One of the causes of perimenopause weight is the drop in estrogen levels, which usually make the body store more visceral fat around the abdomen. Activity levels for many women also tend to decline as they get older. Declining estrogen levels and declining activity levels typically lead to an increase in visceral fat, glucose and insulin, which overall can lead to weight gain and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a health condition characterized by a group of risk factors including elevated insulin levels, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and excess fat around the abdomen.
Having just one of these symptoms does not necessarily mean a person has metabolic syndrome; however, the risk for metabolic syndrome increases when more than one of these symptoms is present. Having metabolic syndrome puts people at an increased risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Hypothyroidism and weight gain
Hypothyroidism may also contribute to weight gain during perimenopausal years. The thyroid gland is located in the front area of the neck. When the thyroid gland does not produce enough of certain important hormones, it can affect many bodily functions.
Hypothyroid symptoms and perimenopause weight gain may occur at the same time with many women. As people get older, the risk for hypothyroidism increases, especially for women over 50.
Hypothyroid symptoms like fatigue, constipation, sensitivity to cold, brittle nails and dry hair usually start out slowly and increase gradually over time, so many times people don’t notice the symptoms or they attribute them to aging. Since many cases of hypothyroidism go undiagnosed, all women who are experiencing perimenopause should ask their doctor for a simple blood test that measures the TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) levels. Besides weight gain associated with hypothyroidism, other health conditions can occur such as joint pain and heart disease.
According to several studies, lean muscle mass declines and fat increases in perimenopausal and postperimenopausal women. Loss of muscle as women age affects their metabolism, and a sluggish metabolism means the body burns fewer calories every day. One way to fight decreasing muscle mass is to start a weight training program.
Depression causes weight gain
Many women who experience perimenopause may also suffer from depression, especially if they had postpartum depression and severe PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome). Depression sometimes causes weight gain as well as taking antidepressants.
It may not be directly related to perimenopause, but it most likely affects weight gain and fat on your stomach. Recent studies have shown that drinking diet soda may contribute to being overweight and obese. Data from the American Diabetes Association reveal that diet soda possibly contributes to weight gain–especially around the abdomen–and the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks may also contribute to metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.