Some women will experience weight gain during or after menopause.
During the menopause, the change in hormones can mean the body stores more fat and burns calories less efficiently. HRT can help with this but activity and exercise are the best way to increase your body’s ability to burn calories. Reducing stress can help too. Exercise, stress reduction, cutting down on caffeine and alcohol, stopping smoking and a healthy diet all help with excess weight gain and other menopausal symptoms.
It is important however to ensure that weight gain isn’t caused by something else, such as an underactive thyroid, particularly if you have a family history of the condition. If this is the case, you should speak to your GP.
HRT and weight gain
There’s no scientific evidence that HRT causes weight gain. However, a small percentage of women may develop fluid retention with HRT – often it is mild and will settle in 4 to 6 weeks.
Once you have checked that there are no medical reasons for weight gain then it is time to research the best way for you to manage your weight and you can manage your weight gain.
What are the health risks associated with weight gain in the menopause?
Any kind of significant weight gain comes with health risks. If you’re obese, you’re much more likely to develop serious conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. You’re also more at-risk for certain types of cancer.
A specific health risk for menopausal women is that weight gain tends to occur around the middle. Fat storage in this area is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and heart attack.