Carrying Extra Weight May Mean More Perimenopause Symptoms

If you’re a woman and entering into that age range where “the change” begins, you may want to pay close attention to your weight, as it may have a direct impact on how easily that transition goes for you. The most common symptoms that many women, but not all, begin to notice (and struggle with) are the hot flashes and night sweats. And if you’re carrying an excess of body weight, you may be setting yourself up to be more likely to experience them!

One idea on why this may hold true is called the thermoregulatory theory. It suggests that excess weight is linked to “vasomotor symptoms” such as hot flashes and night sweats because body fat acts as insulation, trapping heat in the body. This particular investigation, along with several prior, all seem to point to the trend that women who are heavier tend to have more hot flashes, particularly close to menopause.

Maintaining a healthy body weight is always a good idea, not matter your gender or what stage of life you may be in currently. The health benefits of keeping the excess bodyfat off affect everything from your heart and circulatory system to your blood sugar management, and also impact your appetite and joint health. Generally speaking, there really aren’t any sound reasons why someone should allow themselves to become overweight or obese, and this investigation just adds another reason to maintain a healthy weight.

The study that was published online in the journal Menopause looked at nearly 750 women between the ages of 45 and 60. It found that women who were obese had more extreme hot flashes that interfered with some activities and took a toll on their performance at work. Obese women were also more likely to experience other symptoms more often, including joint pain, muscle pain and urinary issues. The researchers said their findings highlight the importance of a comprehensive approach to weight control among menopausal women, as some studies have shown that weight loss and exercise could reduce hot flashes in women who are obese.

Understanding the best approach on how to achieve that weight loss then becomes the next challenge. We work with many women who have tried numerous diets and exercise programs, only to find that the weight loss is minimal, or unsustainable if they’ve used more drastic measures like an HCG diet and then try to go back to “normal life”. Limiting calories and getting exercise are both necessary, but other reasons beyond overeating or a sedentary lifestyle may also need to be addressed. Are there issues with how the thyroid is functioning, since it affects metabolism throughout the entire body? Is there an imbalance between the estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels that is impeding weight loss? Or are there other lifestyle factors (not eating enough, high stress levels, medications) that may be interfering with the ability to maintain a normal weight?

Our Discovery Day will help determine if there are any other factors that would need to be addressed to support a healthy and successful weight loss effort. By analyzing blood values and hormone levels, it allows us to see where the challenges may be occurring and how best to address them. That way, not only will you stay healthier by maintaining an ideal body weight, but it could also help you have a “cooler” transition into menopausal life.