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Menopause: weight gain

Many women suffer from it: They put on weight during menopause. The good news: this is not only due to the hormonal balance, which changes during menopause. Other causes are also possible - and they can be changed. That is why there are ways to prevent drastic weight gain.

Menopause marks the end of a woman's fertile phase. In the mid 1940s, the body begins to reduce the production of the female sex hormone, estrogen. This changes the interplay of hormones in the female body.

The proportion of the male hormone testosterone increases. Testosterone ensures that that Body fat distributed differently as before. The result: During menopause, weight gain tends to be deposited on the abdomen. The typical characteristics of the female body shape change: the waist, hips and buttocks are visibly disappearing, but the fat pads - typically male - collect on the stomach. If a big belly grows during menopause, some women feel like they are pregnant with the newly formed belly.

But the hormonal one Tendency to get belly fat is not solely responsible for weight gain during menopause. With age, it also decreases Muscle mass. Because muscles and the brain are the body's greatest burners of calories, this reduces the need for calories. If you continue to eat the same number of calories as before, you will automatically gain weight.

The most important cause of weight gain during menopause is therefore not the restructuring of the hormonal balance, but rather that with increasing age decreasing calorie needs. There are also other causes that can cause the scale's display to skyrocket during menopause.

Especially at the beginning of the menopause, pounds can go through Water retention to be added. The body lowers the level of the hormone progesterone. This creates a temporary Excess of estrogen (estrogen dominance)before the body then reduces the production of estrogen later during menopause. Estrogen, in turn, promotes the storage of water in the body. This is why many women struggle with weight gain due to water retention, especially at the beginning of their menopause.

The excess of estrogen can besides that thyroid affect. It itself produces a number of hormones that are primarily responsible for the metabolism and bone substance.

Around every tenth woman in Germany has a slight underactive thyroid, which mostly goes unnoticed. The increased level of estrogen right at the beginning of the menopause can also impair the function of the thyroid gland. An existing and previously unnoticed underactive thyroid can lead to significant symptoms during menopause. Weight gain, along with fatigue and hair loss, is one of the typical symptoms Hypothyroidism.

A blood test by the doctor can clarify whether the thyroid gland is actually underactive and needs treatment.