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Does A Woman’s Body Shape Change After Menopause

Women Really Do Get A ‘spare Tyre’ Of Fat After The Menopause

Body Shape Changes During Menopause
  • Women’s bodies change shape after the menopause
  • Before menopause, women store excess fat around their legs and hips afterwards, around the middle
  • But storing fat around the abdomen is riskier for health, raising the risk of heart disease and cancer

14:14 EST, 28 March 2013 | Updated:

After the menopause women’s shapes change to be more like those of men

Women really are more likely to develop a ‘spare tyre’ around their waist after the menopause, say researchers.

Changes experienced by women of this age cause fat to be distributed differently meaning extra weight is more likely to settle on the waist, rather than the hips.

Thats why some older women lose their hour-glass figures and become more apple-shaped, like men, say the researchers from Concordia University in the U.S.

This change in body shape can have stark health implications because fat stored around the stomach is much more dangerous that than located on the thighs and hips.

The fat stored on our hips and thighs, is relatively harmless, explained study author Dr Sylvia Santosa.

But the fat stored around the abdomen is more dangerous.

It has been associated with diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even some cancers.

When post-menopausal women put on more abdominal fat, they dramatically increase their risk for these health problems.

‘Given these dangers, it is very important to understand the how the lower levels of oestrogen associated with menopause changes where fat is stored.

Understanding The Menopausal Transition

Menopause is a point in time 12 months after a woman’s last period. The years leading up to that point, when women may have changes in their monthly cycles, hot flashes, or other symptoms, are called the menopausal transition, or perimenopause.

The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55. It usually lasts about 7 years but can last as long as 14 years. During the menopausal transition, the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones made by the ovaries, varies greatly. Bones become less dense, making women more vulnerable to fractures. During this period, too, the body begins to use energy differently, fat cells change, and women may gain weight more easily.

Menopause may be triggered by a hysterectomy or surgical removal of the ovaries, which produce hormones. If you have surgery to remove your ovaries or uterus and are not taking hormones, you will experience the symptoms of menopause immediately.

This time in a woman’s life is often full of other transitionsnot just physical ones. Women may be caring for aging parents or relatives, supporting their children as they move into adulthood, or taking on new responsibilities at work.

Your Testosterone Levels May Decrease

Generally speaking, testosterone levels tend to decrease as men age, especially after 50, points out Stanton Honig, MD, director of Male Urology at Yale Medicine. “This may result in increased fat, decreased muscle mass, and more difficulty with maintaining muscle mass,” he says. Besides, the prostate tends to grow in men over the age of 50, and in some patients may result in urinary symptoms such as getting up a lot at night, frequent urination and urgency to run to the bathroom.

The Rx: Dr. Honing explains that a healthy lifestyle helps avoid low testosterone. “Eating better and exercising can improve matters for men diagnosed with the condition many also have other health challenges, such as obesity or diabetes, which lifestyle changes can help,” he says. Additionally, testosterone therapy can be prescribed for men with low testosterone caused by an androgen deficiency but this is more for sexual interest than hardness. “If the doctor determines that there are psychological rather than health-related roots to his erectile issues, such as depression, stress or anxiety, antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications can be helpful,” he adds. Or, if there are relationship problems, consider counseling. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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Surprising Ways Your Vagina Might Change After Menopause

The Change’ lives up to its name. 63% of healthy women over the age of 60, experience at least one symptom of vaginal atrophy after menopause.

Something we werenât prepared for in our grade school health class was how our bodies might change during and after menopause. âThe changeâ really lives up to its name as there are numerous ways our bodies change. During and after menopause, because of the lack of estrogen, the most intimate parts of our bodies may begin to change.

Not all women will experience these vaginal changes, but many women do. The changes are often lumped together and referred to as vaginal atrophy which can occur because of low levels of estrogen. After menopause, the ovaries stop producing higher levels of estrogen which can cause many changes to the body.

A Womans Changing Body

Body Guide: Does a Womans Body Shape Change After ...

Your likes, dislikes and perspectives have undoubtedly changed over timeand, though you may not realize all the ways, so has your body.

Understanding how the stages of your life affect you can help you understand how to adjust your wellness routine as you age. Likewise, it can help you appreciate what stays the same: the importance of caring for your body, mind and spirit throughout every moment of lifes journey.

Body Weight

The gains in body fat that both genders experience after age 30 often stop in men at around 55, but weight gain tends to continue in women until about 65. Excess weight tends to settle on womens hips and thighs from puberty through menopause. After that, however, a womans extra pounds are more likely to be unhealthy belly fat, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Eating a healthy diet and exercising to manage weight is always important, but its especially crucial as you age.

Bones

Heart

Breasts

Pelvic and Reproductive Health

Your sexual, reproductive and urinary health depends on strong muscles and ligaments that support your pelvic floor. Childbirth, hysterectomies and menopause can cause changes, leading to conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse, when the pelvic organs slip out of place, and urinary incontinence, an inability to control urination. Maintaining pelvic-floor and core strength can help you prevent these issues. The basic pelvic floor exercise, Kegels, is simple:

Skin

Hair

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How Does Premature Menopause Affect Your Body

Youll go through the same changes during premature menopause as you would if you entered menopause naturally. The sudden loss of hormones triggers all the classic symptoms, including:

  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness

Since estrogen affects tissues throughout your body, system-wide changes take place such as:

  • Loss of bone density and increased risk for osteoporosis
  • Accelerated skin aging due to dehydration and loss of collagen
  • Changes in blood vessels that increase the risk for cardiovascular disease

Although hormone-related changes following an oophorectomy can be difficult and affect your quality of life, its important to know that medical therapies and rejuvenation with the advanced MonaLisa Touch® are available to alleviate premature menopause symptoms.

Menopause Belly: What Causes It And How To Fix It

Learn ways to beat the menopause belly with diet and exercise.

For many postmenopausal women, one of the most vexing changes is a shift in body fat storage to the front and sides of their abdomen.

This phenomenon, also known as menopause belly, is a result of shifting hormones, an activation of a menopausal gene, as well as changes in exercise and diet.

A decline in estrogen causes fat cells in the abdominal area to store more fat. It may even reduce your bodys ability to burn fat.

When the menopause gene is switched on, it contributes to belly fat. Heres 3 simple ways women can turn this gene off.

Unfortunately, most women gain between five to ten pounds during the first decade after menopause.

Research shows that postmenopausal women have an increase in intra-abdominal and trunk fat when compared to premenopausal women.

The studies found that during early menopause, theres an increase in intra-abdominal fatthe deeper visceral body fat. These changes were consistent across age and weight.

An increase in intra-abdominal fat is linked to a higher risk of high blood pressure, myocardial infarction, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol.

Therefore, this shift in body fat storage is more than just a cosmetic issue.

The decline in hormones during and after menopause is just one part of the menopause belly. For many women, their level of activity slows with age.

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Oestrogen And Fat Distribution At Menopause

A change in hormone levels, mainly oestrogen, may influence body fat distribution.

Many women in perimenopause and early post menopause years gain fat mass as their oestrogen levels drop. Women of childbearing age tend to store fat in the lower body , while men and postmenopausal women store fat around the abdomen .

Animal studies have shown that a lack of oestrogen leads to unwanted abdominal fat, although the exact mechanisms are not yet understood.

Watch Your Carbohydrate Intake

How menopause changes your body and what you can do about it.

Not all nutrients are created equal, and some experts believe that a steady diet heavy in unrefined carbs like pasta and bread are a significant factor for excess belly fat. Carbs are the enemy of the middle-aged woman, says Dr. Boling. If you are perimenopausal, look at how much sugar you are eating. Carbs turn into sugar in our bodies. Some turn faster, like candy bars, oatmeal burns slower, but eventually it all turns to sugar. If you are aware of how many carbs you are eating, you are going to do better. Research published in April 2017 in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a reduced-carbohydrate diet may decrease the risk of postmenopausal weight gain.

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You Are More Prone To Arthritis

Unless you don’t own a television, you are well aware that arthritis is a significant issue with people over 50and not just in your hands. “Rheumatoid Arthritis typically appears in both feet while Osteoarthritis affects one foot,” explains Dr. Petkov. “It is caused by inflammation of the cartilage and joints.” Suffering from arthritis can lead to decreased activity levels and mobility.

The Rx: Dr. Petkov suggests investing in proper footwear and custom shoe inserts, and doing your best to stay active. “Working out 2-3 times a week helps maintain good joint function,” he says. Also, seek professional medical help to treat the symptoms.

How Menopause Changes Your Body And What You Can Do About It

Home»How Menopause Changes Your Body and What You Can Do About It

Editors Note: This post was updated on , for accuracy and comprehensiveness. It was originally published on May 27, 2017

Menopause, which literally means the pause of your menses , comes with many natural changes. Some women are lucky enough to skate through this time with no discomfort, while many experience the classic symptoms: fatigue, insomnia, and hot flashes. Reproductive and mood changes. And of course, the metabolic changes that result in weight gain around the torso and buttocks.

This increase in waist size has even earned a special name: menopot.

What exactly is going on during menopause, how does it affect your body composition, and what can you do about it? Read on as we answer these questions and more.

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What Other Studies Say

According to The North American Medical Society, ), the bond between the change of life and adaptations in a womans body composition are not always understood completely. While a few additional research have examined the effect on a womans weight gain and body changes, the study of Womens Health Across the Nation delivers adequately large and comprehensive information, which allows researchers to unravel the effects of sequential aging, as well as generative aging.

During the research process ), eighteen years of information was gathered, which evaluated womens body composition, utilizing a model that gave researchers an image of that composition when each woman began menopausal symptoms and after. Each study documented racial/ethnic diversities during the study as well and hormone therapy.

there was no evidence that this natural change in a womans body led to weight gain

Blame Low Estrogen Levels

Why Is It So Common to Gain Belly Fat after Menopause?

As women go through perimenopausethe multi-year period that precedes the total cessation of menstrual cyclestheir ovaries gradually produce fewer female hormones, particularly estrogen. By the time a womans menstrual cycles have stopped, her body produces almost no estrogen.

Its this lack of estrogen that seems to trigger a shift in fat. Almost all women gain weight as they get older, but studies have found that women who have entered menopause have significantly more visceral fat, or fat located deep in the abdomen, than similar-aged women who have not yet experienced menopause. Some women remain the same weight before and after but notice a significant challenge in their silhouette. In almost every case, women add inches to their waist after menopause.

Women who use hormone therapy to treat menopausal symptoms tend to have less visceral or belly fat than other menopausal women, which lends support to the theory that lack of estrogen drives the accumulation of belly fat. Unfortunately, when women stop hormone therapy, they gain belly fat.

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Lifestyle Changes May Not Always Be Enough To Control Biologically Driven Body Changes

You spend hours in the gym every day. You eat nothing but grilled chicken, fish, and salads. Yet the numbers on the scale don’t budge or worse, they slowly creep up, along with your waist measurement.

Welcome to menopause.

“The change” actually does bring changes for many women, including weight gain that can resist even the most diligent efforts to reverse it, says Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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Metabolism Changes And Weight

Another factor contributing to weight gain is a drop in metabolism, which begins to decline in your 30s.

“Metabolism is down between 10 and 15 percent by age 50,” says Boling. Loss of muscle contributes largely to a decrease in metabolism, since muscle burns more calories at rest than fat.

“Muscle loss is one of the most underrated health issues after 40 and 50,” says Suzette Pereira, researcher with Abbott Nutrition, Columbus, Ohio, specializing in muscle health and muscle loss associated with age. “Thirty to 40 percent of our body is muscle. Muscle loss occurs slowly but accelerates over time.”

Feeling weaker or fatigued after a walk may be signs of muscle loss, Boling says. Muscle atrophy also relates to weaker bones and can contribute to osteoporosis over time.

A survey by AARP and Abbott of nearly 1,500 people found that although 73 percent of survey participants recognize they naturally lose muscle with age, only 13 percent know the importance of maintaining muscle mass with age.

“It’s not about abs and biceps,” says Pereira. “It’s about fat burning and maintaining your posture and also dealing with health setbacks.”

According to the survey, more than a third of respondents reported being hospitalized after 50 due to chronic disease loss of strength and muscle were among their greatest recovery concerns.

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Help Your Liver And Gut Function

Perimenopause weight gain radically depends on the liver and gall-bladder. Fats are burned and broken down by bile, and bile for your information is found in the gall bladder. As for the liver, it requires vitamins to work, and then we receive energy. So, you should follow simple rules eat properly, exercise, avoid alcohol, and toxins, and discuss with your doctor the meal plan that will contribute to liver and gut health, as well as to understanding and preventing perimenopause weight gain.

Choose Fats Wisely And Eat Meals With Healthy Fats To Counter Weight Gain

4 body odour changes during menopause

Fat adds flavor, makes our food taste better, and is part of a healthy diet. So the good news is that it isnt necessary or recommended to completely eliminate it from your diet altogether. You just need to learn how to be more choosy, says Palumbo. Think more walnuts, and fewer Whoppers.

The healthiest fats are the ones that derive from vegetable sources like olives and nuts, but keep in mind that healthy fats like those found in avocados have the same number of calories as the fat found in an ice cream sundae. An ounce of nuts has 170 calories, so you have to be very careful, says Palumbo. The same goes with extra virgin olive oil. The American way is to go overboard, so you have to be extremely cautious when you use it and measure the amounts of fats and oils that you consume.

And restaurant meals once again are not your friends in the fat department. Restaurants are not in business to make us healthy. They add a lot of flavor carriers, which are known as fats, Palumbo says. Salad dressings are one of the biggest sources of added fat in our diet, so be sure to order your salad with the dressing on the side.

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