Weight gain in pre-menopausal women is quite normal because menopause actually occurs in three major stages and can take 15 years or longer, depending on your age and family history. The first stage of menopause is known as perimenopause, and symptoms include spotting, hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, irregular periods and weight gain.
Most women will notice weight gain as one of the first symptoms of menopause, especially around the abdomen. This is due to the fact that their hormone levels are declining drastically.
One of the hormones that will have an effect on women as they approach and experience menopause is estrogen, which is the female sex hormone that is responsible for causing monthly ovulation. During your menopausal years, your estrogen levels decline rapidly, causing your body to eventually stop ovulating. This is the hormone that seems to play a big role in menopausal weight gain. When your ovaries produce less estrogen, your body will look for other places from where to get needed estrogen. Fat cells in your body can produce estrogen, so your body works harder to convert calories into fat to increase estrogen levels.
Another hormone responsible for your new body is androgen, which can be blamed for sending your new weight to your middle section. In fact, weight gain during these menopausal years is often referred to as “middle age spread” due to the rapid growth of the mid-section. Often, this is one of the very first signs of menopause.
Women also experience a drop in their testosterone levels during these years. While it’s true that testosterone is known as the “male hormone,” women have testosterone too, and this hormone helps your body to create lean muscle mass out of the calories that you consume. Since muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells do, with higher testosterone levels you’ll have increased metabolism. Because your body is producing less testosterone during menopause you’ll notice a loss of muscle, an increase in body fat and a much lower metabolism. Muscle burns more calories than fat does, so the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be. As you know, the lower your metabolism, the slower your body burns calories.
Women can benefit a great deal by committing to a regular exercise routine. It’s important to know that weight training plays a very important role in losing the extra weight you’ve gained. You can keep the weight off by building muscle to help burn calories.
In summary, every woman’s hormone levels decline at some point in their lives. Yes, this is going to result in some uncomfortable symptoms, but it’s certainly not the end of the world. You can naturally reduce a lot of menopausal symptoms by simply making some lifestyle changes that will help to make you look and feel beautiful and energized.
By: Susan Megge
About the Author: