Menopause takes place when a woman’s monthly period stops and she stops ovulating. Technically, the time when her monthly cycle stops is called premenopause, it’s only called menopause a year after. Menopause comes with its own set of negative effects, one of the most dreaded ones being weight gain, particularly in the tummy region.
Weight gain during menopause is typically due to a drop in estrogen levels, lifestyle factors, lack of exercise, diet and age-related muscle loss. As we age, our muscles give in and begin to reduce in bulk. Our metabolism slows down and our stress levels rise. However, the exact process that leads to weight gain and its different contributing factors are still not understood by experts.
Other physical changes that may come with menopause include changes in skin, such as loss of elasticity and dryness, hair loss or hair growth and vaginal dryness. Physical changes often have a major impact on a woman’s self-esteem and body image.
One large study conducted by the International Menopause Society in 2012 found out shifts in hormonal levels may affect the distribution of fat in the body, concentrating most fat in the abdominal region.
As women age, their risk of heart disease rises, which may be partially due to their tendency to put on weight in their abdominal region as a result of menopause. Body fat stored around internal organs and within the abdominal wall is a contributing factor for heart disease.
Fortunately, some of the symptoms of menopause are manageable if you act proactively. Menopause is a very emotional stage in a woman’s life. Try your best to not succumb to the negative emotions. Your hormones may be going crazy at this stage but you just need to keep calm and try to find the best solution that works for you and there are many solutions out there, so there’s nothing to worry about.
Causes of Weight Gain during Menopause
The hormonal changes during menopause are more likely to lead to weight gain, especially around the abdomen. As mentioned before, hormonal changes aren’t the only causes of weight gain. Other factors associated with aging such as genetic factors and lifestyle changes may contribute to weight gain as well.
Loss of muscle mass with age decreases the body’s capacity to utilize calories at a given time. This makes it more difficult for a woman to maintain a healthy weight. Therefore, if a woman continues her normal diet and doesn’t increase her level of physical activity, she is likely to gain weight during this stage of her life.