Menopause is the most natural phase of a woman’s lifecycle, however, it does bring about many hormonal changes which may lead to sudden weight gain. Menopause takes place when women stop ovulating and their menstrual cycles come to an end, usually during their 40s and 50s. Incidentally, many women start gaining weight around this transition period. Along with the hormonal changes that happen during menopause, other factors like aging, lifestyle, and genetics may also contribute to the fluctuations in body weight.
Everything About Menopause and Weight Gain
Excess menopause weight gain can have certain health implications including increase in the risk of breathing problems, Type 2 diabetes, and blood pressure.
Diabetes: It’s been discovered that postmenopausal women who are overweight or obese are four times more likely to develop diabetes than postmenopausal women who are healthy and at a normal weight.
Heart Disease: While menopause itself doesn’t cause cardiovascular diseases, there is an increase in risk factors post menopause and a high-fat diet, smoking or other unhealthy habits may further take a toll. Additionally, obesity could increase this risk even further.
High Blood Pressure: Estrogen deficiency that develops during menopause is a prime factor for development of hypertension in postmenopausal women. When estrogen levels go down during menopause, heart and blood vessels tend to become stiff and less elastic which may lead to rise in blood pressure leading to hypertension.
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Changes in the Body Due to Menopause
With age, various changes begin to take place in a woman’s body. There is a notable decrease in muscle mass and metabolism gradually slows down. Such changes then lead to excessive weight gain during the time of menopause. However, certain other changes are associated with menopause as well. Symptoms such as dryness and thinness of skin, hair loss and hair thinning, hot flashes, etc. are other changes that begin to crop up due to menopause. Often these changes create a negative self-image in the eyes of menopausal women making way for anxiety and depression.
Although the chances of weight gain exist, a few lifestyle changes and dietary habits can avoid this, helping women gain better control of their life post-menopause.
Healthy Diet: To maintain a healthy weight ,It’s necessary to consume more nutritious food such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc., to keep a healthier overall diet. Stay away from processed food . Eat smaller amounts but more often .Aim to eat foods rich in calcium ,iron and fibre .Follow a diet low in saturated fat ;low in trans fat (partially hydrogenated fats ).
Exercise: Regular physical activity is essential for not only reducing menopausal weight gain but also for reducing the other ill effects of menopause such as hot flashes, mood swings, etc. It lowers the risk of osteoporosis ,improves insulin resistance ,and improves overall health .Cycling, swimming, walking for atleast 30 minutes a day can be useful ways to increase metabolism as well as feel fit physically and mentally. Strength training exercises like dumbbells ,exercise bands and yoga help to build muscle and bone mass .Low impact aerobics are good for the heart and lungs .
Limit Alcohol Intake: As women age, they become more sensitive to the effects of alcohol. It causes an increase in calories and increases the likelihood of weight gain, thus, should be avoided.
Sleep Routine: Practicing good sleep hygiene is beneficial to keep one’s weight in check. Hence, to develop better sleeping habits, it’s best to avoid the usage of any electronic devices before going to bed, and routinely going to sleep at around the same time every night helps.
Menopause can be a life-changing experience with noticeable changes in one’s physical and mental state of being. However, with healthy habits and small, meaningful steps every day, it’s possible to renew one’s life post-menopause and live life to the fullest.
Also, Read: What Is Low Birth Weight? Causes & Diagnosis Methods