Few women complete the menopausal transition without incurring at least slight weight gain. Up to 90% of women experience some amount of weight gain between the ages of 45 and 55 as they enter menopause, and on average, they will gain between 12 and 15 pounds (5.5 - 7.0 kg) during this period of time.
Since menopausal weight gain often occurs due to changes in estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone levels, it is possible to stop the gain by treating the hormonal imbalance.
Although it was once typical to prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause symptoms, the medication's connection severe side effects - including an increased risk of heart disease - has caused many doctors to reconsider this drastic option. Rather, they recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and alternative treatments to combat weight gain.
Three Approaches to Treating Weight Gain
Three approaches can be considered regarding weight gain treatment. These are divided into: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine, and (3) Medications and Surgery.
Women are urged to begin with the least-risky form of treatment, lifestyle changes, before trying other methods. Medications and surgery should only be turned to in highly severe cases.
1. Lifestyle Changes for Weight Gain
- Eat a balanced diet of moderate portions Exercise regularly
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake
- Sleep seven to eight hours per night
- Avoid sedentary activities
While the first level of treatment involves the lowest risk, it conversely demands the most self-control. Small lifestyle adjustments can often go a long way in controlling weight and improving overall well-being.
Fundamentally, regular exercise and an improved diet are the keys to limiting weight gain. Even if a woman has not made any substantial changes to her diet, she may experience weight gain during menopause. This is because fluctuating hormone levels also affect metabolism. During menopause, a woman may need to consume fewer calories than before to maintain the same weight.
Dietary Changes to Lose Weight
- Moderate portion size Choose unsaturated fats over saturated fats Replace refined carbs with whole grains
- Avoid soft drinks
- Focus on fruits and vegetables
- Avoid fried and greasy foods
- Consume estrogen-boosting foods, like soy and alfalfa
Easy Exercises to Control Weight Gain
Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day, five days a week. A woman can start with lower-intensity exercises and gradually work up to a higher level.
Lifestyle changes are a healthy and wholesome way to manage weight gain, but the time commitment may prove difficult. In addition, they do not balance all the hormones whose levels can contribute to menopausal weight gain. Fortunately, alternative medicines are a safe and effective way to balance hormones and help fight weight gain. Continue reading to find out more about natural treatments for changes in weight.
2. Alternative Medicine for Weight Gain
This approach encompasses several treatment methods. Herbal supplements are the most prominent because they require less of a time and monetary commitment and are easier to follow. In addition, herbal supplements are the only alternative treatment form that can fully balance the hormonal system.
Herbal Energy Stimulants
Herbal Appetite Suppressants
- Green tea
As for herbal supplements, there are two primary types that can affect hormone levels: phytoestrogenic and hormone regulating herbal supplements.
These supplements, such as black cohosh, contain phytoestrogens, or estrogen compounds that originate from plants. Supplying the body with these compounds can help balance estrogen levels, but eventually, the presence of outside hormones can make the body less able to produce natural hormones, resulting in a deficiency in the long run. Therefore, extended use of these supplements is not recommended.
Alternatively, supplements like Macafem do not contain any hormones. Rather, these supplements support the hormonal glands with nutrients, which stimulates natural hormone production at proper levels. This balances not only estrogen, but also other hormones that affect weight, like testosterone. In sum, Macafem is safe and effective because it promotes natural hormone production and can be used long-term.
From "Nature and Health Magazine," Dr. Gloria Chacon says:
"Macafem nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production by inducing the optimal functioning of the endocrine glands." Click on the following link if you want to read and learn more about Macafem.
A combination of approaches is what most menopausal women use to control weight gain. Many find a mix of lifestyle changes and alternative medicines to be effective. However, in severe cases when other factors contribute to weight changes in addition to hormonal imbalances, medical invention may be needed. Nonetheless, women should not advance to this treatment stage without first assessing the potential risks.
3. Medications and Surgery for Weight Gain
The third approach involves the most risk and is typically the most expensive as well.
Medications for regulating hormone levels
In recent years, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been the most popular medication for menopausal weight gain. Though it can be a quick and effective way to treat symptoms, it also entails unsafe side effects, including an elevated risk of some types of cancer that affect women, as exposed in the study below.
In 1991, the National Institutes of Health began the Women's Health Initiative, the largest clinical trial ever carried out. It was intended to research the pros and cons of HRT, but it was cut short 11 years later, when it was concluded that synthetic hormones raise the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease, blood clots, and stroke.
Some medications are available to promote weight loss, but they may not be effective on their own; they are best used when paired with a healthy diet and exercise.
- Orlistat - for blocking the absorption of fat
- Appetite suppressants
- Combination drugs
The most extreme of weight loss options, bariatric surgery is reserved for those with a body mass index over 40 who have not been able to lose weight in any other way. The different procedures include:
- Adjustable gastric band
- Gastric bypass
- Duodenal switch
- Vertical sleeve gastrectomy
The three approaches to treatment can be combined as necessary in order to best treat the symptoms. More and more women are finding that a blend of herbal supplements and changes in lifestyle produce the greatest results in managing menopausal weight gain.
A Safe Way of Treating Weight Gain
Start by changing habits:
- Exercising at least 150 minutes a week
- Eating small portions
- Reducing calorie intake
- Consuming estrogen-boosting foods
- Fried and processed foods
- Excessive alcohol consumption
And taking hormone-regulating herbal supplements:
- Support a healthy hormonal system
- Completely natural and high in nutrients
A good option is Macafem - learn more about it.
- Davis, S.R. et al. (2012). Understanding weight gain at menopause. Climacteric, 15(5), 419-429. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2012.707385
- Harvard Health Publications. (2012). Weight-loss drug review. Retrieved May 6, 2016, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/weight-loss-drug-review
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2011). Bariatric Surgery for Severe Obesity. Retrieved May 6, 2016, from http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/bariatric-surgery-severe-obesity/Pages/bariatric-surgery-for-severe-obesity.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2013). Weight gain - unintentional. Retrieved May 6, 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003084.htm