When a woman’s reproductive ability ceases, chances are she may gain weight—a typical perimenopausal and menopausal symptom. Normal menopausal age starts at our 40’s to 50’s. At this time, the egg reproduction in women’s ovaries stops. There are three stages to it, the perimenopause (before the actual menopause), menopause and the post menopause.
Common menopause symptoms includes irregular periods and stopped one eventually, moods wings, palpitation, headaches, vaginal dryness, insomnia, depression and weight gain among others.
Long Term Health Problems
Menopause can be causing several long term health problems. Osteoporosis is one. Heart disease can also be possible. Women also became prone to poor bladder and bowel function. Alzheimer’s disease tends to catch up at this stage of a woman’s life. Wrinkling, vision problems and reduction of muscle power can also be experienced.
Another concern for many during menopausal stage is the risk of weight gain which could further result to other complications. 30% of women aged 50 to 59, clearly past or during their menopausal stages, are overweight or obese.
Why Women are Prone to Weight Gain During Menopause
Menopausal stage is a very challenging moment in a woman’s life especially with the weight gain talk. There are different factors to contributing to the challenge. And the combination of them all will affect a woman emotionally, physically and mentally if not addressed rightly.
- Lowered Estrogen. Estrogen is the major contributor to the menopausal symptoms. During this stage, women have reduced estrogen production. Estrogen, as studies shows, is a big factor in weight regulation. Lower estrogen can cause lower metabolic rate among women. Because of the hormones’ decline, the body may start using starches and glucose in reduced efficiency.
- Lowered Progesterone. Mostly, estrogen is more mentioned than progesterone among the factors that contributes to weight gain. Though progesterone opposes the action of estrogen on insulin, it still works with the former in controlling the negative impact of cortisol. Cortisol and insulin may cause fat storage, even lowered burning of fats, but muscles instead.
- Increased Androgen. Increased androgen can cause the extra middle age spread in the hips and the thighs.
- Lowered testosterone. Lowered testosterone can cause the diminished transformation of calories into muscle mass. This causes lowered metabolic rate as well.
- With lowered progesterone, insulin and cortisol may increase belly fat storage and it gets even harder during menopausal stage.
- Age Related Factor. Menopause occurs during middle years, at which all other age related factors makes weight maintenance and loss seemed harder. Age makes women less active. Exercise at this stage is even low to non-existing. When you start aging, your resting metabolism is lessened because of losing muscle mass which makes it altogether hard to gain weight and even harder to shed it.
How to Deflect Weight Gain During Menopause
90% of women undergoing menopause gains weight in one or another. But there are ways to deflect and ward it off. Take it below.
- Exercise. Exercising, though would take much effort due to age factors, would clearly be a solution. Be active as much as possible, set a routine. A simple walk can start everything. And can even improve your quality of life. Aerobic activities, strength training, stretching are advisable.
- Relax, relieve stress. Never let stress get the best of you. Stress is a major ill contributor to your health as well as your weight. Take a walk, do something you love, enjoy simple things and take your mind off from trivial matters at hand.
- HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy. Since low estrogen causes slow metabolism, fat gain and increase hunger, a hormonal therapy can be advisable. It can also be a solution to your middle age spread.
- Eat less but eat healthier. Eat less calories and take outs, eat more natural foods. Bank on fruits and vegetables too. Pay attention to what you are eating, eat less bad food but never skip meals.
- Talk to someone. A simple talk or a conversation with someone undergoing what you are experiencing can be therapeutic. This will help clear your mind, let you get to see things and would even offer you valuable tips to chase away fats.
Menopause is a challenge for women. But with the prior knowledge of what you will be going through, you may surpass it unscathed, minus the weight gain.