Enjoy Your Menopause!

June 2, 2008

Menopause and Weight Gain

Filed under: Uncategorized — Beverly Mahone @ 12:50 am
Tags: , , , ,

During menopause is when most women start to put on weight around the abdominal area. You may be eating and exercising exactly the same as you always were but still can’t seem to maintain your weight. As you enter the early stages of menopause, maintaining weight becomes more and more difficult, and losing weight becomes almost impossible. This is because of the fluctuation in your hormones.

Your changing hormones: Estrogen is the female sex hormone that isresponsible for causing monthly ovulation. During menopause, your estrogenlevels decline rapidly, causing your body to stop ovulating. However, estrogen also seems to play a big role in menopausal weight gain. As your ovaries produce less estrogen, your body looks for other places to get the needed estrogen. Fat cells in your body can produce estrogen, so your body works harder to convert calories into fat to increase estrogen levels. Unfortunately, fat cells don’t burn calories the way muscle cells do, which causes you to pack on the unwanted pounds.

Progesterone: During menopause, progesterone levels will also decrease. Like estrogen, lower levels of this hormone can be responsible for many of the symptoms of menopause and that includes weight gain, or at least the appearance of it. Water retention and menopause often go hand in hand since water weight and bloating are caused by decreased progesterone levels. Though this doesn’t actually result in weight gain, your clothes will probably feel a bit tighter and you may feel a bit heavier. Water retention and bloating usually disappear within a few months.

Androgen: This hormone is responsible for sending your new weight directly to your stomach area. In fact, weight gain during menopausal years is often known as “middle age spread” because of the rapid growth of the mid-section. Often, one of the first signs of menopause is an increase of androgen in your body, which causes you to gain weight around your abdominals instead of around your lower half.

Testosterone: Testosterone helps your body to create lean muscle mass out of the calories that you take in. Muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells do, increasing your metabolism. In natural menopause, levels of testosterone drop resulting in the loss of this muscle. Unfortunately, this means a lower metabolism. The lower your metabolism is, the slower your body burns calories.

But changing hormone levels associated with menopause aren’t the only cause for weight gain. Aging and lifestyle factors play a big role in your changing body composition.

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