The truth is that hormonal changes do have a part to play in this, although the process is not completely understood. At menopause a woman stops ovulating, her monthly menstruation periods end, and her body produces much lower levels of the female hormone estrogen which is responsible for the ovulation process. Low estrogen has been shown to cause weight gain in animals and it almost certainly is the reason why our bodies change shape. While women of childbearing age store fat in the lower body, after the menopause they store it on the abdomen instead, like men. This leads to a greater risk of heart disease.
Hormone therapy with estrogen is sometimes prescribed to control menopausal symptoms. Many women will be surprised to hear that studies have shown that hormone therapy does not cause weight gain. Some women experience bloating and water retention in the early stages of hormone therapy but this is usually temporary and they have not gained any fat. Hormone therapy can reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing the changes in storage of body fat around the abdomen and lowering cholesterol. However, hormone therapy has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in some studies.
- Eat a healthy, low fat diet with plenty of fiber, avoiding sugar.