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Menopause And Weight Gain: What Are the Causes and How Do I Prevent It?

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Menopause is yet another integral part of ageing in a woman’s life. Losing your monthly period can cause severe hormonal changes in the body. While this could be an easy shift for some women, some of you might experience more pronounced symptoms of menopause, such as night sweats, hot flushes, mood swings, and weight gain

All these signs of menopause affect the quality of life for a woman undergoing the menopausal transition. Among these, weight gain has to be one of the most disturbing symptoms due to its effect on physical and mental well-being. Weight gain can be attributed to a list of factors.

Causes of Menopause Weight Gain

1. Hormonal Imbalance

The reproductive hormones in your body are primarily responsible for all bodily changes. For women entering menopause, one of the reasons for a slower metabolism is the decline in their estrogen levels. So, with a lower energy consumption rate, your body converts the food you eat into calories leading to a sudden weight gain.

2. Ageing

This inevitable, yet most naturally occurring journey of your body, comes with its own set of physical changes. One of them is the loss of lean muscle mass, medically known as sarcopenia. In fact, various studies have indicated that people, despite their gender, lose 3% to 8% of their muscle mass every post 30. Two reasons that aid weight gain due to ageing include:

3. Less exercise

Lack of physical activity could prove to be more harmful to menopausal women, triggering the worsening of their symptoms and weight gain.

4. Muscle loss

Likewise, the lack of exercise accelerates the loss of muscle mass in women as they age, resulting in more fat storage by the body.

5. Surgical Menopause

Hysterectomy, or the surgical removal of the uterus, is a recommended procedure for most menopausal women who might be experiencing extreme symptoms of menopause. Although this procedure relieves most menopausal symptoms, it increases the risk of obesity by 78%. 

6. Sleep Problems

The lowering of estrogen and an increase in the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) leads to issues with sleep. You might experience trouble with falling asleep as well as staying asleep. And a direct correlation to disturbed sleep is an unhealthy rise in appetite, lower energy expenditure, and mood swings which give rise to weight gain. 

You must have noticed that some of these causes are related to your lifestyle and daily habits. Yes, it might seem inevitable to control certain aspects, yet there is a lot you can do to prevent the increase in your body weight.

How to Prevent Menopause Induced Weight Gain?

1. Hormonal treatment

The hormonal changes during menopause are extremely subjective and governed by a range of age and lifestyle-related factors. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) helps combat weight gain since hormonal imbalances could be the reason for it in the first place. These customized therapies substitute the lack of particular naturally occurring hormones in your body.

2. Nutrition

Say goodbye to the days when you could give in to your cravings without worrying about their after-effects. Now, your body needs wholesome foods and an appropriate diet which will help it reverse or prevent weight gain due to menopause. Consult a professional who will understand your body before recommending a diet. 

3. Physical activity

Think about signing up for that gym membership you have been eyeing, a swim class, Pilates, etc. Any form of physical activity would not only help your weight remain in check but will also lower the risks of other chronic conditions like osteoporosis, diabetes, heart diseases, etc.  

4. Keep your sweet tooth in check

Additional sugars in sweets and sugary drinks provide nothing but excessive calories to your body which triggers weight gain. If you want your body to remain slim and healthy while it undergoes menopause, eliminate sugary foods altogether.

5. Consult your doctor

Although this article would have provided you with a lot of essential details, your healthcare professional is the most reliable source of information when it comes to treating your menopausal weight gain. Schedule regular visits to understand what your body needs. 

Remember, you are not alone! Millions of women worldwide go through the effects of menopause as they are near the age of 40-50. It is not a disease or disorder. And with a few of these tricks up your sleeve and alterations in your daily life and diet, you will be able to avoid menopausal weight gain easily.

Krishma Patel is the Co-founder and the Superintendent Pharmacist at MedsNow, an online pharmacy in the UK that provides health and wellness products and treatments along with free online consultations. She is passionate about showcasing the integral function community pharmacies can play in supporting the healthcare system and the NHS by providing patients with high quality, safe and discreet access to healthcare at their convenience. Along with being the co-founder of MedsNow, Krishma is also the Director and the Superintendent Pharmacist of Enimed Ltd., an independent pharmacy group comprising 32 branches.

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