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Belly Fat and Menopause- The What, The Why and The How

Belly fat and menopause

What is Menopause?

Menopause marks the time in a woman's life when her menstruation stops and she is no longer fertile (unable to become pregnant).

In the USA the average age for menopause is 51 (National Institute of Aging) and in the UK the average age for menopause is 52 (National Health Service), while about one fifth of women in India experience menopause before the age of 41.

Menopause is a normal part of life - it is a milestone in a woman’s life, just like puberty - it is not a disease or a condition. Even though it is the time of the woman's last period, symptoms may begin many years earlier. Some women may experience symptoms for months or years afterwards, and not all women experience belly fat and menopause at the same time.

Belly fat and menopause are associated with bloating, irritability, sleeplessness, food cravings, hot flashes, depression and more when women reach the ripe older ages of 40 years or older. But, not all women experience the same symptoms; experts agree that the impact of hormones on mood and weight gain is very individual.

Contrary to popular perception, menopause does not cause weight gain, although it does increase fat around the waist

Measure around your waist across your belly button. Your goal is to be well below 35 inches. If you're 35 or greater, you have too much internal belly fat. That's what we call visceral fat.

We all need some fat in your belly, but when it becomes excessive visceral fat it then becomes "toxic fat." And that's because excessive amounts of visceral fat increase inflammation in the body and ultimately contribute to several health conditions.

Belly fat and menopause is linked to increased risk of heart disease. Studies show that It is also linked to Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and possibly even dementia.

Belly Fat and Menopause

What’s a woman to do?, Other than buying a new wardrobe of Spanx, girdles, waist cinchers or scheduling liposuction surgery and addressing the waistline as it affects our health.

First, I will encourage you to have a complete medical evaluation including blood work to see if there are any issues, that belly fat and menopause can contribute to like high cholesterol or diabetes that warrant any immediate intervention and treatments. Have your doctor review any irregular current sleeping patterns, or any stress level and exercise regimen you are going through.

What are the symptoms of menopause and peri-menopause?

Most physicians say, that menopause is confirmed when a woman has not had a menstrual period for one year. However, the symptoms and signs of menopause generally appear well before that one-year period is over. The symptoms may include:

Irregular periods - menstrual pattern changes. this is usually the first symptom; Some women may experience a period every two to three weeks, while others will not have one for months at a time

Moodiness - this often goes hand-in-hand with sleep disturbance. Experts say that most mood disturbances are triggered by poor sleep.

 Lower fertility - during the peri-menopausal stage of a woman's life, her estrogen levels will drop significantly, lowering her chances of becoming pregnant.

Hot flashes - a sudden feeling of heat in the upper body. It may start in the face, neck or chest, and then spreads upwards or downwards (depending on where it started). The skin on the face, neck or chest may redden and become patchy, and the woman typically starts to sweat. The heart rate may suddenly increase tachycardia, or it may become irregular or stronger than usual (palpitations). Hot flashes generally occur during the first year after a woman's final period.

Vaginal dryness - This may be accompanied by itching and/or discomfort. It tends to happen during the peri-menopause. Some women may experience pain during sex.

The term vaginal atrophy refers to an inflammation of the vagina as a result of the thinning and shrinking of the tissues, as well as decreased lubrication, caused by a lack of estrogen.

Approximately 30% of women experience Vaginal atrophy symptoms during the early post-menopausal period, while 47% do so during the later post-menopausal period.

There are cases of women who experience vaginal atrophy more than a decade after their final period.The majority of post-menopausal women are uncomfortable talking about vaginal dryness and pain and are reluctant to seek proper medical help and advice. 

There are things your doctor can prescribe you that  can help you,  don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor

During your menopause experience If you're dealing with fatigue try these seven easy tricks to boost your energy:

  1. Get your Zzz's. ...
  2. Exercise at least 4 days a week
  3. Limit food portions
  4. Embrace relaxation
  5. Cap caffeine and alcohol consumption
  6. Stay hydrated
  7. Try herbal remedies.

  • Night sweats - if the hot flashes happen in bed they are called night sweats. Most women say their hot flashes do not last more than a few minutes.
  •  Disturbed sleep - sleeping problems are generally caused by night sweats, but not always. Sleep disturbance may be caused by insomnia  or anxiety.Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep increase as women go through menopause.
  • Urinary problems - women tend to be more susceptible urinary tract infection, such as cystitis. Having to urinate may also occur more frequently.
  • Problems focusing and learning- Some women may also have short-term memory problems, as well as finding it hard to concentrate on something for long.

Belly fat and menopause are linked- Even if you aren't overweight, too much weight in your midsection is unhealthy. Your body changes after menopause and the breaking down and storage of fat is different than it was in your younger years because of hormonal upsets.

What this translates to in real terms is that women going through the menopause should begin to try to control their weight before it becomes a problem, so if you have not been looking after yourself before the menopause, you should certainly start to do so when it arrives.

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