The Relationship of Menopause and Weight Gain
Menopause naturally occurs to every normal female. It is like the reverse of arriving at the puberty stage when girls experience their first menstrual cycle or known as menarche. When females mature and reach their forties or fifties, their menstrual cycles may cease to happen. If the cessation of monthly periods lasted for a year, it will already be referred to as menopause.
Monthly periods are indicative of women’s fertility. The absence of such entails the absence of women’s capability to bear a child as well.
In the U.S., the average age of women who arrive in their menopausal stage is 51 years old. Menopause and Weight Gain may occur altogether to those in their menopausal stage,
The cessation of menstrual cycles happens when the ovaries stop releasing ova. An ovum is the female sex cell; it is a staple element in reproduction. Aside from the release of ova, their ripening or development stops as well.
In addition to the cessation of ovum release, the secretion of estrogens and other hormones by the ovaries also stops in menopause. One of the primary functions of the ovaries is the production and secretion of estrogens. Estrogen helps maintain the good condition of the uterus and the uterine lining. It also affects the build-up and the ensuing shedding of the uterine lining. Menstrual period is actually the shedding of the uterine lining. It comes out as the blood during periods.
Signs and Symptoms
Before Menopause and Weight Gain, early signs and symptoms appear in the stage known as perimenopause. Weight gain is accompanied by slowed metabolism as signs. Apart from those signs, irregular menstrual cycles are also an indication of perimenopausal stage. Other indicators of perimenopause/menopause are as follows:
• Sleeping problems
• Night sweats
• Hot flashes
• Easily gets distracted
• Memory lapses
• Dry and itchy skin
• Thinning hair or balding
• Loss of breast fullness and breast pain
• Vaginal dryness and irritation
• Loss of libido or the desire to engage in sexual intercourse.
Menopause and Weight Gain
Women in their menopausal stage usually gain more weight around the abdomen. Lack of balanced diet and physical activities are lifestyle factors that may contribute to such. Apart from those factors, the natural deterioration of the muscle tissues is considered culprits as well. In terms of menopausal factors, the decrease in estrogen secretions is to be blamed for the additional weight.
Estrogen is known as a female sex hormone relevant to pregnant women and would-be moms. This ovary-secreted chemical substance affects the distribution of fats in the body as well.
Females have the tendency to have a pear-shaped body as they grow. This is in preparation to pregnancy. But when menopause happens, the pear-shaped body tends to turn into an apple shape due to the accumulation of weight in the abdomen. Menopausal and postmenopausal women are not the only ones experiencing weight gain in the abdomen but men as well. For men, their alcoholism may also be a factor in their bloated abdomen.
Lack or decrease of estrogen, lowered metabolism, and muscle tissue deterioration are also factors to weight gain to menopausal women. Another common factor to women in their forties and fifties is the lack of exercise.
Proper Diet for Menopausal Women
Instead of watching your weight, you should watch more what you eat. Proper diet is still the best remedy against the signs or effects of menopause. In sleeping, there is a recommended hours of sleeping according to your age range. Just like that, there is also a recommended diet according to your body’s needs. Proper diet entails balance in your intake of vegetables, fruits, meat, fishes, and so on. That is why the recommended diet for each person should be tailored according to the excess and insufficiency in their diet, lifestyle and medical conditions.
For women in their menopausal stage, 2 cups of vegetables daily is highly recommended. It should be accompanied by 1 ½ cups of fruit each day. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals that may improve the state of various organs in the body. These foods are rich in fiber as well. When it comes to fiber, 21 grams is the recommended amount for menopausal women. Foods that are rich in fiber include rice, pasta, cereals, and whole-grain breads. Iron-rich foods are also a must-eat. Eight milligrams or three servings of these foods a day is the proposed dietary allowance for menopausal women. Enriched grain products, nuts, eggs, fish, poultry, and lean red meat are sources of iron. Menopausal women are also advised to obtain sufficient calcium. Milk is a basic source of calcium. Aside from milk, there are dairy products such as yogurts that women may take in as well. Legumes, broccoli, canned salmon and sardines are other options to get calcium. Two to four servings of these calcium-rich foods are recommended.
A balanced diet is a product of the subtraction of this and addition of that. What to add are mentioned previously. What you need to cut in your diet are fatty foods. These foods don’t just increase your weight; they also increase your chances of having heart problems. Fatty foods that you need to be wary of are cheese, ice cream, margarine, whole milk and fatty meats.
Salt and sugar should be taken in moderation. Meanwhile, it will be good if you opt to drink alcohol sparingly. But it will be better if your simply remove it in your diet.
Exercise for Menopausal Women
Physical activities are a great help in Menopause and Weight Gain even to older women. Just because you arrive in your menopausal stage doesn’t mean you may stop exercising. Physical activities may be exercises or dances. They should be done at least 30 minutes a day. They help in weight management by boosting metabolism. Menopausal women should also lessen their strenuous physical activities such as gardening and cleaning the house. These are just things that you cannot do once you arrive at that age. Menopausal stage also needs to be accepted by the one experiencing it.