Mention the word ‘menopause’ and it is unlikely a party or great celebration will follow as a response, apart from a quiet
relief of not having to endure the monthly cycle. The menopause, also referred to some as the ‘change or ‘change of life’ can impact women in different ways. About a quarter of women go through it and notice nothing, another quarter are at the other extreme with half the number of women noticing some changes.
The most common symptom appears to be hot flushes or hot flashes. There are changes in bone density, skin, genital areas, breast and in the blood. Based on the above, what then is the relationship between menopause and weight gain?
Understandably, the types of changes in the body, means changes in how hormones function. The biggest and most significant change relates to the body adjusting its ability to continue with child bearing. Menstruation will soon be in the past and tools the body used to facilitate the process no longer need to do their job.
The hormone relating entirely to producing female sexual characteristics is estrogen. Actually, it is not just one hormone but a whole group of hormones. As these different forms retire, the effects are felt in the body. Estrogen build the growth of cells and some are responsible for building muscle mass, for the stimulation, growth and circulation of blood cells generally as well as in personal areas like the vulva, vagina and the uterus. It contributes to a woman’s vocal pitch, physical shape and build. The list still goes on, but, the last point here is an indication as to why menopause and weight gain are closely aligned.
Estrogen are powerful agents in how a woman is made up physically and as she goes through the menopause, her body is finding it no longer needs to generate the same amount as it did during her child bearing years. Reduced energy levels become an issue, leading to sluggishness and slower metabolism rate. Another hormone called progesterone impacts even more significantly on menopause and weight gain. It’s task is to prepare the womb for egg fertilization and to maintain pregnancy. So here we have another redundant hormone. The bad news is, it can counteract the already diminishing effect of estrogen and on top of that, it contributes to the retention of salt and water in the body. It’s a drop in these hormones in general that causes 90% of women who will associate menopause and weight gain, but the good news is, it can be controlled.