Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when she stops menstruating. It often comes between 45-55 years of age and it’s diagnosed 12 months after a woman’s last menstrual period.
Women start experiencing physiological and psychological changes during menopause. There’s also a tendency to gain weight around the time of menopause. Hormonal imbalances cause hormonal weight gain around the abdomen, hips, and thighs. Along with hormonal changes, there are many genetic and lifestyle factors that contribute to it.
For weight loss, women often get inclined toward crash diets that may develop eating disorders. But this time, women should be cautious about their health and opt for natural remedies for menopause weight gain.
What Is Premature and Early Menopause?
Menopause is a life stage when women can no longer get pregnant. The average age for menopause is in her early 50s. Premature menopause happens before a woman is 40, and early menopause before age of 45. The symptoms are similar to menopause, but the reasons are often unknown.
Premature and early menopause is the condition when women go through menopause at an early age. Both phenomena drive women to be unable to conceive. Premature ovarian insufficiency is when there’s no medical cause for premature menopause.
Earlier it was known as premature ovarian failure POF. Nowadays, it’s contradicted— because women with POF may experience intermittent ovulation, menstrual bleeding, or pregnancy after being mentioned they have ovarian dysfunction.
Symptoms and Indicators of Perimenopause
Perimenopause is a stage when ovaries produce fewer hormones that induce hormonal imbalances. It causes fluctuation in the levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. When it stops, menopause begins.
It’s the first stage when a woman experiences menopause symptoms and may worsen with the next. Possible factors are smoking, surgery to remove ovaries, chemotherapy side effects, family history of menopause, having medical issues like HIV AIDS, chromosomal syndrome, or infections.
Women start experiencing irregular menstrual cycles, which is the first indicator of perimenopause. Talk to your doctor if you notice irregular periods, especially if you’re a middle-aged woman. The symptoms of perimenopause are as mentioned below.
- Dry skin, mouth, or eyes
- Insomnia, Weak memory
- Head, joint, and muscle pains
- Weight gain and hair thinning
- Vaginal dryness and Changes in sex drive
- Breast tenderness and change in breast size
- Elevated heartbeats, dementia or osteoporosis
- Frequent urination and More Urinary tract infections
- Emotional stress, mood swings, and mild depression or anxiety
- Hot flashes (you may feel sudden warmth in your body), Night sweats,
Natural Solutions for Menopause Weight Gain
A balanced and healthy diet has proven to reduce menopausal symptoms. When you prioritize nutrient-rich foods and eliminate carbs and sugar from your diet, you feel better and positive. Here we list all the best solutions that help you during menopause.
Consume Calcium and Vitamin D-rich Foods
Consuming calcium and vitamin D-rich foods helps you keep bones and teeth strong. It’s vital to take calcium when you’re at the menopause stage as there’s a high risk of osteoporosis.
A study conducted by epidemiologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences studied— a high intake of Vitamin D and calcium-rich foods helps lower the risk of premature menopause.
You should aim for a 1200mg calcium daily intake. Spinach, kale, okra, soybeans, Brazil nuts, fish, white beans, and calcium-fortified foods are good sources of calcium and vitamin D.
Cooked green leafy vegetables are better because raw ones contain oxalates that aren’t easily digestible. Cooking makes it suitable for body absorption.
Always maintain Vitamin D levels because it helps in the absorption of calcium by the body. A small amount is found in food products and formed by the body through sun exposure.
Consume Protein-rich Foods
When women are approaching menopause or post-menopause, a protein-rich diet is a boon. It’s because women lose muscle mass during this phase, and it’s tough for them to build muscle again.
A person requires protein to build muscles, bones, and a healthy immune system. Women need about 46 grams of protein a day. As per the Institute of Medicine— you can take 10% of daily calories from protein, but it shouldn’t exceed 35%.
Protein-rich foods are fish, meat, eggs, dairy, beans, soy products, lentils, legumes, nuts, and Omega 3 foods. If you’re trying to lose weight, protein is the best food source. It helps you keep full for a long and helps you build body muscles.
Consume Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and healthy fats has shown positive results during menopause. It helps in easing hot flashes and weight gain. An Iranian study published by the North American Menopause Society NAMS, for menopause, fruits and vegetables provide the best benefits.
The study was conducted on middle-aged women 40 to 76 years. They’re provided with a diet that has a good amount of fruits and vegetables. It showed that they inherit more energy than ladies with lower intake. Citrus fruits like oranges, limes, citrons, and grapefruits, were reported to ease menopause symptoms.
Consume More Phytoestrogen-rich Foods
Estrogen promotes sexual and reproductive development in women. It’s present in males and females of all ages. But in women, it’s found on the higher side. It regulates the menstrual cycle and the growth of female organs. It’s decreased during menopause, resulting in hot flashes and cold flashes.
Phytoestrogen is a dietary estrogen found naturally in plants and acts similar to hormones present in the human body. Foods like flax seeds, soybeans and edamame, dried fruits, sesame seeds, garlic, peaches, berries, and wheat bran are good sources of phytoestrogen. The phytoestrogen-rich foods are natural remedies for hot flashes and menstrual pains.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Change your lifestyle with age, try to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Aging slows metabolism, decreases muscles, and increases body fat. It happens as we aren’t physically active. Weight accumulates in the midsection resulting in diabetes, cholesterol, osteoporosis, and the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It interferes emotionally as well as physically.
It’s necessary to stick to a healthy diet and active regimen. To maintain healthy body weight, limit sugar intake, watch portion control, and give up on carbohydrate and fatty foods. Go for morning walks and do yoga.
Avoid stress and meditate for at least 15 minutes daily. Stress may worsen menopause symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy might help. Also, Pilates, yoga, and acupuncture calm the brain and nervous system. Women with a healthy lifestyle experience fewer menopausal issues.
Regular Exercise Is Essential
To combat weight gain, start with moderate and HIIT workout for menopause. You can include swimming, walking, cycling, or running in your daily workout schedule. Don’t stress your body, go for moderate levels of exercise with high-intensity intervals with breaks.
As per CDC, all adults should do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week and at least two days of muscle strengthening exercises that engage legs, hips, thigh, abdomen, chest, and other body muscles. If you prefer HIIT, CDC recommends balancing moderate and HIIT exercise every week— along with strength training.
We perform some exercises when we are 60, so we should adjust them according to our age. If you’re someone who doesn’t love exercising then keep moving. Try exercises like lifting, pushing, or pulling for muscle strengthening. If you’re not an active person, little exercise may exhaust you. So, be mindful when you’re exercising. You can also keep a personal trainer or therapist for guidance.
Drink Plenty of Water
Dryness is a common issue during menopause. It happens due to decrease in estrogen levels. For this, you should drink at least 8 to 12 glasses of water daily. Water eliminates dryness and reduces bloating. It also helps to prevent weight gain by keeping you full and enhancing your metabolism.
It’s advisable to drink 500ml of water, 30 minutes before every meal. This way, you eat fewer calories.
Reduce Your Intake of Refined Sugar and Processed Foods
A high sugar diet and processed foods spike blood sugar and you feel irritated and tired. Carbs and menopause – this can worsen the condition, and you may experience mood swings and stress. In fact, a study stated that high carbs and sugar diet increase the chances of depression in postmenopausal women.
High-processed foods and GI index foods also affect bone health as you’re more inclined toward carbs that fill your stomach and lack essential nutrients. A study showed that women who took high processed foods at 50 to 59 years had low bone density.
Use Natural Supplements
Many people use natural supplements or herbs for menopause weight gain. However, the evidence is weak. Here are few commonly used natural supplements for menopausal relief.
As mentioned earlier, it is a plant-based source availed via dietary forms. There’s no current evidence that it helps. But in naturopathy, it’s said to boost estrogen levels.
Black Cohosh is said to alleviate hot flashes, but the evidence is mixed. It’s made from the root of the North American Black Cohosh plant. Several studies show the positive impact of Black Cohosh on hot flashes.
Flaxseeds help in women experiencing mild menopause symptoms. It has a component called lignans that balances female hormones.
Red clover contains estrogens, and many women believe that it eases menopause symptoms. Yet, there are mixed results found in studies. Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplement.
Wild Yam is a popular alternative to hormone therapy. Yam contains estrogen and progesterone, but it might not be active in humans.
Different type of Ginseng helps to improve sleep quality in menopause. It boosts mood and relieves stress. But there are no studies to prove it.
Many people say that turmeric for menopause is a boon for irregular periods. It also helps as an antibiotic that relives pain, hot flashes, and low moods. Curcumin found in turmeric increases testosterone levels and helps women improve their libido.
Other supplements like probiotics, cranberry juice, kava, DHEA-S, and primrose oil may alleviate menopausal symptoms. These are considered to be the best menopause supplements for weight loss— but more research is needed.
Rest and Sleep
Insomnia is the worst symptom of menopause. It’s when a woman is on the verge of her final menstrual cycle. According to the North America Menopause Society, this phase lasts 4 to 8 years. Due to lack of sleep, you might feel exhausted every time you wake up. Getting high-quality sleep can improve your lifestyle and boosts energy.
Inadequate sleep triggers hunger pangs, and you binge on sugary foods— it’s not a good sign when trying to lose weight. To stay healthy, close your kitchen by 7 pm and go for a brisk walk. Avoid eating food before bedtime, a minimum of 1.5 hours is advised.
Seven to eight hours of sleep at this age is good for you. It may vary from person to person. Keep your room cool to avoid hot flashes and sweat at night. Turn off all the bright lights in your room. You can try wearing eye covers for better sleep.
Managing Stress Effectively
Fat makes you stressed, and this is vice versa. As per CDC, there’s a strong link between stress and obesity in women. If you’re stressing yourself, the cortisol level in the body will increase and deposit fat around the belly.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that stimulates the liver to produce and release blood sugar and helps the body convert fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy. When released in stressful times, it results in Type 2 Diabetes and insulin resistance.
To reduce stress, you can go for a walk, try new meditation apps, give up alcohol and take a help of a counselor. Remember, you have to balance your emotional energy to elevate your mood. Diverting your mind and keeping you busy with the things you love gives positive results for a happy you.
Take Herbal Products
Over-the-counter herbal medicines are available in medical stores to ease menopause symptoms. It contains nutrients and a combination of herbs for the menopause stage. Yet, the quality of herbs and mixes varies from one company to another.
If you’re thinking of getting herbal products, always talk to your nutritionist or healthcare professional about these medicines. About 13% of U.S. Women use herbal supplements for managing hot flushes, weight gain, and other menopausal issues. These therapies include phytoestrogen, ginseng oil, and primrose oil. Even though they’re not effective solutions, 25% of women take these after consulting a therapist.
Women have to make better choices in these crucial times. If you’re looking for herbal products, always look for a few things.
- Check the quality and standard of herbal preparations.
- Always take any medicines under the supervision of your doctor.
- Some herbal products might interact with medicines or therapies— read the warning carefully.
Safety Note on Natural Remedies: Natural doesn’t always mean safe. Many dietary supplements, herbs, or plants may interact with your medications and affect your medical conditions. You’re smart and know what’s better for you. To ensure that your medications are safe to take, consult a professional before beginning any remedy.
Your FAQS – About Menopause Symptoms
What Is the Fastest Way To Lose Weight During Menopause?
People going through the menopausal stage may get obese. For them, it’s challenging to lose weight fast during menopause. You can do the following to speed up the weight loss:
- Stay happy
- Drink plenty of water
- Eating a balanced diet
- Meet with your friends.
- Increase physical activity
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep
- Increase estrogen levels in the body
When you’re optimistic and healthy, everything gets sorted, whether it’s menopause or any other health issue.
How Do You Get Rid of Bloating and Weight Gain During Menopause?
Menopause is a time when women experience bloating and weight gain. There are two reasons, water retention and gas retention, due to hormone imbalances. The decreased estrogen levels cause bloating due to water retention. It can be due to changes in diet, slow digestion, stress, galloping air, and other health issues.
To combat these, you should have lifestyle changes like staying hydrated, exercising regularly, avoiding carbs and sugary foods, quitting smoking, limiting food portions, cutting salt intake, taking probiotics, and drinking plenty of water.
What Is the Best Natural Thing To Take for Menopause?
Menopause triggers vasomotor symptoms VMS that may last for years. Remember, it’s a natural part of life, not a disease. So you can manage it naturally. These symptoms may be relieved from natural things like black cohosh, soy, flax seeds, vitamin E, Yoga, meditation, and maintaining a healthy diet.
Can Menopause Cause Rapid Weight Gain?
Weight gain around the thighs, hips, and belly area is symptom of menopause. It’s due to hormonal changes women undergo, but alone hormonal imbalances don’t lead to rapid weight gain. Other reasons contribute to menopause weight gain like low estrogen levels, lazy lifestyle, and genetic factors.
If you want to lose weight and maintain your health, you require a change in your lifestyle. Work out more, eat healthy, and be happy. Stress is your biggest enemy, so sleep well and meditate.
Wondering how long menopause weight gain last? No rule can tell how long weight gain will last but on an average of four to eight years. You should contact your doctor if your menopause symptoms don’t improve after eating a healthy diet and taking precautions.
Menopause isn’t an illness. It’s a natural phase of life that will happen to every woman after the age of 40.
It’s not easy to deal with the symptoms during this phase, but eating right and exercising may help you overcome them. You can also try the longevity supplement that will help you reverse the aging process, boost your immune system, provide better sleep and keep you stress-free.
It’s just a phase that will pass. Your positive attitude and approach to your lifestyle matter. The natural remedies will help ease menopausal symptoms and get you back in shape. Stay positive!