Gaining Weight During Menopause? Here's Why

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Scott: You mentioned weight gain as a more common symptom now of menopause. Why is that happening?

Dr. Erin Lommen: It's right up there with hot flashes now, as to what women are talking quite a bit about when they come into the clinic, and I think weight gain's always been in there a little bit with aging. We all notice shifts. Weight gain for women during menopause happens. It's several things happening at once. One, for example, is our testosterone goes down, and that's a nice fat-burning, muscle-building hormone, and women need that as much as men. We just have smaller amounts of it, so we lose that. We have an increase in the fluctuations rather than the stable estrogens we used to have. Yes, it's going to go down, but it's also all over the map in terms of its level, and that causes some propensity to weight gain. The insulin resistance issue that I mentioned is very tied into the balance of the hormones, and so with the shift, some women are more prone to coming into that, and then that lends itself to weight gain as well.

Scott: So, if a woman knows this beforehand, what's the key to maintaining or even losing weight during that time of menopause?

Dr. Erin Lommen: It's helpful if you can know beforehand. Most women probably watch it happen, and end up coming through the door saying what happened. One thing that we aren't mindful of as we age is that we probably need to eat a little bit less. Per decade, they say, about ten less calories are going to be burned. Many of us, we have more and more free time, if you imagine retired people. They're eating more, and so that's one obvious factor of thinking about how we'd maintain a healthy place to be, both with weight gain and exercise. As I said, the hormone shift both in testosterone, estrogens, there are many more, lend themselves to weight gain if someone isn't balanced.
Weight gain has become a more common symptom of women going through menopause. But why is that the case? Dr. Erin Lommen explains what is happening in the body and with hormones that will lead to weight gain.

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