At the root of many disorders that characterize premenopause and menopause, we can point to a decrease in estrogen.

It is common for women, despite not having changed their eating habits, to begin to feel uncomfortable because they see themselves gaining a few extra pounds. The “culprit” is the increase in visceral fat, which results in a larger waistline. 

So, why does one gain weight, and what can be done about it? 

Why does weight increase during menopause?

Reducing circulating hormone levels leads to a change in basal metabolic rate, resulting in lower caloric expenditure. This means that women may gain weight and experience changes in the distribution of body fat, even if they have not changed their eating habits. 

However, an increase in visceral fat, which is fat around the belly, could be a sign of alterations in insulin function. Therefore, an increased waist circumference should be a warning sign of the possibility of glycemic alterations and an increased susceptibility to the development of metabolic syndrome. 

Additionally, reduced estrogen levels can also cause: 

  • A reduction in intestinal motility
  • A slower intestinal transit
  • An increased likelihood of fermentation and bloating 
  • A greater predisposition to the development of food intolerances

What to do if you gain weight during menopause?

Since premenopause, it is essential to prepare for these changes and learn to pay attention to the signs. For example, waist circumference should not exceed 80 cm to prevent cardiovascular risk (which usually tends to increase during this period) from growing significantly. Additionally, lifestyle should be modified, taking into account the individual characteristics of the woman and adhering to dietary programs appropriate for her age and metabolism with the help of a specialist.

Through good hydration (at least 1.5 liters of water per day) and adequate intake of fiber-rich foods (vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fruit), it is possible to:

  • Help intestinal motility
  • Contribute to reasonable glycemic control
  • Reduce the likelihood of weight gain

Nutrition should be supported by movement – with regular physical activity – to promote basal metabolism and maintain a balanced ratio between calorie intake and consumption. Finally, one could consider using supplements with probiotics and prebiotics to promote intestinal wellness.