Menopause Symptoms Can Cause Weight Gain
Weight gain is caused when a woman increases her body mass. The increase of body mass may be the result of fat deposits, increased muscle tissue, or extra fluid. Between the ages of 45 and 55, when menopause symptoms start, women gain an average of 12-15 pounds. These extra pounds usually accumulate around a women’s abdomen. This is when women notices that they have lost their hour glass shape and look more rounded. The middle age spread is a result of fluctuating hormone levels causing a woman to gain weight. During menopause, there is a decrease in production of the hormones testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, which leads to an increase in appetite, fat storage, and water retention. Other causes of weight gain include decreased physical abilities, poor eating habits, and depression.
Women know when they have gained weight. Weight gains associated with menopausal symptoms have some unique qualities. Symptoms of weight gain are as follows:
- Increased in body fat percentage.
- Fat accumulation around the abdomen.
- Difficulty maintaining usual weight.
- Increase in breast size.
- Steady weight gain.
- Slower metabolism.
- Change in body shape (pear to apple).
An increase in weight during menopause involves more than visual concerns. No woman wants to look in the mirror and see a plump looking body. Weight gain can lead to serious health concerns. Diseases and other conditions can show up as a result of weight gain.
- Heart disease, stroke.
- High blood pressure.
- Breast cancer
- High cholesterol
- Kidney disease
- Sleep apnea
- Insulin resistance (increasing diabetes risks).
- More severe menopausal symptoms.
Women who gain more than 20 pounds during menopause have an increased risk of breast cancer by 20%. If women lose 20 pounds after menopause, they reduce their risk of breast cancer by 23%.
A women’s hormone has many functions in her body, including weight control. Here is a list of hormones and how they affect weight gain:
Estrogen: As a woman matures, her ovaries produce less estrogen. Her body attempts to find estrogen in other places of her body. Fat cells produce estrogen, so your body produces calories into fat to increase estrogen levels. Regrettably, fat cells do not burn calories like muscle cells do.
Progesterone: Water retention is the result of menopause because bloating decreases progesterone levels. Even though a woman does not actually gain weight, her clothes feel tighter and she feels heavier.
Androgen: This hormone increases when menopause starts. It sends new weight to the abdomen instead of the hips. Some women call this “the middle-age spread”.
Insulin Resistance: During the menopause years, insulin resistance can occur. A woman’s body turns calories into fat. Processed and refined foods may cause a woman’s body to resists insulin produced in the blood.
Hormones can be responsible for weight gain during menopause; there are also other factors that can cause weight gain. Always check with a health care professional if you have any questions, concerns, or notice any new changes to your body.