Why Do Women in Menopause Gain Weight?
If you have started going through menopause you have probably noticed a few extra pounds around your mid-section area. Don’t worry, you are not alone, one of the main symptoms of menopause seems to be the gaining of weight, as well as, an overall change in your body’s shape. And, while you may not be happy about this unfortunate occurrence, you just have to keep in mind that women in menopause gain weight, and it is an extremely common occurrence. Studies have shown that approximately 90% of women will begin gaining weight between the age of 35 and 55. Never fear, you may not be responsible for this weight gain, studies have shown that most women in menopause gain weight because of a change in hormone levels, not because of overeating.
The average woman has been seen to gain around 10 to 15 pounds during those menopausal years. However, the weight will most likely be gained gradually throughout your pre-menopausal years; you can expect to pack on about an extra pound a year. The weight gain that happens with menopause will most likely be around your abdominal area, instead of the more common areas such as your hips, thighs, and butt. During menopause it is harder and harder for your body to redistribute your weight evenly.
What Factors Cause Women in Menopause to Gain Weight?
The cause of menopausal weight gain is the change in your body’s weight maintenance hormone levels.
1. Estrogen: Estrogen is a female hormone that causes a woman to ovulate monthly. However, during menopause, this hormone dramatically declines to cause your body to stop ovulating. This decline in estrogen seems to be a big factor in menopausal weight gain. Because your ovaries are producing less estrogen, your body begins to look for other places to get its desired estrogen from. The problem here is that, fat cells have been known to produce estrogen, so your body will begin turning your calories into fat in order to increase estrogen levels. This is obviously one of the main reasons women in menopause gain weight.
2. Progesterone: This is the hormone that regulates the water weight that we carry around in our bodies. During menopause, this hormone has been seen to rapidly decline, just as estrogen does, which causes women to retain more water as they get older, thus, adding a few more pounds on to the menopause weight gain pile.
3. Testosterone: Testosterone is the hormone that facilitates the creation of lean muscle mass from the calories that we consume. And, it is a proven fact that muscles burn way more calories than fat does, by increasing our metabolism. During menopause, testosterone hormone levels will drop, thus causing muscle loss, which, unfortunately results in a lower metabolism and more weight gain.
4. Androgen: This is the hormone that is responsible for sending that newly formed fat straight to your mid-section. Actually, the term for the weight gain during menopause is commonly referred to as “middle age spread” due to the rapid weight gain in the abdominal area. Actually, one of the number one signs of menopause is the increased production of this hormone which results in the increase of belly fat.
The Silver Lining:
While I know it can be difficult to accept that women in menopause gain weight, it is important to know the benefit of this seemingly unfortunate event. You have to know that this weight gain is natural and can actually be a good thing. This small amount of extra weight that you put on can actually lesson the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and anxiety. Also, weight gain during menopause is regulated by your body, and will help prevent osteoporosis and other common illnesses associated with getting older.
There IS something you can do to combat weight gain during menopause, first off, you should try eating a balanced diet, free of refined sugars and full of fruits and vegetables. And, if you are truly serious about getting rid of and even preventing this menopausal weight gain,it is highly recommended that you work out regularly.
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