Friday, May 27, 2022
HomeFactsWhy Do You Get Belly Fat During Menopause

Why Do You Get Belly Fat During Menopause

Body Changes At Menopause

How To Beat Menopause Belly Fat!

As we age, our muscles decrease in bulk and our metabolism slows down. These changes can contribute to weight gain around the time of menopause.Other physical changes associated with menopause may include:

  • skin changes, such as dryness and loss of elasticity
  • vaginal dryness
  • hair growth .

These changes may affect a womans body image and self-esteem and increase her risk of depression and sexual difficulties. Taking steps to manage the symptoms of menopause can help.

How To Get Rid Of The Menopausal Belly Bloat

A number of factors can cause bloating during menopause. You may be bloated because of dietary issues — such as consuming too much salt or eating your food too quickly — or because of other potentially more serious issues. Once you’ve checked with your doctor to rule out any medical causes, you can take steps to help minimize any diet-related belly bloat.

What Is Menopause Exactly

Menopause refers to the natural and permanent end of a womans menstrual cycle something many of us will hardly be complaining about and usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Peri-menopause is the stage when periods become irregular and can last several years in the lead up to menopause. Post-menopausal refers to a woman who hasn’t had a period for 12 months or more.

You May Like: Relactation After Menopause

Does It Cause Weight Gain

Some people worry that hormone treatment might lead to weight gain, but there is no evidence to support this.

Eating a healthful diet and getting plenty of exercise can help manage the weight gain that commonly affects both females and males in midlife.

There are various ways of delivering hormone therapy, and the different types provide different combinations and amounts of hormones.Common types include:

Estrogen-only HRT: A doctor may recommend this if a person has had their uterus and ovaries removed, in which case progesterone is not necessary.

Cyclical, or sequential, HRT: This may be a good option if symptoms occur before menopause the dosage can align with the menstrual cycle.

Continuous HRT: After menopause, a doctor may prescribe a continuous combination of estrogen and progesterone.

Local estrogen: Vaginal tablets, creams, or rings can help with urogenital symptoms, including vaginal dryness and irritation.

The doctor will prescribe the lowest possible dosage that addresses the persons symptoms, and arriving at this dosage may take some trial and error.

Ways of delivering HRT include:

  • tablets
  • vaginal rings
  • skin patches

When a person no longer needs the treatment, the doctor will describe how to stop it gradually.

Various lifestyle adjustments can help manage the symptoms of menopause.

They include:

Also, it is a good idea to ask the doctor about nonhormonal treatment options.

Always speak to a doctor before using any supplements.

Oestrogen And Fat Distribution At Menopause

Do You Get Fat During 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.

Don’t Miss: Are Sweet Potatoes Good For Menopause

Watch Your Carbohydrate Intake

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.

How To Lose Perimenopause Belly Fat

Exercise, portion control, and focusing on protein can help you deal with perimenopause belly fat and send the extra layer around your middle packing.

Go for satiety over calorie restriction

You know how, right after a meal, youre not thinking about food? At first, that may be due to feeling fulllike theres no more room in your stomach. And satiety is different. Satiety helps you avoid overeating by allowing you to feel satisfied even after your bellys no longer full.

The best way to promote satiety is to put some thought into what makes up your meal. Ideally, you should go for fiber-rich whole foods. Make sure each meal includes protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Eggs, oatmeal, fish, vegetables, soups, and meat are all nutrient-dense options that are also filling. By choosing satiety-promoting options, youll limit your need to restrict calories. Excessive calorie restriction promotes weight loss short-term. But, over the long haul, it can cause hormone fluctuations beyond what youre dealing with from perimenopause. It also can contribute to loss of muscle mass.

Make room for yoga

Start resistance training

We all know exercise does a body good. But so many womenskip strength training in favor of cardio when the truth is: you need both. Leanmuscle mass is more metabolically active than fat. That means it helps you burnmore calories at rest and can help you lose or maintain your goal weight.

Walk it off

Be kind to yourself

Recommended Reading: What Causes Vaginal Odor After Menopause

Hormonal Changes And Weight Gain

As you approach menopause, the levels of estrogen in your body drop rapidly. At the same time, levels of a hormone called androgen increase . This can cause a hormonal imbalance, which in and of itself can cause weight gain.

People who have a hormonal imbalance may also experience a new level of hunger. You may also notice that youre hungry for different types of foods. Just like your periods might make you crave salty, sweet, and carb-rich foods due to hormonal shifts, menopause can do the same.

The average weight gain for women during and after menopause is around .

Estrogen: The Female Sex Hormone

Rachel Holmes 5 Ways to Lose Belly Fat During Menopause

Along with progesterone, estrogen is the primary female sex hormone or chemical messenger. Your ovaries produce most of the estrogen your body makes. Men also make small amounts of estrogen.

Men and women both produce estrogen at birth. But especially during puberty, females increase production of this characteristically female hormone. Among its duties, estrogen helps develop breast and reproductive organs as well as initiating menstruation.

Throughout a womans life, estrogen plays numerous roles including strong bones, healthy skin, and regulating mood including anxiety and depression.

But as with any hormone, you want to maintain balance with estrogen. Too much or too little estrogen can create problems.

The latter occurs during menopause. During the time leading to the end of menstruation called perimenopause estrogen and other hormones including progesterone and testosterone fluctuate.

When a woman hasnt had a period for a year, she has completed menopause. Her estrogen and progesterone levels remain low.

Low estrogen levels can create many of the symptoms women experience during menopause, including:

  • Low sex drive
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Mood disorders including depression or anxiety

Estrogen also helps regulate body weight. Animal studies find that lower estrogen levels can increase belly fat in several ways:

One type of estrogen called estradiolregulates metabolism and body weight. During menopause, estradiol levels drop, increasing belly fat.

You May Like: How To Increase Breast Size After Menopause

Other Potential Causes Of Menopausal Belly Bloat

Simple slip-ups such as swallowing air or overeating may be responsible for belly bloat. But more serious problems display this symptoms, too, such as esophageal reflux, constipation, ovarian cancer, pancreatic insufficiency, tumors and celiac disease. Don’t assume that frequent bloating is from menopause, as it could be from more serious health conditions. Check with your doctor to determine what is most likely responsible with your bloating issues and how best to treat them.

Why Belly Fat During Menopause Is More Than Just A Bummer

There is more at stake than just bikinis and vanity when it comes to having a meno-pot. You may or may not like having big thighs, but they pose no health threat belly fat, on the other hand, comes with an increased risk for mortality even with a normal BMI, and with an increased risk for heart disease, breast cancer, uterine cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, sleep apnea, and many other serious and life-threatening diseases.

Your waist-to-hip ratio is a quick way to gauge your risk. Measure around the fullest part of your buttocks. Then measure around the narrowest part of your waist. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. A healthy ratio is less than 0.8 the ideal is 0.74. A ratio greater than 0.85 is associated with the health risks listed above. Or, you can just go by the following guideline: According to the National Institutes of Health, a waistline of larger than 35 inches for women signals a significant increase in heart disease and diabetes.

Read Also: Estrogen Dizziness

Weight Gain Prevention Tips

Of course, the best way to lose weight is to never gain it in the first place. Many of the same general tips for weight loss can also help keep you from ever putting on those extra pounds in the first place: monitoring your food intake, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.

Surrounding yourself with a support group whos also trying to make healthy choices whether thats your spouse, workout class buddies, or other female friends going through menopause can make weathering this life change a lot easier.

Menopause is a natural part of aging, but that doesnt mean its always pleasant, and a support group makes it easier to start and maintain a healthier lifestyle.

That being said, if you havent had success with lifestyle changes and still want to lose some abdominal weight, it might be time to ask a doctor for more information about which surgical procedure could be right for you.

ยป To find out more about surgical weight loss and body contouring options, use Zwivels online directory to search for cosmetic doctors in your area.

Could Menopause Belly Fat Impact Your Health

How to Lose Weight During Menopause

Most women will likely be concerned with the physical and noticeable changes in their body composition, and the overall appearance of their menopause belly fat. Im not here to tell you that you should feel this way. Modern culture puts a big emphasis on body confidence and pride in whatever we look like, and thats great if it works for you. However, not everyone feels that way, and if abdominal fat makes you feel unattractive or hurts your confidence levels, youre going to want to do something about it.

But menopausal belly fat goes deeper than this. If you gain weight in menopause, you may find youre at a higher risk of some serious health conditions. Menopause increases the presence of deep-tissue belly fat, known as visceral fat. Visceral fat is different from subcutaneous fat, which is found elsewhere in the body, just below the skin, such as on your legs and arms. According to Harvard University, studies show us that higher levels of menopause belly fat can lead to increased risks of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, breathing problems and even breast cancer. Even if your BMI is healthy, because your overall body weight is low, a high occurrence of belly fat will raise the risk of early death.

Don’t Miss: Menopause Dizziness Treatment

Study Looks At Metabolism Changes With Lack Of Sleep

About half of women going through the menopause transition also complain of problems sleeping. The insomnia may involve difficulty falling asleep, or it may mean waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to return to slumber, says Nanette Santoro, MD, the chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and a longtime menopause researcher who was not involved with this study.

Grant and her colleagues aimed to assess whether the drop in estrogen or the sleep disturbance might change the way the body uses its storage of fat, which can lead to added pounds.

How Long Does Menopause Weight Gain Last

How much you might gain and over how long a time period is highly individual. A lot depends on your overall diet, activity level, and muscle toneand not just your menopausal status.

Some data indicates that weight starts to plateau when youre in your 50s and then drops in your 60s. Other research shows that women tend to keep gaining weight through their sixth decade of life.

How much of the weight gain is related to menopause and how much is related to the other aging factors isnt entirely clear.

Recommended Reading: Does The Texture Of Hair Change With Menopause

How Can I Prevent Weight Gain In Post

Maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle after menopause is an important goal as weight gain especially around the trunk is associated with an increased risk for all chronic degenerative diseases. Focusing on a proper exercise regime, nutrition, getting adequate sleep and following a balanced and biochemically identical hormonal replacement therapy program treatment can help you not only counteract postmenopausal weight gain but improve other menopausal symptoms as well.

How To Lose Weight During Menopause

Menopause belly fat & how to lose it

During menopause, it is important to implement dietary changes that arent too dramatic and that can be sustained over time.

In fact, drastically cutting calories can actually lead to unintended negative side effects, such as reduced muscle mass and lower bone density, which can further reduce your metabolism and lead to osteoporosis.

Watching portion sizes and calorie counts is, of course, an important component of losing weight. However, the type of food youre eating can be just as important as the number of calories youre taking in.

Your menopause meal plan should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that offer a lot of volume with fewer calories. Seek out healthy protein options such as legumes, nuts, soy, fish, and chicken, and try to limit sweets and alcohol.

As for exercise, you should aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. Seeking out a variety of exercises including jogging, swimming, yoga, and lifting weights will ensure that you burn fat, build your muscles and bones, and stave off boredom.

Even brisk walking is a great way to start moving, and you can build an exercise habit from there.

Don’t Miss: Which Of The Following Best Describes Possible Symptoms Of Menopause

Mayo Clinic Study Finds Explanation For Postmenopausal Belly Fat

By Allie Shah Order Reprint

Weight was never a concern for Stephanie Brondani, 52, of Minnetonka. Until last year, when she hit menopause.

Suddenly, she noticed her midsection thickening. I think everybody feels , Im eating the same way I always have been and yet Im getting this roll. What is that about? she said.

Scientists have long known that lower estrogen levels after menopause can cause fat storage to shift from the hips and thighs to the abdomen. Now, a groundbreaking study, co-authored by the Mayo Clinic, has determined why: Proteins, revved up by the estrogen drop, cause fat cells to store more fat.

The study also revealed a double whammy: These cellular changes also slow down fat-burning by the body.

Even though the research doesnt provide weight-loss solutions, it may bring a sense of relief to millions of middle-aged women who have been fighting an often losing battle against the dreaded post-meno belly.

It doesnt mean youre absolutely doomed, said Dr. Michael Jensen, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic and one of the studys authors, but it does mean its going to be harder, probably to lose weight.

That comes as welcome news to Brondani, who has tried a new exercise program, wears a pedometer and has cut back on sugar and junk food.

Sudden changes

Cassandra Clay-Chapman started putting on pounds soon after she entered menopause a few years ago. Before she knew it, she was 10 pounds heavier.

Beyond beauty

Can Hormone Replacement Therapy Help You Lose Weight

At this point, theres no solid evidence that taking or using hormones in prescription form can make a meaningful difference on the scale. Thats because an HRT regimen of oestrogenor a combination of oestrogen and progesteroneis aimed at improving quality of life, not melting kilos. Its used to manage menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes and vaginal dryness, Dr. Faubion says. Your doctor can help you determine whether HRT is a good choice for you by ensuring you fully understand the potential benefits and health risks.

You May Like: Dizzy Spells Menopause

Can You Achieve Long

Ward explains that because the menopause diet in her and Wrights book includes satisfying portions of enjoyable foods, and since its not overly restrictive, its more likely to be sustainable and effective. The word diet invokes deprivation, but a menopause diet should be thought of as a way to enhance well-being, Ward said. This eating pattern can help you look and feel your best while reducing the risk of chronic conditions that may affect your quality of life later on. She also pointed out that no one, including dietitians, eats perfectly all the time. The menopause diet is meant to help you make small changes to your routine that will stick in the long run.

A Drop In Estrogen Levels

How to lose menopause belly

Changes in levels estrogen contribute to weight gain.

Estrogen is one of the primary sex hormones in females. It plays a role in:

  • physical sex characteristics
  • regulating cholesterol levels

During menopause, estrogen levels dip substantially.

Low estrogen during menopause does not directly cause weight gain, but it may lead to increases in total body fat and abdominal fat. Doctors associate excess weight during middle age with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Hormone replacement therapy may reduce the tendency to gain abdominal fat.

You May Like: Are Sweet Potatoes Good For Menopause


Popular Articles