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Weight Gain

Weight gain is one of the most distressing symptoms of menopause.

Typically the weight gain is around the abdomen rather than the hip and thigh area.

Menopause Weight Gain

What causes weight gain in menopause?

The main culprit of menopausal weight gain is estrogen.

As a woman’s estrogen level starts to decline her appetite starts to increase, and her metabolism, the rate at which the body converts stored energy in to working energy, is lowered.

On top of that, the body starts to use starches and blood sugars less effectively, increasing fat storage and making it harder to lose weight.

However, hormonal changes alone don’t necessarily trigger menopausal weight gain. There are usually other factors at play such as age, lifestyle and genetics.

Age related causes of weight gain

As women age many other factors can also contribute to weight gain.

Women are less likely to exercise, and their activity levels continue to decrease over time. Additionally, the rate at which energy is used up during exercise declines. Also, you lose muscle mass which lowers your resting metabolism making it easier to gain weight.

So if you haven’t before, now is a good time to add strength training to your exercise routine to build muscle mass and increase your metabolism.

Examples of strength training include weights, dumbbells, yoga, exercise bands or gardening. Aim to do these two to three times a week and combine with aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, cycling, tennis or dance.

The goal should be to exercise moderately for at least 30 minutes most, if not every day.

What you can do to help minimise weight gain during peri/menopause?

Here is an article with 10 helpful things to do to help minimise weight gain…
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This is the time when menstruation is well and truly over, the ovaries have stopped producing high levels of sex hormones and for many ladies, perimenopause symptoms subside.

Estrogen has protective qualities and the diminished levels mean organs such as your brain, heart and bones become more vulnerable. It’s also a key lubricant so your lips may become drier, your joints less supple and your vagina might be drier. In addition, your thyroid, digestion, insulin, cortisol and weight may alter.

At this juncture, a woman might experience an increase in the signs of reduced estrogen but she should have a decrease of perimenopause symptoms. That said, some women will experience symptoms like hot flushes for years or even the rest of their lives.


Peri = ‘near’

Most females begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-forties. Your progesterone levels decline from your mid-30s but it’s generally from around 40 that the rest of your sex hormones begin to follow suit. 

Perimenopause is a different experience for every woman and some women may barely notice it. The first indicators are usually changes to the monthly cycle. This means that for some ladies, this can be accompanied by things like sore breasts, mood swings, weight gain around the belly, and fatigue as time goes on.

For those with symptoms it can be a challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally.

Importantly, perimenopause lasts – on average – four to 10 years. The transition is usually a gradual process and many women enter perimenopause without realising.