As women approach menopause they can experience many symptoms, including menopausal weight gain, one of the most common menopause symptoms.
In fact, up to 90% of menopausal women experience some degree of weight gain. Although weight gain is a natural and common aspect of getting older, there are ways to avoid it. By better understanding why weight gain occurs during this time, women can take the necessary steps to manage their weight. Continue reading to learn more about weight gain, its symptoms, and the risks involved.
Definition of Weight Gain
Weight gain takes place when body mass increases, whether as a result of fat deposits, additional muscle tissue, or excess fluid. However, weight gain during menopause is typically from additional fat accumulating on the waist.
On average, women gain between 12 and 15 pounds between the ages of 45 and 55, when the menopause transition typically occurs. This weight tends to accumulate around the abdomen rather than the hips. Women often notice the shape of their bodies slowly losing their hourglass figure and beginning to take on a rounded shape. Read below to learn the common symptoms associated with weight gain during menopause.
Symptoms of Weight Gain
Aside from clothes feeling tighter, there are other symptoms of weight gain during menopause. While the scale is enough to determine that weight gain has occurred, some indicators are unique to weight gain associated with menopause. At the right is a list of symptoms of weight gain during menopause. Continue reading below to learn about the risks associated with weight gain.
Risks of Weight Gain
Weight Gain and Breast Cancer
Women who gain in excess of 20 pounds after menopause are at an increased 20% of developing breast cancer, but those who lose 20 pounds after menopause reduce their breast cancer risk by as much as 23%.
Weight gain during menopause entails more than just aesthetic concerns; it can lead to very serious health conditions. Here is a list of conditions weight gain can cause:
- Heart disease, stroke
- High blood pressure
- Breast cancer
- High cholesterol
- Kidney disease
- Sleep apnea
- Insulin resistance (increasing diabetes risk)
- More severe menopause symptoms
Now that it's clear what weight gain during menopause is and what risks are associated with it, continue reading to learn about the causes of weight gain.
- Davis, S.R. et al. (2012). Understanding weight gain at menopause. Climacteric, 15(5), 419-429. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2012.707385.
- National Cancer Institute. (2012). Obesity and Cancer Risk. Retrieved April 29, 2016, from http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/obesity-fact-sheet#q4
- National Institutes of Health. (2013). Weight gain - unintentional. Retrieved April 29, 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003084.htm