This Morning: Early menopause sufferer explains symptoms

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The menopause is often feared by many women, not only because of daunting symptoms it brings with it but also the weight gain aspect, too. Women going through “the change” often notice extra pounds around their midsection, which researchers across the globe believe could be related to the loss of estrogen, although this has not been proven.

The menopause is something every women will go through as they get older, and many resort to Google for reassurance and advice on how to avoid weight gain during this time.

This specific search had soared over the past year.

Data collected by Stella, an app for menopause relief, found that there have been 1,720 searches in the past 12 months surrounding menopause weight gain.

Stella CEO and Co-founder Andrea Berchowitz said: “Menopause can be a challenging time for many women and they often take to search engines to find relief and an understanding of what their bodies are going through.

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“We wanted to see the most asked questions regarding menopause and help answer them, to show women that they’re not alone, and help is always at hand.”

On average, a woman will put on 5lbs during the menopause, and notice this gain mostly around their middle.

“Your body produces fewer hormones during menopause, and lower oestrogen levels mean your body stores more fat and redistributes it differently – mainly around the stomach area,” a Stella expert added.

“Muscle mass also decreases as we age, which is why many women put on weight as they age and during menopause.”

They advised making a conscious effort to increase certain foods in order to avoid gaining those unwanted extra pounds.

“To help, try increasing your intake non-starchy carbs, healthy fats, water, and herbal teas,” they pointed out.

“And look for food high in protein and fibre.”

But while there are numerous weight loss diets out there marketed towards menopausal women and promising fast results, experts warn that while they are “appealing”, they’re not “evidence-based”.

Nanette Santoro, the chair of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora and a longtime menopause researcher explained: “There are a lot of compelling theories and good science being done around his question, but there are currently few answers.

“Mid-body weight gain is almost universal among menopausal women.”

She noted that weight gain will differ from person to person, with a percentage of women experiencing “more rapid weight gain and more fat accumulating around the abdomen during the menopausal transition”.

“Still, little is known about why these women seem to have to work much harder on maintaining their body weight during this time,” she added.

Instead, she noted that sufferers should focus on one thing, and one thing only.

“What women should take from this is that they should be focusing on eating food – real food, not processed,” she said, referencing Michael Pollan’s advice from In Defence of Food.

“Mostly from plants and not too much.”

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