Updated: Sep 11
The menopausal years usher in significant changes to a woman’s body and life. Not simply does this mark the end of periods and reproduction, it also comes with many physical and emotional changes. One aspect that has emerged as a critical factor during this transition is body weight. Being overweight, especially being obese, is connected to the types and severity of symptoms you experience during menopause and how healthy you are in later years. Let’s look at how your body weight can affect you during menopause. In this blog we'll look at how it's related to health risks. In future blogs we’ll discuss specific strategies and treatments for weight gain during menopause.
Overweight, Obesity and Menopause: How They're Linked
Being obese and going through menopause are tied together in a complex way. They both
affect each other and your overall health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) measures overweight or obese using the Body Mass Index (BMI) which is divided into classes. All people tend to gain weight as they age. However, women tend to be more likely to be obese than men, especially very obese. In addition, during menopause, women’s metabolisms slow and they accumulate more visceral abdominal fat (VAT). This fat is connected to higher blood pressure, sugar levels, and fats in your blood. These things can make you more likely to have type 2 diabetes, a fatty liver, a metabolic syndrome, or heart problems.
How Being Overweight and Obese Affects Your Health
Being overweight and obese during menopause doesn't just change how you look. It can make health problems more likely such as:
Type 2 Diabetes: Being overweight increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Losing just a little bit of weight, like 3-5%, can make blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure better and lower the chance of getting type 2 diabetes.
Breast Cancer: Being obese raises the risk of getting breast cancer after menopause. The fat in your body produces estrogen, that can cause breast cancer.
Cardiovascular Health: Being overweight and obese can make it more likely to have heart problems and other cardiovascular conditions.
Joint Health: Women going through menopause often experience muscle and joint pain, which is exacerbated if they're carrying too much weight,.
Sleep and Bladder Issues: Obesity can make sleep apnea and bladder issues more likely. These things can affect your daily life and how well you sleep.
Obesity, Hormones, and Menopause Symptoms
During menopause, your hormones change, and that can cause different symptoms. Women who are obese might have lower levels of the potent estrogen ‘estradiol’ before menopause, but higher levels after. This can make some symptoms, like hot flashes, different for obese women.
Managing Your Weight: Getting Healthy
Taking care of your weight during menopause is important for staying healthy and feeling better. Studies show that even losing a little bit of weight can help with your health. It can lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes and help you move better. But losing weight is very difficult and and takes time. Working with a healthcare provider can help you see results.
Getting Support: Health Coaching and Lifestyle Changes
Health coaching can be a helpful way to get support for managing your weight during menopause. Talking to a coach can help you make better choices, like eating healthier and exercising more. A study showed that women who had health coaching had better weight, less depression, and fewer menopause symptoms. This kind of support can help you make lasting changes for your health.
Menopause is a big change in a woman's life, and your body weight plays an important role in how you experience it. Being overweight or obese during menopause can increase health risks, from heart problems to breast cancer. Taking care of your weight can lead to a healthier and happier life. If you're struggling, consider getting help by registering for an appointment at the Virtual Menopause Clinic. Click Here to Schedule a Consultation
By understanding how your body weight affects your health, you can embrace this phase of life with confidence and better well-being.
Check out the Virtual Menopause Clinic Youtube Channel with more information about all things menopause!