- Sharlyna Moy
Hormonal Changes and Menopausal Weight Gain
Updated: Sep 3, 2019
Menopausal weight gain seems to be a great concern for women as they age. It seems that gaining some weight during this period in life seems inevitable. Some women may even be puzzled as to why they seem to pile up weight even though they eat the same amount of food. There are many reasons for this.
Women go through menopausal weight gain because their body is going through changes during menopause. The reason for the weight gain may stem fro the hormones themselves. During menopause, normal estrogen levels in the body seem to go down. Estrogen is the female sex hormone that is responsible for a woman's monthly ovulation.
Low estrogen levels during menopause causes the female body to stop ovulating. As the ovaries of the woman produce less estrogen, her body tries to look for other means to get its estrogen supply. One of the means that the body can be supplied with the estrogen hormone is through the fat cells. So the body tries to convert as much of the calories it is supplied with into fat to be able to produce the much needed estrogen. Unfortunately, the fat cells are not as effective in burning calories as much as muscles do. This causes women to pack up additional pounds.
Progesterone is another hormone that may be the cause of weight gain during menopause. Just like estrogen, women undergoing menopause also experience their body's progesterone levels go down. This causes weight gain on women on a different way. Low levels of progesterone in the body are associated with water retention and bloating, giving one the appearance of getting bigger and heavier. But this effect usually only happens for a short time and will disappear in just a few months.
Another hormone that may be responsible for weight gain during menopause is the male sex hormone androgen. Menopause brings about an increase of androgen levels in women. This hormone becomes responsible for sending the gained weight into the abdominal area or the middle section of the body. This is the reason why weight gain during menopause is also referred to as the "middle age spread".
Another hormone that may be responsible for weight gain during menopause is testosterone. This hormone helps the body to create lean muscle mass out of the calories that the body takes in. Muscle cells are better at burning calories than fat cells and helps in increasing the body's metabolism. During menopause, the level of this hormone drops which then results in a gradual loss of muscle. This also means that metabolism in the body slows down, causing the body to burn calories slower.
Women become frustrated and concerned when they suddenly find themselves gaining weight during menopause. No matter how careful they are on maintaining their eating habits and even adding up a dose of exercise into their daily habit, they still can't seem to maintain their weight. Women must understand that it is because of the changes in the body during menopause that makes maintaining their weight even more difficult. Losing weight even becomes a more challenging undertaking than ever before.
Women must remember that it is not entirely their fault that they are gaining weight during this stage in their life. Menopausal weight gain is a normal occurrence due to the fluctuations in the hormone levels in the body. These hormones will also have a big impact on one's appetite and the body's ability to metabolize calories and store fats.
The better that women understand what goes on with their bodies during menopause, the less frustrated they can become when faced with weight gain.