Many women going through menopause become distressed about the extra weight they seem to put on rapidly, for no apparent reason. Unfortunately, rapid weight gain is a common symptom of menopause though this may be of little consolation to the women experiencing it. Luckily, there are remedies and strategies available to counter some of the worst effects of rapid weight gain during menopause, which these are outlined in the following paragraphs.
Why Does Menopause Cause Rapid Weight Gain?
On average, women will gain between 10-15 pounds during the menopausal years and hormonal fluctuations largely accounts for the change. During menopause the body (in light of changed fertility standards) redistributes weight to the areas around the abdomen as opposed to the hips, thighs and backside. This occurs because the body's hormones no longer place emphasis on protecting the reproductive organs. The result being the area around the stomach becomes fatter and rounder.
Is not solely restricted to menopausal women. Many women notice rapid weight gain in the days before and during their period. They can gain several pounds and often feel bloated. This is an example of how hormones make you retain fluids. Other times hormones can result in water retention and fast weight gain when you take consuming contraceptives containing the hormone estrogen, anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids and some anti-depressants.
The body's hormones affect factors that cause us to eat more and fat storage. This is why during menopause, when the hormones are changing drastically, it is so difficult to maintain control over weight. During menopause estrogen levels decline to the point where the body stops ovulating completely. In order to compensate for the loss of estrogen the body starts to convert fat cells into estrogen.
This has the effect of manipulating the body to work harder to convert calories into fat, which don't burn calories like muscles, causing extra weight gain during menopause.
The body also produces less progesterone during menopause. Less progesterone causes higher water retention rates, which in turns produces the bloated feeling and look that some menopausal women can't stand. Mercifully though, water retention and bloating tend to disappear after a few months.
What Can I do about Rapid Weight Gain?
Whilst weight gain during menopause is somewhat inevitable, even natural, there is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater and give up on healthy living altogether. Indeed, without a healthy diet and regular exercise weight gain may really start to swing out of control. And with a healthy diet and exercise program you will often find the pounds start to fall off again.
It is important to remember however, crash diets and where one loses a huge amount of weight is never recommended, particularly because the extra weight can serve a purpose by helping to manage other menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. For a more orderly transition phase and to help regulate the rapidity of the weight gain, many women find natural herbs and alternative treatments to be helpful in regulating weight caused by hormonal swings.
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