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Can Menopause Cause Weight Loss?

Can Menopause Cause Weight Loss?

Menopause does not cause weight loss but rather weight gain because of the shift in the levels of female hormones like estrogen and progesterone. In fact, weight loss during or after menopause indicates other health conditions like diabetes or depression. As low levels of estrogen cause insulin resistance and low mood, both these ailments are common around menopause.

Menopause is a phase dreaded by nearly all women from around the world, and it’s no surprise why. Along with severely “blue” moods, hot flashes, and sleeplessness comes the problem of putting on weight, especially near the stomach area. But while most women strive to find natural ways to lose weight during menopause, some experience a loss of weight as they transition into their menopausal stage. It may seem like a blessing to most of us who struggle with fighting unwanted layers of fat, but on the contrary, this is actually indicative of far more serious health conditions.

Menopause Does Not Cause Weight Loss

Weight gain — not weight loss — is what most women complain about when they reach menopause, even though it is not caused by menopause itself. The fluctuating hormonal levels are responsible for the redistribution of fat around the abdominal and stomach area that makes us overweight. Other age-related factors such as slower metabolic rate, less physical activity, loss of muscle mass, stress, etc. also make it even more difficult to maintain weight during menopause.

Weight Loss During Menopause Indicates Other Health Conditions

Menopause is marked by hormonal fluctuations that make you more susceptible to a wide range of health disorders and diseases. Estrogen is an essential hormone that protects the skin, brain, vagina, heart, and bones in women. With menopause comes a significant decrease in estrogen, and this has a profound impact on your health, especially when it comes to your heart and your bones.

If you are losing weight during perimenopause, menopause or even after, it is possible that it is really some adverse health condition, and not menopause itself, at play.

Menopausal women find themselves at the wrath of a wide variety of diseases and health conditions, and some of those may be responsible for causing weight loss.

Diabetes During Menopause May Cause Weight Loss

Diabetes May Cause Weight Loss

As you age, your glucose tolerance levels significantly decrease. This factor, along with the hormonal changes, makes most women above the age of 44 experience an increased risk of diabetes type 2.1 Low estrogen levels can also up your body’s insulin resistance, triggering sweet cravings that lead to weight gain. This adds to your chances of developing diabetes. Women who have risk factors like a family history of diabetes, a history of polycystic ovary syndrome (a condition associated with insulin resistance), obesity, and gestational diabetes, need to be extra careful. One of the symptoms of diabetes is rapid weight loss. You may simultaneously experience other symptoms like thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue.

Treatment – The American Diabetes Association advises women to get themselves tested every 3 years starting at 45 years, especially if you find yourself weighing more than you ought to.2

Stress And Depression During Menopause Can Cause Weight Loss

 Stress And Depression May Cause Weight Loss

Hormonal changes during menopause can cause severely low moods in women. They can even lead to stress, irritability, and hopelessness. Sometimes, this is just a normal symptom of menopause, but there are times it could lead to chronic depression. This, paired with difficulty in sleeping that comes in naturally with age, can lead to loss of appetite, and in turn, an unhealthy loss of weight. This is just as bad as putting on weight, as the body still needs a healthy balanced diet to perform all its functions properly, irrespective of what the age may be.

Treatment – A healthy diet can be very beneficial in boosting mood levels, especially if it includes foods that are rich in magnesium. Try and get some physical activity every day as exercise releases endorphins or “feel good” hormones and can significantly help in bringing down your stress levels.

In case you feel your mood swings are too severe or indicative of a more serious condition, such as depression, it is very important to seek professional intervention. Consult your doctor for advice; he will discuss the possibility of various treatments with you, such as antidepressants which can help ease your symptoms.

Note: Always seek the guidance of your doctor before taking antidepressant drugs for you may be unaware of the serious side effects they could have on your health.

References   [ + ]

1. Shimokata, Hiroshi, Denis C. Muller, Jerome L. Fleg, John Sorkin, Andrzej W. Ziemba, and Reubin Andres. “Age as independent determinant of glucose tolerance.” Diabetes 40, no. 1 (1991): 44-51.
2. 2. Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes. American Diabetes Association.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.