It’s not uncommon for women to put on weight when nearing the age of menopause. This is a natural process that occurs both in men and women. Suddenly the diets that always worked for you don’t help you lose an inch anymore. And you will also notice that the extra pounds seem to concentrate around the belly or abdomen.
There are a number of possibilities why we gain a few extra pounds during menopause.
Age itself is one of the possibilities. As your body ages it naturally loses muscle and this is often replaced with fat. Apart from muscle loss your metabolism also slows down which means your energy (fat) burning capacity is also compromised.
Another reason is the hormonal imbalance itself. Studies conducted on animals have demonstrated that estrogen helps regulate body weight. A correlation has been discovered between lower estrogen levels and an increase in appetite. Lab experiments also revealed that animals with lower estrogen levels had a tendency to become less physically active.
There is some evidence suggesting that increasing or stabilizing estrogen levels results in an increase in the metabolic rate. Estrogen deficiency may also be a contributing factor in insulin resistance. Inability to efficiently break down sugars and starches has an adverse effect on your weight.
Less physical exercise is often an important factor in weight gain. As we get older we naturally tend to become more sedentary which often leads to weight problems. This is easily “treatable” by starting an exercise routine. Exercising 3 or more times a week is an excellent way to lose weight and it also helps your cardio health.
Heredity plays a major role in weight gain during menopause. It has been observed that people with overweight close relatives or parents also tend to “put on some pounds” later in life.
Bloating, Flatulence and Water Retention
Bloating and water retention are other common causes of weight gain during menopause. As your hormone levels fluctuate and “dance” all over the place, your body may produce an over abundance of gas and also start retaining fluids. Flatulence is often a result of trying to maintain a healthy diet and consuming the wrong foods like cabbage, beans, broccoli and other vegetables that produce gas.
Constipation is a problem for many women while going through menopause. It is not uncommon for the gastrointestinal system to slow down during menopause which leads to strain on the liver and constipation. Some drugs often prescribed during menopause may aggravate the situation. Clonidine (prescribed for high blood pressure), calcium and iron supplements are good examples. Bowtrol may help relieve constipation, flatulence and bloating.
Other Causes for Weight Gain During Menopause
Of course there may be other causes at play. It is also possible that combinations of the above factors are causing those additional pounds. Any persistent symptom should always be discussed with a qualified health practitioner.
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