Recognized by the National Association of Women’s Health for Excellence in Comprehensive Women’s Services.
One of the most common concerns expressed by menopausal and premenopausal women is how easy it is to gain weight and or how hard it is lose weight. Unfortunately and honestly speaking, it is in fact a real challenge. The reality of it is that increased weight does affect the majority of menopausal women, which in turn also increases the chances of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis (particularly of the hips and knees).
In animal studies, estrogen appears to help regulate body weight. Animals with lower estrogen levels tend to eat more and be less active and reduced estrogen also lowers the metabolic rate.In theory it is possible that the same thing happens with women since estrogen levels decrease after menopause. In fact, some evidence suggests that estrogen hormone replacement therapy increases a women’s resting metabolic rate and might help slow weight gain. Reduced estrogen may also cause the body to use starch and glucose less effectively increasing fat storage and making it increasing difficult o lose weight.
As women age, many other changes occur that contribute to weight gain as well. This includes being less likely to exercise, studies show that 60% of all adults are not active enough and that number only increases with age. Your aerobic capacity declines and you lose muscle mass which decreases your resting metabolism making it easier to gain weight.You may need to increase the amount of time and intensity of your exercise regimen. Aging women also suffer from a host of psychological changes which increase the difficulty in dealing with menopause and its effect.
After menopause, women experience a natural decline in energy coupled with a lower resting metabolic rate and an increase in appetite related hormones. Not exactly a recipe for a slim figure! Add in the fact that when people lose weight, their brain’s reward system is revved up and their desire to eat therefore making it extremely difficult to lose weight and keep pounds at bay.
When looking for treatments for weight gain, it’s important to begin with methods that are the least obtrusive, with the least likelihood of side effects, and progress from there. This means that lifestyle changes are the best place to begin.