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Why Some Women Gain Weight Around Menopause

Weight achieve at menopause is quite common.

There are lots of elements at play, together with:

Nonetheless, the method of menopause is extremely particular person. It varies from lady to lady.

This text explores why some girls gain weight throughout and after menopause.

There are 4 durations of hormonal adjustments that happen throughout a lady’s life.

These embody:

  • premenopause
  • perimenopause
  • menopause
  • postmenopause

1. Premenopause

Premenopause is the time period for a lady’s reproductive life whereas she’s fertile. It begins at puberty, beginning with the primary menstrual interval and ending with the final.

This part lasts for about 30-40 years.

2. Perimenopause

Perimenopause actually means “round menopause.” Throughout this time, estrogen ranges grow to be erratic and progesterone ranges decline.

A lady could begin perimenopause anytime between her mid-30s and early 50s, however this transition usually happens in her 40s and lasts 4–11 years (1).

Signs of perimenopause embody:

  • sizzling flashes and warmth intolerance
  • sleep disturbances
  • menstrual cycle adjustments
  • complications
  • temper adjustments, resembling irritability
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • weight achieve

3. Menopause

Menopause formally happens as soon as a lady hasn’t had a menstrual interval for 12 months. The common age of menopause is 51 years (2).

Up till then, she’s thought-about perimenopausal.

Many ladies expertise their worst signs throughout perimenopause, however others discover that their signs intensify within the first 12 months or two after menopause.

4. Postmenopause

Postmenopause begins instantly after a lady has gone 12 months and not using a interval. The phrases menopause and postmenopause are sometimes used interchangeably.

Nonetheless, there are some hormonal and bodily adjustments which will proceed to happen after menopause.


A lady goes by hormonal adjustments all through her lifetime which will produce signs, together with adjustments in physique weight.

Throughout perimenopause, progesterone ranges decline slowly and steadily, whereas estrogen ranges fluctuate drastically from day after day and even throughout the similar day.

Within the early a part of perimenopause, the ovaries usually produce extraordinarily excessive quantities of estrogen. This is because of impaired suggestions alerts between the ovaries, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland (3).

Later in perimenopause, when menstrual cycles grow to be extra irregular, the ovaries produce little or no estrogen. They produce even much less throughout menopause.

Some research recommend that top estrogen ranges could promote fats achieve. It is because excessive estrogen ranges are related to weight achieve and better physique fats in the course of the reproductive years (4, 5).

From puberty till perimenopause, girls are inclined to retailer fats of their hips and thighs as subcutaneous fats. Though it may be onerous to lose, one of these fats doesn’t improve illness danger very a lot.

Nonetheless, throughout menopause, low estrogen ranges promote fats storage within the stomach space as visceral fat, which is linked to insulin resistance, sort 2 diabetes, heart disease, and different well being issues (6).


Modifications in hormone ranges in the course of the menopausal transition could result in fats achieve and an elevated danger of a number of illnesses.

It’s estimated that girls achieve about 2–5 kilos (1–2 kgs) in the course of the perimenopausal transition (7).

Nonetheless, some achieve extra weight. This seems to be significantly true for ladies who’re already chubby or have weight problems.

Weight achieve may happen as a part of getting older, no matter hormone adjustments.

Researchers checked out weight and hormone adjustments in girls ages 42–50 over a 3-year interval.

There was no distinction in common weight achieve between those that continued to have regular cycles and people who entered menopause (8).

The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) is a big observational examine that has adopted middle-aged girls all through perimenopause.

In the course of the examine, girls gained stomach fats and misplaced muscle mass (9).

One other issue contributing to weight achieve in perimenopause often is the elevated urge for food and calorie consumption that happens in response to hormonal adjustments.

In a single examine, ranges of the “starvation hormone,” ghrelin, had been discovered to be considerably greater amongst perimenopausal girls, in comparison with premenopausal and postmenopausal girls (10).

The low estrogen ranges within the late phases of menopause may impair the perform of leptin and neuropeptide Y, hormones that management fullness and urge for food (11, 12).

Subsequently, girls within the late phases of perimenopause who’ve low estrogen ranges could also be pushed to eat extra energy.

Progesterone’s results on weight in the course of the menopausal transition haven’t been studied as a lot.

Nonetheless, some researchers consider the mix of low estrogen and progesterone may additional improve the chance of weight problems (11).


Fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone, and different hormones can result in elevated urge for food and fats achieve throughout perimenopause.

Hormonal adjustments and weight achieve could proceed to happen as girls go away perimenopause and enter menopause.

One predictor of weight achieve often is the age at which menopause happens.

A examine of over 1,900 girls discovered that those that entered menopause sooner than the typical age of 51 had much less body fat (13).

Moreover, there are a number of different elements which will contribute to weight achieve after menopause.

Postmenopausal girls are usually much less energetic than once they had been youthful, which reduces vitality expenditure and results in a lack of muscle mass (14, 15).

Menopausal girls additionally ceaselessly have greater fasting insulin ranges and insulin resistance, which drive weight achieve and improve coronary heart illness danger (11, 16).

Though its use is controversial, hormone substitute remedy has proven effectiveness in reducing belly fat and enhancing insulin sensitivity throughout and after menopause (17).

Take into account that the averages present in research don’t apply to all girls. This varies between people.


Fats achieve tends to happen throughout menopause as nicely. Nonetheless, it’s unclear if that is brought on by an estrogen deficit or the getting older course of.

Right here are some things you are able to do to forestall weight achieve round menopause:

  • Scale back carbs: Reduce on carbs in an effort to scale back the rise in stomach fats, which drives metabolic issues (18, 19).
  • Add fiber: Eat a high-fiber weight-reduction plan that features flaxseeds, which can enhance insulin sensitivity (20).
  • Work out: Have interaction in energy coaching to enhance physique composition, improve energy, and construct and preserve lean muscle (21, 22).
  • Relaxation and loosen up: Attempt to loosen up earlier than mattress and get sufficient sleep to maintain your hormones and urge for food well-managed (23).

In the event you comply with these steps, it might even be attainable to shed extra pounds throughout this time.

Here’s a detailed guide to losing weight during and after menopause.


Though weight achieve is quite common throughout menopause, there are steps you possibly can take to forestall or reverse it.

Menopause may be difficult, each bodily and emotionally.

Nonetheless, consuming a nutritious weight-reduction plan and getting sufficient train and relaxation will help forestall weight achieve and scale back illness danger.

Though it might take a while to regulate to the processes happening in your physique, attempt to do your finest to just accept these adjustments that can inevitably occur with age.


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