Menopause And Weight Gain – Understanding The Relation

This is a guest page by Sanjay Rane.

As a matter of course, weight gain during menopause seems to be inevitable. Although the menopause is a natural phenomenon and symptoms like joint pain, hot flashes and night sweats are common, many women think they just can’t arrest this weight gain. Now the question is…Can you really lose those extra 10 to 15 pounds? The answer is certain “yes” if you follow a certain diet and higher activity level. But before going through weight loss techniques, let us understand the weight gain process during menopause and the causes behind…

Menopause and weight gain

The onset of menopause witnesses change in the levels of reproductive hormones. Due to shutting down of ovaries, the secretions of hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone drop off considerably and almost ceased at the end of menopause phase. Let us understand the decreased level of estrogen and its relation with weight gain.

Basically, estrogen is a collective term used for hormones like estradiol, estriol, estrone etc. In human body, ovaries, liver, adrenal glands and adipose tissues (fat) produce estrogen, the ovaries being the primary source of it. During menopause, ovaries cease the secretion of estrogen; so to compensate this decreased secretion, produces more fat as adipose tissues now become main source of estrogen. This increased level of fatty tissues lead to obvious weight gain.

Another hormone that makes a difference is testosterone. As you know, this hormone contributes to the rate of metabolism and as there is a decrease in its secretion level, your body burns fewer calories during menopause. The combined effect of these changed levels of hormones lead to altered fat distribution.

Normally, in men fat distribution is more in midsection area than buttocks and limbs, while in women, it is more on buttocks, limbs and upper arm than midsection area. During menopause, women experience even distribution of fat due to altered ratio of estrogen to androgen secretion that leads to fat deposition in midsection area.

How to stop weight gain during menopause

Unfortunately, as many of us seek, arresting weight gain is not going to be a quick process. It is a continuous process you have to go through to check keep your body weight under control. Healthy lifestyle that includes proper balanced menopause diet and higher activity level is of much importance.

Menopause diet

Studies have shown that proper diet during this stage not only helps to lose weight but also to counter other symptoms of menopause. So balanced diet is the key. To make your diet a balanced one, pay attention to the food groups you are using (include at least one from each food group).

Try to avoid saturated fat group, reduce your fat intake and go for lots of vegetables and fruits. To enhance your circulation include oily fish (for omega-3 intake) in your diet. Use whole grain instead of processed flour. During this stage, intake of sufficient calcium is very important. Cut down your fried food, instead use grilled or boiled food. Get yourself into the habit of having three small meals combined with small snacks in between that are rich in nutrition every day. Reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption. Drink plenty of water.

Higher activity level

I have not used the word “exercise” specifically (exercises that too daily can be annoying for few!). Choose activities that will be fun to you and yet will help you to burn those extra calories. Dancing, swimming, walking even gardening will do. Our aim should be leading an active life. And for those who love exercise, try resistance training.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

To treat hormonal imbalance that comes with menopause, HRT is used. With a simple blood test, your physician can determine the specifics of this therapy to restore depleted hormone level. Although there are number of synthetically produced hormones used in hormone replacement therapy, Bioidentical Hormones can be considered as best option as they have identical chemical structure and effect as that of naturally produced hormones by human body.

Again HRT too incorporates proper diet plan and regular exercise.

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