Weight gain, specifically a thickening around the waist, is another sign of changing hormones levels during menopause. While some sources claim that menopause has nothing to do with weight gain, hormonal changes during menopause actually influence weight gain and redistribution of fat. For example, fewer circulating estrogen hormones lead the body to retain more fat cells as an alternative source of components of estrogen.
Also, low testosterone levels lead to a decreased metabolic rate, meaning that from menopause onwards women need fewer calories daily; therefore, women who continue to eat as before will gain weight by default. In this way, changes in diet and exercise are necessary to revitalize the body’s metabolic rate and prevent weight gain during menopause, as well as treatments to target the underlying hormonal imbalance.
About Weight Gain
Weight gain takes place when an individual increases her body mass, whether as a result of fat deposits, additional muscle tissue, or excess fluid. However, weight gain associated with menopause typically involves increased amounts of fat around the abdomen.
On average, women gain between 6 and 8 kilgrams between the ages of 45 and 55, the stage in life when menopause typically occurs. This extra weight generally does not evenly distribute itself throughout a woman’s body. The weight tends instead to accumulate around the abdomen, and women often notice the shape of their bodies slowly lose their hour-glass figure and begin to take on a rounded shape.
Risks of Weight Gain
Weight gain during menopause entails more than just aesthetic concerns. Although no one enjoys looking in the mirror and seeing a softer, plumper body looking back, weight gain can lead to very serious health conditions that transcend visual displeasure. Several diseases and other conditions can spawn as a result of a body burdened with excess pounds. Here is a list of conditions weight gain can lead to:
- Heart disease, stroke
- High blood pressure
- Breast cancer
- High cholesterol
- Kidney disease
- Sleep apnea
- Insulin resistance (increasing diabetes risks)
- More severe menopausal symptoms
Causes of Weight Gain
As years progress the metabolism slows, setting the physiological stage for weight gain. Although age itself can lead to plumped midsections, women approaching menopause have particular cause for concern. As a woman’s hormones fluctuate prior to menopause and preparing for a permanently reduced hormonal level, they are likely to experience weight gain.
Hormonal Causes of Weight Gain
A woman’s hormones have complex functions in her body, including weight control. Here’s a list of the different hormones that can affect weight gain and how:
Estrogen. As a woman’s ovaries produce less estrogen, her body attempts to find the hormone in places other than the ovaries. Fat cells can produce estrogen, so her body works harder to convert calories into fat to increase estrogen levels. Unfortunately, fat cells don’t burn calories the way muscle cells do, which causes weight gain.
Progesterone. Water retention is often linked to menopause because water weight and bloating decreases progesterone levels. Though this doesn’t actually result in weight gain, clothes can feel a bit tighter and a woman may feel as though she’s heavier.
Androgen. The amount of this hormone increases at the onset of menopause. It’s responsible for sending new weight to the mid-section instead of to the hips, which many women are accustomed to. Some women even have a nickname for the menopause years based on the mid-section weight gain: “the middle-age spread”.
Testosterone. Testosterone helps a woman’s body create lean muscle mass out of the calories consumed. Muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells do, increasing metabolic rate. As testosterone levels drop, fewer calories are transformed into lean muscle mass, thus a woman’s metabolism winds down.
Insulin Resistance. Insulin resistance can occur during the menopausal years. This is when a woman’s body mistakenly turns every calorie taken in into fat. Over time, processed and refined foods may make a woman’s body resistant to insulin produced in the blood stream.
Other Causes: Lifestyle and Weight Gain
Even though physical changes are an unavoidable part of getting older that leads to weight gain, a woman’s lifestyle is also a hugely important variable that can either tip the scale in favor of extra pounds or fend off weight gain. Below are some lifestyle factors that can lead to weight gain:
- Reduced physical activity
- Change in eating habit
- Medication use
- Drinking excess amounts of alcohol
- Quitting smoking
Treatments for Weight Gain
When looking for treatments for weight gain, it’s important to begin with methods that are the least obtrusive, with the least likelihood of side effects, and progress from there.
This means that lifestyle changes are the best place to begin. For example, obviously the tried and true way to cope with weight gain is to get regular exercise and eat a healthy diet high in nutrients but not overboard in portion. Try to follow the Manna Diet as an alternative healthy lifestyle.
Typically, combining lifestyle changes and alternative medicines will produce the best results. When seeking out alternative medicines, keep in mind that because weight gain during menopause is associated with hormonal imbalance, look for herbal supplements that bring a natural balance to hormonal levels, for this will go a long way to grappling with weight gain at the core of the issue.
The Manna Menopause Support is an all-natural supplement which can help to increase estrogen levels to counteract hormonal weight gain. You can also us the Manna Blood Sugar Support to help control cravings and suppress appetite the natural way.
We recommend the same to men, but when their testosterone levels drop, they can take the Manna Andropause supplement to help increase testosterone the natural way.