Are you interested in learning about perimenopause weight gain?
Perimenopause or menopausal transition is the time period surrounding a woman’s last fertile period.
This is technically right before the body enters full menopause, and it’s characterized primarily by irregular periods. As long as you still get your period – even if it’s only once every few months – you are considered to be in perimenopause and not full menopause.
Perimenopause can last just a few months or as long four years, according to WebMD. The first symptoms usually appear when you are in your 40s, but they can show up much sooner than that. Aside from irregular periods, other common signs of perimenopause include fatigue, vaginal dryness, lower sex drive, mood swings, and weight gain.
What Causes the Perimenopause Weight Gain
The symptoms of menopause are associated with a decrease in estrogen in the body. As the production of estrogen declines, the body responds by slowing down, which in turn can lead to weight gain and a number of health issues associated with it.
In fact, research presented at the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society showed that a decline in estrogen is directly connected to increased appetite, changes in body fat distribution, and a slower metabolism. In simpler words: as you hit menopause, your body will become less efficient at burning calories, so you’ll convert more of what you eat into fat to be stored in your body.
Another, even more revealing study conducted by UT Southwestern Medical Center, links estrogen and weight gain to a reaction in your brain. According to researchers, estrogen sends a signal to certain neural centers in the brain that regulate appetite and manage energy expenditure. When estrogen levels go down, those signals become weaker or stop, leading to weight gain.
Going Beyond Hormone Replacement Therapy
The obvious answer to the problem of low estrogen levels could be hormone replacement therapy.
According to a recent Japanese study, postmenopausal women on a 12-month program of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) didn’t gain any abdominal fat, while those not taking estrogen had an increase in their visceral fat – even though other factors were similar in both groups.
However, estrogen therapy is not for everybody and is not the only solution to perimenopause weight gain. Another thing you can do to slow down weight gain is to increase the frequency and intensity of your workouts. Why? Because exercise revs up metabolism, which is what leads to faster calorie burning in everyday life – even when you’re at rest.
The human body loses 3-5 percent of muscle mass a decade after you reach your 30s – a major problem since muscle is what keeps your metabolism working at its best.
Adding a weight training routine to your regular workouts can go a long way to fighting those extra pounds during the perimenopause years.
As your muscle mass increases, your metabolism will work more efficiently and it will become easier to manage your weight, especially if you’re also watching your diet!
- WebMD: Perimenopause
- Science Daily: Revealing Estrogen’s Secret Role In Obesity
- Science Daily: Estrogen works in the brain to keep weight in check, study shows
- International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders: Effects of hormone replacement therapy on weight, abdominal fat distribution, and lipid levels in Japanese postmenopausal women
- WebMD:Sarcopenia With Aging