No one will argue that menopause isn’t rough — women across the globe have known since time immemorial that the so-called “change of life” brings with it a whole host of difficulties. Hot flashes, mood swings, and increased irritability are just a few side effects of this process.
Weight gain, however, is usually one of the most frustrating and difficult aspects of menopausal change. Not only does it become easier to gain weight in this stage of your life, but it becomes increasingly challenging to lose weight as well. Don’t lose heart, though. If you’ve gained a few pounds during menopause, there’s still hope in the form of hormone therapy to lose weight or other medical treatments.
Perimenopause and Hormonal Changes
When it comes to menopausal weight gain, hormones are the culprits that cause all the problems. Your normal physical patterns are disrupted by decreasing hormone levels, which causes a disturbance to normal physical function. At this stage of life, the ovaries begin to stop releasing eggs, and the production of estrogen is decreased. This begins during perimenopause, a phase in which your body transitions into menopause for perhaps five to 10 years before menstrual cycles stop altogether.
There are many natural remedies that can help with hormonal weight gain, and these are generally best for milder symptoms. Herbs like black cohosh are often used in these treatments and can help to balance out some of the side effects of hormonal shifts, particularly those that affect mood or memory. Usually taken once or twice daily, these products are available as over-the-counter purchases and do not require a doctor’s approval or description. Still, if you think a natural remedy might be right for you, be sure to check with your doctor before you begin a course of treatment.
Hormone Therapy for Weight Loss
Women with moderate or severe menopausal symptoms that include weight gain may want to consider hormone therapy. Not only can this treatment reduce symptoms, but it can actually help to prevent additional weight gain. There are a host of other benefits as well, but there are also risks involved. As with any new medical treatment, you’ll want to see a physician to discuss all available options.
To determine whether this approach is right for you, you’ll need a medical examination from your primary care physician or OB/GYN, as well as a prescription for the actual hormones. In addition to performing your physical exam, your doctor can discuss everything you need to know about hormone therapy. If you decide to proceed, you will be monitored closely to make sure that any side effects are manageable and not too severe. Always remember that if you do have any extreme side effects, you should contact your doctor or the emergency room at once.
Weight gain during perimenopause is frustrating, but it’s a problem that can be solved. Ask as many questions as you have and trust that your doctor can take good care of you and give you all of the advice you need.