Why Menopause causes Weight Gain

Hormonal imbalance triggered by menopause is the primary factor, which leads to menopausal weight gain. Here is what you need to know to deal with the weight gain caused by menopause.

Gunjan Rastogi
Weight ManagementWritten by: Gunjan RastogiPublished at: Dec 01, 2012
Why Menopause causes Weight Gain

It is quite astonishing how a healthy woman gains extra pounds due to menopause. It is the hormonal influx caused during the early stages of menopause that is to be blamed for that extra flab around your belly.

sad fat woman


Even during the earliest menopausal stages, it is a challenge to maintain ideal body weight and prevent further increase in weight.


Almost 90 per cent of women experiencing menopause gain some amount of weight i.e. usually between 12 to 15 pounds. If a woman enters her menopause after 55 years of age (45-55 years are termed as the menopausal years), there are chances of her gaining more pounds than the expected weight gain.  What adds more hurt to injury is the fact that the additional pounds distribute unevenly throughout a woman’s body and particularly around the abdomen.


Besides hormonal imbalance caused by menopause, other factors enlisted below may also contribute to menopausal weight gain.


Being overweight

If you were already overweight i.e. before entering menopause, you are more likely to gain more weight during the menopausal phase than a woman with healthy weight prior to her menopausal stage. It would be harder for an overweight woman  to shed the newly accumulated weight.


Living a sedentary lifestyle

Fat accumulates only when your calorie usage is lesser than what you’re consuming. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is the primary cause of weight gain; therefore, it is advised to regularly exercise especially in your menopausal years.


Leading a stressful life

High levels of stress triggers increased production of cortisol, the hormone responsible to increase appetite and fat accumulation around the belly.


Being sleep-deprived

Sleeping less than seven to eight hours per day alters one’s metabolism and leads to lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin in the blood. This stimulates hunger, causing one to put on weight.


If you’re an alcoholic

Alcohol contains sugar in the form of fat, which causes weight gain. Moreover, alcohol consumption leads to spike in insulin, thereby temporarily causing higher levels of sugar in the bloodstream or leading to diabetes in the long run. Diabetics gain weight easily as opposed to non-diabetics.


It is important to check your weight gain during/after menopause because menopausal weight gain has been linked to increased risk of heart ailments, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. Although, you can’t control hormonal imbalance in your body, you can keep the other causes of menopausal weight gain away by leading a healthy lifestyle and maintaining ideal weight.




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