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Does Your Body Shape Change During Menopause

Nomenclature Of The Menopause Obesity And Body Composition

Body shape changes during menopause & why they happen

The hallmark of menopause is the FMP, defined as the last menstrual period followed by 12 months of amenorrhea. However, the menopausal transition begins 510 years before a womans FMP and is characterized by menstrual cycle variability and fluctuations in reproductive hormone levels . The transition ends years after the FMP and is characterized by stabilization in reproductive hormone levels. The 2011 International Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop has incorporated findings from longitudinal studies of hormone data and bleeding characteristics to develop a framework for staging menopause that has been widely implemented in contemporary clinical and research settings . Prior to the adoption of STRAW+10, the stages of menopause were commonly based upon bleeding patterns . Postmenopause was the period of time following the FMP. Perimenopause preceded the FMP and was characterized by menstrual cycle irregularity. Premenopause preceded perimenopause and was characterized by regular menses. While the STRAW classification system still relies upon the menstrual cycle to define stages of menopause, the modified staging recognizes that particular changes in menstrual flow can define late reproductive years versus early reproductive years and early versus late menopausal transition stages. In addition, early versus late postmenopausal transitions can be defined using sex steroids and other hormone markers.

You May Feel More Tired

According to CNBC, working mothers are still doing most of the chores at home, so it’s no wonder so many of us are so exhausted. But if you’re already feeling tired, when you go through menopause you may feel even more so, as noted by OB/GYN Dr. Tara Scott. “First, the fall in estrogen does cause a decrease in energy,” she explained to The List. “Next, the fall in androgens DHEA and testosterone also influence your energy.” And that alone can cause you to drag during the day.

There’s another factor at play when it comes to menopause and exhaustion, as noted by Scott. “Also, estrogen and progesterone have an affect on your thyroid, so that could also contribute,” she added. That’s all the more reason to take a nap, as that might help you feel more energetic . Of course, talk to your doctor if you’re really struggling.

You May Experience Mood Swings When You Go Through Menopause

It’s not just anxiety and/or depression that you may have to contend with during menopause when it comes to your mental health, according to immunologist Dr. Lina Velikova. “Mood swings are a pretty common and pretty normal side effect of menopause,” she explained to The List. “During menopause, women’s bodies experience a decrease in estrogen levels and more serotonin which should increase mood.” Hey, having a little extra serotonin sounds like a pretty nice benefit! After all, serotonin can make you happier and help with your concentration and anxiety, as noted by Healthline.

Still, there are other factors at play that can take your emotions on a bit of a rollercoaster ride during menopause, says Velikova. “However, other side effects of menopause such as fatigue, irritability, and depression make it harder to be upbeat every day and make mood swings a regular part of the day,” she continued. It is what it is, fam.

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Perimenopause And Hair Loss What You Need To Know

Why your hair may start to thin at this age. Plus expert hair advice, best shampoos and tips on disguising thinner hair.

The perimenopause, the period before full menopause begins, can affect your hairs texture and thickness. You may start to notice that your hair becomes dull and dry, is thinner than it used to be and falls out easier.

This is mainly due to the fact your bodys oestrogen levels are dropping. Oestrogen is important in maintaining the growing phase of your hairs life cycle, so a sudden drop will cause a shorter growth cycle and hair will shed quicker than it used to.

Added to this, menopause causes androgen levels the male hormone in your body to rise as oestrogen falls. Androgens reduce the hair shaft diameter and volume, as they bind to hair follicles and force them to stop growing quicker than normal so that new hair grows thinner with each cycle of hair growth. The hair follicles may also start to shrink, which can lead to hair loss.

To counter these natural body changes, Dr Edward Ball of The Maitland Clinic says it is important to avoid anything that causes stress or harm to your hair. Avoid harsh colouring treatments or chemical procedures such as hair straightening, as this can damage the hair shaft. Be aware that tight hairstyles, such as braiding and ponytails or adding extensions to the hair, can also irritate the hair root and cause hair loss.

Why Is My Body Shape

Exercising Through Pregnancy

Around menopause, waists thicken, hair thins and grays, and skin sags and wrinkles. Single wiry hairs sprout in places we dont expect, and our joints get a bit stiff and achy. We dont sleep well, which is ironic given how easily we seem to tire out.

Most of these changes are blamed on menopause, but some are due to other factors, like aging, heredity and how well you took care of your body in your youth .

Weight gain, in particular, seems to be affected by aging and lifestyle as much as menopause. According to the North American Menopause Society , the older we get, the less active many of us become, whether due to a busy life, health issues, or simply sloth. All the while, lean muscle mass decreases, and fat is more likely to accumulate.

Metabolism also plays a role, says Paul Jennewine, MD, of Middletown Medical Group. The body metabolism rates start to slow typically in the 20s, but picks up pace in slowing in the 30s and each decade thereafter, he explains. Women especially see a progression in their loss of metabolic rates as they hit menopause.

Dr. Jennewine talks about aging and metabolism.

Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.

Why does weight loss seem to be harder as one ages?

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Understanding Weight Gain In Women

Women in our country are conditioned to be very weight-conscious. And for most women, that doesnt change with the onset of menopause. In fact, unwanted weight gain during menopause can make women more self-conscious than ever. More importantly, excess weight can threaten your health, and exacerbate other common symptoms of menopause.

Intercourse May Become More Painful

One of the most important things you need to know about menopause is that there are sexual side effects. That’s a reality that just might happen to your body, as noted by clinical sexologist Dr. Ditza Katz. “You are entering a new phase when your physical, emotional, and sexual health changes,” she explained to The List. “Your vagina becomes less elastic and more prone to chafing irritation, making intercourse painful.” You may also experience vaginal dryness, according to the Mayo Clinic, one of the menopause symptoms that no one prepares you for. That… doesn’t sound pleasant, especially if you have an active intimate life.

Fortunately, Katz says that you’re not necessarily resigned to a fate of celibacy if you don’t want to be. “Don’t let it go,” she continued. “Sexual intimacy is important, and there are solutions.” And those solutions include moisturizers, lubricant, suppositories, and estrogen pills or creams. Additionally, regular intimate activity with someone else or even by yourself can keep your vagina happy and healthy as well.

Read Also: How To Increase Breast Size After Menopause

You May Gain Weight During Menopause

Some of us are lucky enough to eat anything that we want and never gain unwanted pounds. Those unicorns aside, the rest of us definitely notice when we’ve put on a little weight simply by looking at food. Well, no matter which group you belong to, you may find your metabolism changing as you go through menopause, according to immunologist Dr. Lina Velikova. “Many women experience weight gain during menopause due to hormone changes and as a consequence of aging,” she revealed to The List. Yep, even on top of everything else, gaining weight will be easier than ever.

Fortunately, Velikova says that you might not have to buy a bigger pair of jeans after all. “However, weight gain is avoidable even in this period,” she continued. “You’ll have to put some extra effort into keeping it in check.” That, of course, means you’ll have to adjust your diet and exercise regimen in order to stave off the pounds.

Sleep All Night But Well

Body Shape Changes During Menopause

What is the sense of following a diet and exercise if you do not even sleep? Difficulty sleeping is an enemy for our perimenopause weight gain. Menopause itself deteriorates if you have different sleep patterns such as you wake up early, and the next day you wake up very late. The system is not able to get used to such changes, and it affects the functioning of the whole body, in particular, metabolism which deprives you of losing weight. Furthermore, difficulty sleeping affects the production of melatonin that in balanced mode promotes fat-burning capability.

Also Check: Estrogen Dizziness

Your Skin May Change When You Go Through Menopause

The hormonal changes that happen in your body when you go through menopause don’t just have an impact on your libido. Rather, they can also have significant impacts on your skin, according to OB/GYN Dr. Kim Langdon, a medical advisor for Medzino. You may develop “skin wrinkles due to loss of estrogen that leads to loss of collagen,” she told The List. And that “loss of collagen and blood vessels can cause the skin to thin out, which leads to irritation.” This can also cause your breasts to sag, so make sure you have good bras in your drawer to cope with that.

That’s not the end of the story when it comes to your skin, unfortunately, as Langdon says you may want to keep the lotion nearby. That’s because going through menopause can cause “dry skin, again due to lack of estrogen and loss of collagen and oil production,” she continued. Plus, you might also find “hair growth in unwanted places like the upper lip, chin, and lateral cheeks.” Okay, we’re really not excited about these changes!

Menopause And The Gut Microbiome

The gut microbiome is the collection of all the microbes that live in your gut. They influence your bodys response to foods and are important for your overall health.

Research suggests that the diversity of the microbiome is linked to estrogen levels and menopausal state in women. Because of the changes happening in the body during menopause, there may be a change in microbiome diversity as well.

ZOEs PREDICT study, the worlds largest in-depth nutritional study of its kind, explores the relationship between your gut microbiome and your health. The results so far indicate that the gut microbiome is linked with how your bodys metabolism responds to food.

Thats why changes in the microbiome as a result of menopause may contribute to changes in weight.

Based on this cutting-edge research, the ZOE program can help you learn more about your bodys unique metabolic responses to food.

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Menopausal Status And Body Composition

The menopausal transition is associated with changes in other aspects of body composition aside from increasing BMI. First, weight gain is a common complaint among mid-life women , particularly during the menopausal transition . Second, women have relatively greater SAT prior to the FMP versus relatively greater VAT deposition after the FMP , which reflects increased central body fat distribution . During the menopausal transition, the visceral fat depot increases from being 5%8% of total body fat during the premenopausal period to being 15%20% of total fat during the postmenopausal period . Finally, the menopausal transition is associated with decreased lean muscle mass .

Whether these increases are due to advancing age or alterations in reproductive hormones has been debated . While there is not a consensus opinion, the majority of evidence supports changes in BMI and weight with aging and changes in body composition with reproductive hormone changes. Multiple reports note that women tend to gain weight with age, regardless of the menopausal transition . Among women in SWAN age 4055 years, the average 3-year increase in body weight was 4.5 pounds similarly, the Healthy Womens Study reported that women gain 0.7 kg/year during their 5th and 6th decades of life . Other reports have noted that body size and distribution measures changed over the menopause but were largely explained by age .

When Will You Notice Texture Changes


Changes to the diameter of the hair follicle can take many years to become apparent. Think of it like watching hair grow . It is a slow and gradual process whereby a hair grows back slightly finer and shorter with each passing hair growth cycle, and the growth phase itself becomes shorter. When you notice density changes in part depends on the initial length of your hair growth cycle . When it occurs, and to what extent, largely depends on genes, and other variables such as hormonal shifts and stress levels, she confirms.

Instead of freaking out about texture changes, prepare for it. You can certainly do things to get the best out of the hair you have, and to minimize changes, she reassures us.

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Vaginal Changes Before & During Menopause


Perimenopause is the 5-to-10-year period before menopause starts. Estrogen levels begin to drop, causing imbalanced pH levels and vaginal dryness. The change in pH can bring with it a few uncomfortable side effects: Namely, increased risk for yeast and bacterial infections.

Vaginal dryness may also impact sexual pleasure. Women may notice increased friction or abrasions with sex, potentially leading to discomfort during the day.5

Thankfully, there are solutions to the not-so-pleasant vaginal effects of perimenopause. Doctors recommend using probiotic supplements and vaginal moisturizers to combat discomfort, as well as synthetic lubrication to help with sexual pleasure.

Some health experts also recommend increasing sexual activity, whether alone or with a partner, to improve blood flow and pelvic floor strength.5


Menopause marks the end of our monthly menstrual cycles. The average age for menopause in the United States is 51,7 but it may start earlier for some. As previously mentioned, perimenopause makes its presence known through vaginal dryness, changes in timing or length of periods, and other physical changes. Other signs of approaching menopause may include:

  • Hot flashes

Its Better To Stand Than Sit If And When You Can

The formula is simple: The more time that your bodys in motion, the more calories your body will burn. One low-effort way to do that? Stay as vertical as possible throughout the day, Peeke says. Not only will that increase calorie burn, it can also help prevent other health problems. A study published in January 2018 in the journal Obesity found that prolonged sitting is connected to higher levels of abdominal fat, as well as fat thats accumulated around organs such as the liver, which increases risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Staying vertical isnt exactly the same as breaking out a full-on sweat . To stay upright more often, stand and pace when youre on the phone, or park further from the front door of the places youre going, so youll have to walk more. If youre a binge watcher, place a pedal exerciser on the floor in front of your couch, so you can fit in some needed movement while still catching up on all your favorite shows.

To stay upright more often, stand and pace when youre on the phone, or park farther from the places youre going so youll have to walk a little more. If youre a binge-watcher, place a pedal exerciser on the floor in front of your couch, so you can fit in some needed movement while still catching up on your favorite shows.

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You Might Experience A Lack Of Arousal Lubrication

Normally, during intimate moments, natural arousal lubrication occurs. This is caused by an increase in vaginal blood flow. After menopause, the blood flow to the vagina decreases, causing natural arousal lubrication and vaginal sensitivity to decrease as well. This can make intercourse less enjoyable .

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Menopausal Shape Change. How To Fix It

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How Does Menopause Affect Your Breasts

So, why on earth does the menopause affect breast tissue so much? It’s one of the things that we’re really fighting against as we go through the menopause. Our breast tissue is very, very sensitive to oestrogen. It has a lot of oestrogen-receptor sites in it. So, when our oestrogen starts to fall, as we approach the menopause and go through the menopause, this can have quite a marked effect on the size, shape, and structure of our breasts.

Now, the most common breast symptom that tends to happen during the menopause is breast tenderness and discomfort. But, there are other breast issues that can happen so I thought I would go through those ones today.


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