Weight Gain during Menopause: Is It Normal?
For many women, menopause is a time of significant change. Along with the physical transitions that come with menopause, a woman’s weight and body composition may fluctuate during this period.Some women find that they suddenly start gaining weight during menopause, even if they haven’t changed their diet or exercise habits. So is weight gain during menopause normal? And more importantly, what can you do about it?
What Causes Weight Gain During Menopause?
Different factors contribute to weight gain during menopause. First, menopause is associated with a decrease in estrogen levels, which help regulate metabolism and body fat—a decrease in estrogen can lead to increased body fat.
Menopause can also lead to changes in insulin resistance, causing the body to store more fat, particularly around the waist.
Finally, menopause can also lead to changes in hormone levels that can impact your appetite and the signals in your brain that tell you whether you’re hungry or full!
All these factors combined can make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight during menopause. So yes, it is completely normal to gain weight during menopause!
Menopausal weight gain may also be caused by hereditary factors. If your parents or other close relatives have a belly fat problem, you’re more likely to acquire it as well.
Other reasons, such as a lack of activity, poor nutrition, and insufficient sleep, might all play a role in menopause weight gain. People who don’t get enough sleep tend to snack more and consume more calories.
Menopause-related hormone changes might make you more prone to gain weight around your stomach than on your hips and thighs. However, hormonal variations alone do not always lead to weight gain during menopause. Instead, age-related weight gain is usually accompanied by lifestyle and genetic reasons.
What are the Different Phases of Menopause?
There are three different phases of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.
Perimenopause is the phase leading up to menopause, during which estrogen levels start to fluctuate and decline. These changes can cause menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and difficulty sleeping. Perimenopause typically starts in a woman’s ’40s, but it can sometimes start in her ’30s or ’50s.
During perimenopause, your estrogen levels begin to fluctuate, prompting your body to seek an estrogen replacement. One of these replacements is estriol, which contributes greatly to weight gain during this period in a woman’s life.
Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her menstrual periods stop, and she can no longer become pregnant. The average age for menopause is 51, but many women experience menopausal symptoms sometime in their 40s.
The physical changes that occur during menopause are due to a decrease in estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes can cause various menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and weight gain. For many women, these changes are mild and manageable, but for others, menopause can be a difficult time with more severe symptoms that significantly impact their quality of life.
Postmenopause is the phase of menopause after menopause, lasting until the end of a woman’s life. During postmenopause, estrogen levels continue to decline, and menopausal symptoms can continue to occur.
How Do Hormones Affect Metabolism?
The menopausal hormone changes can impact metabolism and body weight. Estrogen helps regulate metabolism, which is why a decrease in estrogen can increase body fat. Additionally, menopause can promote changes in insulin resistance, causing the body to store more fat, particularly around the waist. Finally, menopause can change hormonal levels, impacting appetite and fullness signals. All these factors make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight during menopause.
How to Manage Weight Gain during Menopause?
There is no magic solution to absolutely preventing weight gain during menopause, but there are ways where you can manage your weight to avoid adding those extra pounds.
1: Get Out and Get Moving
One great tip is to get out and move more! A healthy weight is determined by genetics, environment, and personal choice. Excess weight can be shed through physical activity, including aerobic exercise and strength training. As you build muscle, your body burns calories more effectively, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
For most healthy adults, 150 minutes of weekly moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes of weekly vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging, is recommended.
2: Check Your Sweet Tooth
The average American consumed 2,481 calories a day in 2010, about 23% more than in 1970. Roughly half of these calories come from sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, juices, energy drinks, flavored waters, and sweetened coffee and tea. You can prevent weight gain by controlling your intake of sweets and by finding healthier alternatives to satisfy your cravings.
3: Have a Great Support System
Surround yourself with friends and family who will help you stick to a healthy diet and increase your physical activity. Even better, join forces and make lifestyle changes together!
4: Consider Treatment Options
Hormone therapy, such as estrogen replacement or a combination of estrogen and progesterone, is perfect for treating menopausal symptoms!
A recent study shows that HRT can also help improve brain function during menopause. The study found that women who took HRT had better verbal memory, processing speed, and executive function than women who did not take HRT.
Other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and other menopausal symptoms, can also be helped by HRT. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we encourage you to talk to your doctor about HRT as a possible treatment option.
Talk to Dr. Chang About Your Personalized Treatment Today!
If you are looking for a qualified and experienced hormone therapy provider, look no further than MedHealth 360! We offer a wide range of hormone therapy treatments, including bioidentical progesterone replacement therapy.
Our team of experts, led by Board-Certified Dr. Phillip Chang, is dedicated to helping you achieve your health goals. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you feel your best! Our blog is also here to provide you with information about various health topics, and we invite you to check back often for new posts.
We offer complimentary consultations at our MedHealth360 wellness clinic in Leesburg, VA and would be happy to help you navigate the challenges of female menopause. Call 7037295553 or open a live chat with us on our website to get started today!