As you get older, it is not unusual that maintaining your weight becomes more difficult. Weight gain during menopause is one particularly common issue that we see at the Marion Gluck Clinic, and whilst it’s not an inevitable symptom of menopause it is one of the most visible. There are many obvious lifestyle factors that contribute to weight gain like exercise and diet but hormones also a play a big part.
How Hormones Cause Weight Gain During Menopause
During peri-menopause, the first hormone that decreases is usually progesterone. This can lead to estrogen dominance, a common symptom of which is weight gain, causing you to store more fat around your stomach area.
It can often be confusing to hear that estrogen dominance is one of the primary factors that lead to weight gain during menopause, as it is commonly understood that estrogen levels drop during this time.
Whilst it is true that your estrogen levels drop significantly during menopause if your progesterone levels decrease at a faster rate you can still become estrogen dominant, no matter how little estrogen you actually have in your system. So long as you have lower levels of progesterone than estrogen, you are likely to experience many of the symptoms associated with estrogen dominance.
How to Balance Hormones During Menopause
It is important to work with your doctor to get a full picture of your hormonal health before starting any treatment for menopause symptoms. This should involve comprehensive blood tests and consultations to understand your symptoms and how your cycle affects you.
Only when your doctor has a full understanding of how your hormones and symptoms are linked, as well as any other contributing factors, should they prescribe any form of treatment.
For dealing with weight gain during menopause, your doctor may suggest a number of different complementary actions such as:
- A course of personalised bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) to help balance your hormone levels.
- They may refer you to a naturopath who can build a plan tailored to your needs and lifestyle.
- Increase exercise to help reduce the impact of a slower metabolism.
Ensure you lose weight safely
Maintaining or reaching a healthy weight is advisable at any stage in life, however, there are important factors to consider when losing weight during menopause. Extreme weight loss, such as that often seen during ‘yoyo’ dieting, can lead to a loss in bone mineral density (BMD). It is therefore very important to get healthy in the right way and to take the necessary steps to aid bone health with nutrition and supplements. You can read all about how weight impacts menopause symptoms and bone health here.
Are you struggling with menopause or worried about perimenopause symptoms? Get in touch today to book an appointment.