Managing Menopause and Weight Gain


Menopause affects half the world’s population at some stage in their lives. Yet, there is little discussion about its impact on day-to-day lives. Navigating through menopause presents unique challenges, particularly in maintaining a healthy weight. Whether you are directly experiencing menopause or know someone who is, understanding its influence on weight is crucial for health and well-being.

Menopause is a natural stage of life; most women experience it. It’s when female periods stop, meaning their ovaries are no longer releasing eggs, and they can no longer get pregnant naturally. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a gradual transition that, for some women, can take many years. Three main stages broadly make up what we call menopause:

  • Perimenopause: These are the years before menopause, characterized by irregular periods and the start of symptoms
  • Menopause: Defined as the point when a woman has not had a period for 12 months
  • Postmenopause: This is the time after a woman’s periods have stopped, with symptoms that may ease or continue

Menopause usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55 as estrogen levels fall, but there are no hard and fast rules.  About one in 100 women experience early menopause, often for no apparent reason. For others, it’s brought on by ovarian surgery, cancer treatment, or an underlying health condition. Regardless, perimenopause can last a few months or many years. One in 10 women experience the symptoms of menopause for up to 12 years.

Firstly, it’s helpful to point out that, on average, people tend to experience weight gain as they get older. Our body composition changes, too. From the age of 30, muscle mass in the body tends to decrease 3-8% every decade – this is, of course, on average, and there are ways to prevent and minimize these changes. They’re not inevitable.  

Why is this important? Because as muscle decreases over time, our bodies tend to have more fat. More fat and less muscle mean less muscle strength – and that’s bad news if our activity levels and our diets aren’t adjusted as we get older to offset these changes. In short, less muscle mass means fewer calories are needed each day to power the body.

For women, this tendency for weight to increase during midlife coincides with menopause – and often also a decrease in day-to-day exercise and activity levels as life slows down or lifestyles change. Estrogen usually helps to regulate the body’s hunger signals, helping to regulate food intake. During menopause, changing estrogen levels means that this regulation is less effective, leading to stronger hunger signals and, in turn, likely an increase in food intake. This can all ultimately lead to weight gain.

In addition, studies show that the hormonal changes that start with perimenopause also – and separately – contribute to increased storage of fat around the abdominal area. It’s little surprise, then, that a recent poll found that weight gain is the number one concern for many women when it comes to menopause. It’s well-known that unhealthy weight gain can result in a range of chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It’s also well-known that living with overweight or obesity can have a negative impact on mental wellbeing at any age. 

Postmenopausal women who are living with obesity report a reduction in quality of life across a range of health indicators, including physical functioning, energy levels, vitality, and health perceptions.

On their own, these are causes for concern, but even more so when you consider that women are at an increased risk of depression during their menopause years due to changing hormone levels. The psychological distress often experienced during menopause can also exacerbate or lead to emotional eating, which in turn can lead to weight gain and an unhelpful cycle that can become difficult to break.

The evidence is clear: weight reduction and taking control of one’s weight can play a key role in managing and improving wellbeing during and after menopause.

Most people know that menopause is linked to periods stopping, but many people don’t realize the massive impact menopause can have on day-to-day life for millions of women. Four out of five women get other symptoms both before and after their period actually stops. These symptoms often include hot flashes and night sweats, problems sleeping, mood swings, anxiety and depression, and more. Some women experience a few symptoms, while others experience a lot. Likewise, their severity and impact on daily life can differ.

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential during menopause for several reasons. It plays a pivotal role in managing menopausal symptoms, supports overall health, and helps adapt to the body’s changing needs. Unfortunately, menopausal changes can lead to increased fat accumulation and decreased muscle mass, which can be counterproductive in the long run. This is where the Allurion Program makes a significant difference, offering a comprehensive approach that focuses on effective weight management during menopause.

The Allurion Program combines the use of a temporary gastric balloon, which helps reduce food intake by creating a feeling of fullness, with a comprehensive behavioral change program. This includes personalized nutrition coaching and digital monitoring. The Program is designed to ensure weight loss predominantly from fat stores, addressing the specific challenges of menopause.

When managing menopause symptoms through weight loss, here are some guidelines to help you:

  • Aim for a healthy weight reduction, as women with a higher BMI often report more intense hot flashes during perimenopause. Weight loss can effectively lessen these symptoms
  • Include strategies focused on reducing body fat, particularly during perimenopause, where women with obesity are more likely to experience bloating
  • Incorporate a balanced diet and regular exercise, as weight loss can alleviate bone-related issues like joint and back pain, common during menopause and linked to obesity
  • Progressively adjust lifestyle habits to promote mental health. Weight loss has been shown to improve mood, self-esteem, and overall psychological well-being, positively impacting day-to-day health management

These tactics are effective individually but, when combined with the Allurion Balloon, create a powerful synergy that promotes healthy weight loss while addressing the specific challenges of menopause. Furthermore, the program’s digital tools, such as the Allurion App and Connected Scale, are instrumental in monitoring your body composition changes, thereby allowing for a tailored approach to your weight loss journey, ensuring that your weight management during menopause is successful and sustainable in the long term.


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