnia.

Get a detailed read: Hormonal Belly- Complete Breakdown: Symptoms and Cure

Cause Of Hormonal Belly:

Thyroid Hormones:

The thyroid hormone controls the metabolic process of the body. If this hormone is not produced enough by the thyroid gland, a condition develops known as hypothyroidism, which slows down the body metabolic rate result in increased weight and body abdomen fat. 

Levothyroxine is suggested to mimics natural thyroid hormones.

Cortisol:

Flight-or-Flight response, Survival mode in a state of stress and fear is controlled by cortisol. During stress, cortisol is released by the adrenal gland, which stimulates the body to store fat then redistribute it in the stomach, chest, and face.

Hypercortisolism for long-duration causes severe conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome, High blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, accordingly NIDDK. Symptoms of cushion disease are:

  • Increase fat around the base of the neck
  • Fatty Hump between person’s shoulders
  • Thin legs and arms
  • Easy bruising
  • Muscle weakness
  • Purple stretch mark along abdomen, hips, underarms and breast.

Glucocorticoids or Pituitary tumours also cause Cushing Syndrome.

Leptin:

Leptin is a hormone that triggers the nerve cells in the hypothalamus, develops a feeling of fullness and is released by fat cells.

According to the study, the stored amount of fats is related to the leptin level in the body. More the leptin level, enough the storage of cells, triggers the feeling of fullness after eating. Overweight people have body fats cells hence have a high level of leptin; the brain should know that body has stored enough energy.

If the connection between leptin and the brain is not proper, resistance may occur. This leptin resistance may be due to genetic mutations and changes in brain chemicals.

Leptin resistance may be due to inflammation. Lifestyle modification such as exercise or eating healthy may reduce inflammation.

Causes In Male:

Low testosterone levels:

Male important sex hormone is testosterone, whereas women had it too. It helps to develop male characteristics such as body and facial hair. It enhances muscle growth both in males & females. The increase in age causes the decrease of testosterone hormone, which reduce muscle growth and increase Weight.

Over 30% of men with low testosterone levels have obesity. A decrease in testosterone may be due to medical complications, i.e., Noonan Syndrome or due to damaged testicles. Infection, Autoimmune conditions, Chemotherapy, Pituitary gland disease are some other causes.

Symptoms that testosterone deficiency can cause are:

  • Hair Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Decrease sexual arouse
  • Decrease in muscle mass
  • Erectile Dysfunction

Testosterone Supplements or lifestyle modifications, such as a reduced-calorie diet and more exercise, may treat the deficiency.

Estrogen Levels:

The body contains three types of estrogen:

  • Estradiol
  • Estriol
  • Estrone 

Studies show that Estradiol is essential in modulating the libido, sperm production and erectile function. Decreased level of estrogen causes low sexual arousal and increase belly fat. Whereas high estrogen levels increase weight gain in males under ’60s. Dietary and lifestyle Modification may cure the level, along with medications.

Causes in Females:

PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome):

PCOS females have a higher level of androgen, male hormone and high insulin level that affects how the body converts food into energy, which results in increased body weight, especially around the abdomen.

Symptoms of PCOS are as follows.

  • Acne
  • Thinning of hair
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Darkening of skin
  • Skin tags

Dietary Modification, foods that increase insulin level, is restricted. Metformin, an insulin resistance drug, can be used. 

Menopause:

Estrogen levels decrease as women enter menopause. Menopausal women with reduced estrogen levels cause an increase in abdominal fat. Hormone Replacement Therapy reduces belly fat. A healthy diet and lifestyle modification are also helpful.

Period-Related Fluid Retention:

During the period, some females retain fluid, which causes bloating, particularly in the stomach, resulting in temporary weight gain. A study reports the most fluid retention on the first day of their periods, steadily declining each day in 62 females with 765 menstrual cycles. Still, no researcher finds out the relation between fluid retention and hormone levels.

A healthy diet and lifestyle modification may decrease fluid retention and bloat in menstruation.

Signs of a Hormonal Belly:

Increasing Waistline:

If you are eating right and healthy food but still waistline is getting bigger, then it is the sign of hormonal belly. Having a flat stomach in all the life span, but then you suddenly face the signs of an increase in waistline, then it is the sign of increasing hormonal belly which needs to stop.

As age increases, the body switches to become more insulin-resistant which drives the body to store fat instead of burning it off. Women also faces estrogen-related issues. Estrogen dominance promotes insulin resistance, which causes belly fat to build up.

Hormonal Belly

Excess Cravings for Sugar:

Not only can insulin resistance lead to diabetes, but it can also have some secondary effects on other essential hormones. Insulin resistance can have a knock-on effect on leptin. Leptin is the hormone that alerts your body when you’re full, but elevated insulin levels eventually lead to elevated leptin, as well.

Despite what you may think, elevated leptin does not mean you are more likely to put down your fork and stop eating. Consistently elevated leptin levels can lead to a dysfunction of leptin receptors.

Hormonal Belly

Increased Mood Swings:

As women enter the pre-and post-menopausal years, their estrogen levels often fluctuate, which can cause mood swings and weight gain around the midsection. Studies have revealed that estrogen levels in women fluctuate most often during reproductive cycle events and menopausal transitions and fluctuate naturally during menopausal bodily changes, which can cause mood swings and lead to weight gain. 

Focus on things which you can control, like the diet and exercise routine. Modify the meals and include:

  • Green vegetables.
  • Lean sources of protein like a chicken without skin.
  • Complex carbs like whole-wheat slices of bread.
  • Healthy fats like olive oil in your diet.

These foods not only keep you satisfied and curb hunger, but they’ll also deliver the nutrients which are necessary to stave off age-related insulin resistance and muscle loss. 

Constantly Stress Conditions:

Another major player who triggers the hormonal belly fat is the cortisol hormone referred to as the stress hormone. Cortisol levels increase in the body when the body senses that a person is overwhelmed and anxious, leading to stubborn weight gain.

This happens because the body faces the fight or flight mode. Higher levels of stress and anxiety can send the body into survival mode, which increases the cortisol levels in the body and signals the body to store more fat, leading to weight gain.

Insomnia Along with Tiredness:

Insomnia and exhaustion act as signs that hormones will eventually trigger the weight gain process. Lack of sleep causes fatigue and irritability, which leads to an increase in stress and insomnia. All these things mess with the hormones, specifically the cortisol levels.

It can also decrease the number of growth hormones responsible for tissue building, muscle growth, and overall health.

Hormonal Belly

Ways To Reduce the Hormonal Belly:

By Initiating Diet and Exercise:

It is very difficult to lose fat from a specific part of the body. Consuming a healthier variety of foods with lower calorie intake and increased workouts helps to reduce overall weight. Following suggestions can be adopted, which helps in making the hormonal belly flatter. 

  • Consume more fibre rich foods, which helps in maintaining bowel regularity. Fibre also controls the hunger hormone and eventually provides satiety. Fibre is present in the skins and peels of various fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, carrots. 
  • Limit the intake of alcohol which has been linked to abdominal obesity.
  • Avoid foods high in sugar, trans fats, and refined carbs, contributing to weight gain and bloating.
  • Drinking lots of water helps to keep the appetite in check and prevent constipation.
  • Lift weights and perform other resistance training.
  • Do aerobic exercise, one of the most effective exercises to get rid of visceral fat.
  • Do ab exercises that focus on your core, such as planks, bridges, and crunches.
Hormonal Belly

Consuming Hormone-Balancing Foods:

  • Diet plays a significant role to balance the hormone cycles. When hormones such as insulin, in particular, go haywire, our body might store up extra belly fat or even develop type 2 diabetes. Consistently eating high fibre foods helps in setting insulin levels. Consume nourishing and hormone-balancing foods like broccoli, chickpeas, lean proteins, and sour cherries.
Hormonal Belly

Medications:

Various sorts of medications also help to reduce the belly bulge, which includes the following

  • Fiber supplements are medications that act as laxatives to relieve constipation.
  • Probiotics help a lot in losing weight and reducing bloating.
  • Medications are also available for inflammatory bowel syndrome and help to reduce the symptoms.
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause is also available.

Reducing Stress:

Managing the stress conditions also help to lose weight effectively. A person can adopt the following techniques to reduce stress such as: 

  • Trying the relaxation techniques, including meditation and yoga
  • Spending spare time with your beloved ones and sharing your opinions and thoughts helps tackle the stress issues.
  • Taking care of the pets like a dog or a parrot.
  • Listening to good music is also considered as a therapy to reduce stress.
  • Walking in a garden or biking ride also helps to relieve stress.
  • Engaging oneself in a favourite hobby also reduces stress.
Hormonal Belly

Get More Sleep:

Getting a safe and sound sleep of up to eight hours a day helps to reduce stress and further helps to lose weight. If you face difficulty getting a night of better sleep, try these ways which help a lot in the suspect:

  • Try to engage in some relaxing activity before going to bed.
  • Reduce the screen timing as it may lead to insomnia.
  • Create a sleep environment in a comfortable way as possible.
  • If you still face any sleep troubles, then it is better to consult a doctor. 
Hormonal Belly

Foods Helping to Balance the Hormones:

Soy:

Soy is known to provide exceptional benefits in treating the disturbed hormones because of its active element, isoflavones. SOy provides estrogen-like properties and is known to decrease the levels of hot flashes in women facing menopausal symptoms. Researches have shown that more than 6,000 women who consume soy isoflavones and phytoestrogens have been found to reduce the symptoms of hot flashes and vaginal dryness. 

It is good to consume soy from whole foods like tofu, tempeh, miso and edamame.  

Hormonal Belly

Broccoli:

Cruciferous vegetables are rich in glucosinolate, which alter the metabolism of specific disease-causing hormones. Researches have shown that eating more cruciferous veggies like broccoli is associated with lowering the risks of lung and colorectal cancers. Glucosinolate is available in green vegetable sources like cauliflower, kale, cabbage or lettuce. 

Hormonal Belly

Chickpeas:

Vitamins like folate and B6 play an integral role in the metabolism of good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Early researches have started to investigate their role in reducing the symptoms of hormonal depression.

Chickpeas help to boost the mood. Enjoy beans tossed into soups or salads, pureed into hummus, or roasted for a crispy snack.

Hormonal Belly

Sour Cherries:

Sour cherries might be able to help to balance the hormone. Sour cherries are rich in phytochemicals like melatonin which is the natural sleep hormone that rises. Studies have found that the consumption of tart cherry juice increases melatonin levels, which helps improve sleep duration and quality in men and women.

Hormonal Belly

 Chicken Breasts:

 Researches have suggested that higher-protein diets increase satiety hormones like leptin, which help us feel fuller. Chicken breast consumption also influences the anabolic hormones responsible for muscle building after a weight-lifting session. One can quickly get your protein fill with fish, beef, beans, legumes, or dairy.

  • Top of Form
  • Bottom of Form
Hormonal Belly

Foods that Unbalance the Hormone Levels:

High-Fructose Corn Syrup:

It is recommended to consume processed sugars in deficient quantities. Researchers have found that fructose in many processed foods, does not boost satiety levels and hormones. Eventually, this leads to more consumption of calories daily.

The most common reproductive disorder in women is polycystic ovary syndrome, which can be treated by following a wide variety of diets high in fiber and low in glycemic index. Hormonal insulin response can also be slowed by swapping the sugars like honey, molasses, maple syrup and white sugar with fruits high in fiber.  

Fried Food:

Packaged fried convenience foods are always a source of trans fats. According to a study, it was concluded that the men who consume the higher amount of trans fats had shown the results of impaired testicular volume and an elevated level of luteinizing hormones.

Other research has concluded that men with the highest intakes of trans fats had 37 per cent lower sperm count. 

Hormonal Belly

Artificial Sweeteners:

Several studies have also shown that lowering the consumption of artificial sweeteners also helps in altering the healthy gut bacteria and impacts the balance of hunger and satiety hormones such as leptin and ghrelin. It could explain why several studies have linked consuming artificial sweeteners to increased appetite, motivation to eat, and food preferences. 

Alcohol:

Research has shown that alcohol intake in non-alcoholic adults is associated with increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which, in turn, plays a role in developing metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes.

Hormonal Belly

 Fat-Free Milk:

Research has found a link between consuming low-fat or fat-based dairy products like skim milk causes acne in adults or pre-teens. These dairy products seem to release the hormone IGF-1 when the proteins found in milk are digested. These proteins trigger breakouts and acne.

Also Read: What is Galveston Diet? Prerequites, Food Habits, and Unbelievable Health Implications

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How to get rid of the hormonal belly fat?

A person can reduce hormonal belly fat by consuming soluble fiber and a high protein diet and avoid trans fats, refined carbs and sugar-based food items. Limit alcohol intake and reduce stress levels.

How to get rid of mom belly fat?

The only way to reduce the fat from the belly portion is to reduce the body’s overall weight. Reducing the fat only from the specific part of the body is quite tricky.

How can a person get rid of PCOs belly?

Women can reduce PCOs belly by limiting their carb intake and sugary foods. Increase the consumption of Fibre-based foods, high-protein diets, fermented foods and practice mindful eating.

How to detect a hormonal belly?

If a person is always hungry, losing a lot of hair, always feel stress and craves sugar, these are the signs that you will gain a hormonal belly. Other than this, some characters have lesser satiety levels even after eating food and weight gain only in the abdominal region.

What are the types of PCOs?

Insulin resistant, pill-induced, inflammatory and hidden PCOs are some examples of PCOs.

Does PCOS induce a bigger and fatty stomach?

PCOs lead to hormonal chaos and encourages belly fat weight gain, especially in the lower abdomen.

What is meant by stress belly?

In the stress belly, hormones affect weight and increase belly fat. The primary stress hormone which is cortisol has shown an association with abdominal obesity.

Dr. Zainab Naeem

Hello! My name is Dr. Zainab Naeem, and I am a Nutritionist/Dietitian by profession. I am also impassioned to spread knowledge about ‘9Lifestyle medicine’, ‘Human Nutrition’, and ‘Dietetics’ so that people can stop believing the wrong concepts about food and habits they have adopted over the years, which hinders the real joy of their life. This site is an excellent platform for me to share some of my medical knowledge and experience extracts. The power of words helps me to spread up-to-date and current research studies.

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