Menopause Weight Gain: What Causes it and How to Deal With It

There are different changes our bodies go through as we transition from one life stage to another. And, while some are inevitable, research shows that others aren’t. Menopause weight gain is part of the latter group. Why does it happen, can you alleviate that pesky bloating, and does Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) actually help?

Woman measuring her waistline
Menopause Weight Gain: What Causes it and How to Deal With It

Why Menopause Weight Gain Occurs

As we get older, we tend to become less active, which leads to reduced muscle mass. Add that our metabolisms slow down, and there is a rational reason why, after a certain age, everyone is more prone to gaining weight. With women in menopause, however, fluctuating hormone levels also play a significant part in that process. According to new research, plummeting estrogen levels in women may encourage them to exercise less and eat more. It also increases insulin resistance and lowers the metabolic rate, which makes it difficult for the body to deal with starches and sugars.

Mature woman facing pelvic pain at home
Menopause Weight Gain: What Causes it and How to Deal With It

What About Menopause Bloating?

While not every woman gains weight during menopause and perimenopause, it’s likely that they will feel uncomfortable and bloated. That happens because the erratic hormone levels that occur in the body encourage intestinal gas and water retention. HRT can also cause bloating. Experts say that while HRT may promote fluid retention, it can also increase your resting metabolic rate, thus helping you avoid weight gain in the belly area.

What Can You Do?

Mid-aged woman drinking herbal tea
Menopause Weight Gain: What Causes it and How to Deal With It

The best thing is to swap processed carbohydrates like pasta, rice, and white bread for whole grains. It’s good to drink plenty of water throughout the day, as well as herbal teas. Cut back on your alcohol, caffeine, and salt intake too. Try switching gassy foods like peas, beans, potatoes, onions, cabbage, and broccoli for foods that reduce gas, such as watermelon, cucumber, eggs, bananas, yogurt, and hard cheese. And above everything, keep moving. Go for walks, take up a Zumba class, give yoga a chance. Whatever it is, it’s important to keep your body flexible and toned. You got this!