Menopause Weight Gain

Menopause brings about many changes for women; some of these changes, like the end of the menstrual cycle are welcomed and others, such as hot flashes and weight gain are not.

There are various supplements and strategies that can help manage those troublesome hot flashes and night sweats. But for many women, it is much more challenging to keep body weight under control.

There are many factors that can contribute to weight gain in menopause. Hormones are partly to blame. A lowering of estrogen and testosterone can cause women to store fat. Lifestyle and genetic factors are also involved.

Stress also tends to become more prevalent in menopause. Whether triggered by personal, financial, or health reasons, stress impacts weight in a number of ways. Rising levels of the stress hormone cortisol make it easier to pack on weight, particularly around the mid-section.

Stress may also trigger unhealthy habits, such as overeating and eating unhealthy foods (comfort foods). It also has a negative effect on sleep, and lack of sleep is a recently recognized factor that can lead to weight gain, along with many other health problems.

Muscle mass also declines with age and since muscle helps drive metabolism and calorie burning, if you have less muscle you will burn fewer calories.

Despite all these factors that seem to be stacked against you, it is possible to keep weight under control by making some simple lifestyle modifications.

  • Boost muscle mass. Do weight training or resistance exercises to help build and maintain muscle mass. Increasing your muscle mass will raise your metabolism, so you will burn more calories and you will develop a leaner physique. Joining a gym is great, but if you are pressed for time/money, there are plenty of exercises that you can do at home, such as push-ups, squats, lunges, and chest presses.
  • Make better dietary choices. You don’t have to count calories or follow a restrictive diet, just make better choices and limit portion sizes. For example, start your day with oatmeal and berries, a large salad with chickpeas or grilled chicken for lunch and baked fish with mixed veggies for dinner. Choose healthy snacks between meals such as nuts/seeds, yogurt, dark chocolate and healthy energy bars, such as Luna Bar or Larabar.
  • Use supplements to complement your diet. Supplements that provide soluble fibre, such as femMED Weight Management, can help to reduce appetite and cravings and promote better blood sugar control – all factors that are helpful for managing weight.

These strategies will not only benefit your waistline, but they promote better heart health and improve your overall well-being.

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I saw a ob/gyn and was recommended a D&C, but my family doctor says no. I have cramps and am postmenopausal. Ultrasound shows a thickening on the left side. What should I do?

You should discuss this further with your ob/gyn and ask why he or she is suggesting a D & C. A thickening of the uterine wall could be due to hormonal imbalance, fibroids (benign growths), polyps or it could be an indication of something more serious such as endometrial cancer. Fibroids commonly cause heavy bleeding ad cramping, but they are much more common in pre-menopausal women.

For women over 40, especially those past menopause, who have uterine bleeding or thickening a D&C or another procedure called an endometrial biopsy may be warrented. Occasionally a hysteroscopy is performed at the same time as a D&C, allowing the doctor a better view of inside the cervix, vagina, and uterus.

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Hormonal Imbalance in Women and PMS

Can you suggest supplements for PMS and painful periods?

For those women looking for a more natural way to relieve their PMS and premenopause symptoms, there are several botanicals that have been evaluated for use in PMS and pre-menopause. Some of these natural health products work by correcting the hormonal imbalance in women and other products reduce symptoms by non-hormonal mechanisms. Overall, these botanicals may be used to effectively balance hormones in the body and help alleviate PMS and premenopausal symptoms such as cramping, bloating, mood swings and breast tenderness. femMED Hormone Balance contains six ingredients that help provide PMS and pre-menopause symptom relief. The ingredients include: Saw Palmetto, Chastetree Berry, Milk Thistle, Scullcap, Red Raspberry and Wild Yam. For cramping, Both Red Raspberry and Wild Yam have muscle relaxant effects which may reduce physical cramping felt during PMS and premenopause.

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