Perimenopause Weight Gain

The Connection Between Perimenopause and Weight Gain


As you learn more and more about menopause, you will often hear the words “perimenopause” and “weight gain” in the same sentence.  For starters, it is important to understand perimenopause in that many women simply have no idea.  With menopause, there are three types – early, active (normal), and late.  Perimenopause is a time when the body starts to move into active menopause.

However, perimenopause and early menopause are not the same.  Early menopause is when a woman actually goes into active menopause because of a hysterectomy, pelvic inflammation disease, genetic disorder, etc whereas perimenopause is the transition period just prior to a woman starting normal menopause.  Typically, this is anywhere from two to seven years, which also counts the first year after the menstrual cycle has stopped.

With all stages of menopause, including the transition period, numerous symptoms are experienced.  One being perimenopause and weight gain.  With this, not only are there physical changes, but also emotional and physiological changes.  The body’s entire core goes through a major transition that affects everything so a connection between perimenopause and weight gain makes perfect sense.

While a small number of women never have perimenopause and weight gain, most do.  Typically, the added pounds are due to hormonal and fat cell changes.  What happens is that women often have a much larger appetite than before, the body’s metabolism slows down, and changes are seen with digestion.  It is also possible that perimenopause and weight gain is linked because the body is no longer going through normal detoxification or because the body is having trouble with the regulation of heat.

Numerous studies have been done on perimenopause and weight gain and the results all show that the relationship of metabolism, insulin, and body fat begins to change.  Therefore, anyone who had previously maintained a svelte body by eating a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet would quickly discover this no longer works.  The body becomes resistant to insulin so every calorie being consumed now becomes fat.  This means the traditional diet the woman has enjoyed for years would now contribute to perimenopause and weight gain.

Another problem of perimenopause and weight gain has to do with body fat and the way the body deals with stress.  The body has stress hormones, which would include cortisol.  This hormone is what helps to prevent weight gain but in times when the body believes it is being starved, even when being fed enough food, it automatically stores calories, which results in the link of perimenopause and weight gain.

Another common cause for the link between perimenopause and weight gain is that women often deal with levels of depression, irritability, mood swings, improper sleep, poor concentration, etc.  To deal with all of these, binge eating starts.  In fact, women will often start craving more salty or sweet foods, which are known to pack on the pounds.  The key to controlling perimenopause and weight gain is for women to eat healthy but different, exercise, take supplements, and realize this is only a temporary transition.




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