What Is The “Menopause Stomach” & Why We Ought to Lastly Embrace It – SheKnows


Menopause is a big milestone in a lady’s life journey. This can be a time when ladies are bidding adieu to their final menstrual cycle, not beneath the chains of PMS and menstrual migraines, and saving tons of cash that may have in any other case gone to tampons and sanitary pads. On the similar time, numerous life adjustments are taking place at house. Youngsters are possible going off to high school or leaving the nest to start out their very own careers, leaving extra alternatives to concentrate on your self. You’re additionally wiser and extra skilled from the trials and tribulations of life. All in all, who says your finest years are behind you?

“Essentially the most assured, and probably the most sexually free and liberated I’ve seen ladies be is in mid-life,” says Leigh Ann Dooley, MD, MPH, a behavioral well being medical director at Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Middle. “This can be a time when ladies know who they’re and are coming into their very own.”

After all, if you’re speaking about menopause, you may’t ignore the elephant within the room. Menopause could cause various uncomfortable signs, similar to scorching flashes, vaginal dryness, mind fog, and irritability. Individuals might expertise these signs sooner after they undergo perimenopause. “Many ladies are experiencing signs youthful than 40 and that’s a selected untimely menopause or untimely ovarian insufficiency, however the common lady begins having signs of their mid-to-late forties into their early to mid-50s,” says Risa Kagan, MD, an OBGYN and knowledgeable in menopausal care at Sutter Well being.

Not like different signs, there may be one which’s fairly onerous to hide: menopot. Girls typically achieve weight of their abdomen, particularly beneath the stomach button. “On common, ladies achieve 5 to eight % of their baseline physique weight throughout this time,” says Susan Reed, MD, an OBGYN and vice chair for analysis on the College of Washington. This may usually appear like 1.5 kilos per 12 months between the ages of 45 to 55.

It’s regular to really feel self-conscious about the way you look, particularly when there are such a lot of merchandise and exercise “hacks” geared towards shedding pounds as quick as attainable. However keep in mind, there’s nothing flawed along with your physique and these adjustments — it’s all biology. As a substitute of specializing in the negatives, our specialists say it’s an incredible alternative to get reconnected along with your altering physique.

The sudden weight achieve comes from adjustments in hormone ranges. Estrogen and progesterone ranges decline throughout perimenopause and menopause, explains Michele Griffith, MD, an internist at 21stMD Direct Major Care. The drop in estrogen slows down your metabolism, making it tougher to burn energy. Past hormones, there are 5 different components that will add just a few inches to the waistline as you grow old.

Muscle loss

Individuals naturally lose muscle mass as they age. By age 30, you might be dropping 3 to eight % of muscle and the lack of estrogen accelerates the method. Muscle groups burn up numerous vitality, so if you lose muscle groups your physique shops the surplus energy into fats.


Regardless of train counteracting numerous menopausal signs, a third of ladies are much less bodily energetic within the years main as much as the occasion. With a slower metabolism, sitting for too lengthy makes it harder to burn off energy.


Hormonal adjustments could cause insomnia throughout menopause. In case you are sleep disadvantaged, you usually tend to overeat. That’s as a result of the dearth of sleep will increase the appetite-promoting hormone ghrelin and reduces ranges of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin. Inadequate sleep additionally impacts your decision-making expertise, weakening the management to withstand junk meals and binge-eating splurges.


Menopause can have an effect on your psychological well being. “Falling estrogen and progesterone ranges can set off temper swings that make you much less in a position to deal with stuff you’d usually let roll off your again,” Jennifer Payne, MD, a psychiatrist and director of the Girls’s Temper Issues Middle at Johns Hopkins wrote for John Hopkins Well being. The rise in temper swings could make you extra simply affected from tense occasions, that means cortisol ranges are consistently elevated within the physique. One of many penalties of fixed stress and excessive cortisol ranges is the slowing down of metabolism in addition to an enhance in fatty and sugary cravings.


In case your family have further weight round their stomach you usually tend to achieve it as properly. One purpose is due to sure genes that predispose an individual to weight achieve. A 2020 examine in Nature Metabolism discovered the reprimo gene, which is concerned in regulating temperature, is altered with the fluctuating estrogen ranges that happen throughout menopause. This results in elevated weight achieve, possible as a result of a decrease core temperature makes your physique unable to burn fat.

All of those new bodily “disruptors” and adjustments can take an emotional toll. The media consistently bombards ladies to suppose thinness is magnificence, and having surprising weight achieve can understandably impression an individual’s vanity. “Residing in Western tradition, youth is valued so extremely. For some ladies whose youthfulness has been a giant a part of their id, this season can start to problem who they’re,” explains Dooley.

As a substitute of dwelling over your center, Griffith says ladies ought to look right now as a second of celebration. “You may put on white at any time and as you please with out ever worrying about whether or not ‘your pal’ is due or will make an premature look. Embrace this time in your life! The physique is dynamic and consistently altering, which is the great thing about life. Each individual is completely different genetically and you could uncover what works finest for you.” Listed here are six issues to concentrate on relatively than your menopausal center.

Self Acceptance & Self-Love

Throughout this typically turbulent time of unpredictable adjustments and emotional and bodily highs and lows, there’s additionally a chance to like your self. This can be a time to lean into and never be ashamed of biology or look again at what as soon as was, however as an alternative embrace who you might be changing into. “Girls enter menopause in several methods. Many enter with a way of freedom. [It’s] an opportunity to get reacquainted along with your physique, get to know your self once more,” provides Dooley.


Society has conditioned ladies to suppose they should maintain others earlier than themselves. Girls typically neglect their very own well being except they completely should, explains Dooley. This time in a lady’s life shifts the main focus again to them. “Day-after-day is a chance to look after ourselves.” For instance, ladies can prioritize spending cash shopping for vegetables and fruit, getting each day train, and working towards breathwork and meditation.


Griffith encourages wanting inwards and doing practices that nourish your well-being. “Shield your emotional well being. Do one thing regularly that restores your soul. You might not be capable to management sure issues in your atmosphere, however you may management your response. Your response is the place your energy lies,” she explains.

Power Coaching

Train in your well being, to not attain a goal weight. Somewhat than spending time obsessing over the numbers on a scale, use this time to seek out an train routine that you just get pleasure from. You’re by no means too outdated to strive a brand new sport or exercise and never solely will you discover like-minded folks however you additionally counteract the declining muscle mass and metabolism impacting your center. To not point out that toned muscle groups are nice in your confidence and vitality stage. “Incorporate resistance coaching into your exercise that strengthens and helps to take care of muscle mass not less than 3 days every week for 20 minutes,” suggests Griffith.


Sleep continues to be on the high of each wholesome dwelling to-do checklist. Goal for the really helpful hours of sleep and ensure to maintain your room darkish and the electronics away from the bed room. “This enables the mind and physique to utterly restore,” Griffith says. 

Share & Assist

This can be a good season to lean into your assist community and share your story. What’s your group? Who’re your folks? Share wholesome recipes. Begin a guide or strolling membership. “Feeling like the one one is so damaging,” notes Dooley. “So many individuals — I want I might give them a prescription that simply says ‘pal’ on it.”