The link between menopause and weight gain.

Find out more about the link between menopause and weight gain.
Habitual Team
6/10/2024
4
min read
Checked by
6/10/2024
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Quick summary

It's completely natural for our weight to fluctuate during different life stages. After all, weight gain can be influenced by various factors, from hormonal changes to activity levels. As a result of this, it is hardly surprising that many people gain weight during menopause.

For example, according to a recent study, on average, women gain approximately 1.5kg per year during perimenopause, which equates to an average weight gain of 10kg overall. [1]

In this article, we'll explore the link between menopause and weight gain while also providing you with practical advice on how to prevent or combat weight gain during this stage in your life.

Why can menopause lead to weight gain?

There are many reasons why an individual may gain weight when experiencing menopause.

For example, during menopause, a decrease in both estrogen and progesterone triggers metabolic changes in the body. [2] Furthermore, studies have found that menopause can reduce both bone mass density and muscle mass while increasing visceral fat mass. [3] This, in turn, means that individuals tend to carry more weight after menopause.

Weight gain during this period can also be linked to the general signs of ageing or following a more sedentary lifestyle. For example, a recent report found that 30% of women are markedly less active after menopause, with 23% of women aged 45-54 being classified as "inactive." [4] A lack of regular exercise means that they are burning fewer calories, making it easier to gain weight.

Many of those going through menopause also notice changes in their appetites. For example, a recent study found that many individuals experience a significant appetite increase during perimenopause, though this tends to settle over time. [5]

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What are the risks associated with weight gain during menopause? 

Studies have found that menopause significantly increases the risk of [6]:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MFFLD)

All the conditons listed above can cause significant weight gain, leading to numerous health challenges further down the line. For this reason, it is generally advised that individuals work to maintain a healthy weight during menopause.

This is particualrly beneficial when you consider that weight loss is a great way to combat the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes. [7]

How To Combat Menopause Weight Gain.

Fortunately, there are many steps that you can take to combat weight gain triggered by menopause.

Take an active step to improve your lifestyle.

One of the easiest ways to combat weight gain is to make lifestyle changes, such as by exercising more often and monitoring your food intake. This allows you to take control of your weight and overall health.

If you struggle with your diet, you may benefit from our meal plans. Each 200-calorie meal is packed with the nutrients you need to maintain nutritional balance whilst losing weight. This is an excellent solution for those who want to follow a healthier diet but aren’t sure where to begin or do not feel as though they have the time to prepare healthy, home-cooked meals each day.

Get plenty of sleep.

Many women experiencing menopause may struggle to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, which could lead to weight gain. For example, a recent study found that poor sleeping patterns, or disturbed sleep, are often linked to increased appetite and a tendency to snack or overeat. [8] As such, improving your sleep hygiene can help prevent weight gain during this time by ensuring that you are as well-rested as possible.

Speak to your healthcare provider.

If you are concerned about menopause weight gain, speaking to your healthcare provider can be beneficial. They will help you devise a plan to combat the symptoms you are dealing with and ensure that you stay on the path to good health.

Consider weight-loss aids such as medication.

Weight loss aids, including medications such as Wegovy, Ozempic and Mounjaro, can also help you take control of your weight. For example, individuals taking Mounjaro lose, on average, 20.9% of their body weight within 72 weeks. [9]

While research is still ongoing, a recent study found that when combined with hormonal therapy, women taking semaglutide medication (Ozempic and Rybelsus tablets) reported an improved weight loss response. This was also found to lower blood pressure and glucose levels. [10]

However, it is worth noting that those who combined medication with the above lifestyle changes enjoyed the best results. For example, medication usage should be followed by dietary and lifestyle alterations.

Final Thoughts.

While many of those going through menopause will experience weight gain, this could be attributed to a wide variety of factors beyond menopause itself, such as a lack of activity or poor dietary choices.

Fortunately, there are many different ways in which menopausal individuals can take control of their weight, therefore bettering their overall health. This includes:

  • Exercising more often
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Consulting with healthcare professionals
  • Using weight loss medications.

If you'd like to find out more about the benefits of weight loss medication or are unsure which of our medication plans is right for you, please do not hesitate to get in touch today. We'd be happy to answer any questions you might have to put your mind at ease and ensure that you are on the path to good health.

References

  1. Menopause: Nutrition and Weight Gain. British Menopause Society. Retrieved 29th May 2024. Accessible here.
  1. Why am I gaining weight so fast during menopause? And will hormone therapy help? UChicago Medicine. Retrieved 28th May 2024. Accessible here.
  1. Maltais, ML., Desroches, J., Dionne, IJ. (2009) Changes in muscle mass and strength after menopause. Journal of musculoskeletal & neuronal interactions, 9(4)P:186-197. Accessible here.
  1. Menopause, Me and Physical Activity. Women In Sport. Retrieved 29th May 2024. Accessible here.
  1. Karine, Duval., Denis, Prud'homme., Remi, Rabasa-Lhoret., et al. (2014) Effects of the menopausal transition on dietary intake and appetite: a MONET Group Study. European journal of clinical nutrition, 68(2)P:271–276. Accessible here.
  1. Jeong, Hye Gyeong., Park, Huyantae. Metabolic Disorders in Menopause. Metabolites, 2(10)P:954. Accessible here.
  1. Thurston, Rebecca C., Ewing, Linda J., Low, Carissa A., et al. (2015) Behavioral weight loss for the management of menopausal hot flashes: a pilot study. Menopause, 22(1)P:59-65. Accessible here.
  1. Papatriantafyllou, Evangelia., Efthymiou, Dimitris., Zoumbaneas, Evangelos., et al. (2022) Sleep Deprivation: Effects on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. Nutrients, 14(8)P:1549. Accessible here.
  2. Aronne, Louis J., Sattar, Naveed., Horn, Deborah B., et al. (2023). Continued Treatment With Tirzepatide for Maintenance of Weight Reduction in Adults With Obesity: The SURMOUNT-4 Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 331(1)P:38–48. Accessible here.
  1. Hurtado, Maria D., Tama, Elif., Fansa, Sima., et al. (2024). Weight loss response to semaglutide in postmenopausal women with and without hormone therapy use. Menopause 31(4)P:266–274. Accessible here.

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