As women, we all know that we are not shaped exactly the same way as each other. However, Marla Ahlgrimm says that many women don’t know that their hormones can affect the shape and size of their bodies.
What Are Hormones?
Simply put, Marla Ahlgrimm says that hormones are chemical messengers that tell the body how to metabolize, grow, develop, and reproduce. These invisible and naturally-occurring chemicals also play a role in determining body shape.
Marla Ahlgrimm explains the different hormones affect different aspects of the body and its composition. Estrogen, for example, is responsible for many characteristics of the female body, including breasts and hips. Too little estrogen, and a woman may have smaller hips or smaller breasts. Similarly, testosterone affects things like muscle mass. So too much testosterone can leave a woman with a more athletic build.
Further, hormone levels change throughout a woman’s lifetime thanks to age, pregnancy, menopause, and more. These changes can also affect a woman’s body shape.
During puberty, Marla Ahlgrimm says that hormone levels increase. This leads to noticeable changes in the body, such as the development of more rounded breasts and more defined hips. And girls are not the only ones who experience physical changes thanks to puberty hormones. Boys may develop more muscle and broader shoulders between ages 13 and 17.
Marla Ahlgrimm notes that pregnancy also brings wildly fluctuating hormones. This can lead to increased breast size, hip and abdominal weight gain, and a wider waist. While many of these changes are temporary, some women hold onto extra weight in these areas throughout their lifetime.
Sometime around the age of 50, Marla Ahlgrimm says most women will experience menopause, the natural ending of their body’s fertility. During this time, the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone. A woman’s body may change to include thinner skin, bone loss, less muscle mass, and a more prominent abdomen.
Other Factors That Determine Body Shape
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, hormones are not the only thing that affect body shape. Genetics also play a part as does diet, exercise, and lifestyle.
Common Body Shapes in Women
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong shape for a woman regardless of age. Marla Ahlgrimm says that women who eat healthfully and maintain physical activity can still expect some changes in their bodies throughout their lifetime. While this is usually no cause for concern, she also recommends that women talk to their doctors if they notice weight gain (or weight loss) that can’t be attributed to a change in diet, hormones, or activity levels.