Maintaining your normal weight may become more difficult as you grow older. During the menopause transition, many women gain weight.

Your estrogen levels begin to fluctuate around age 40. Your body begins searching for an estrogen replacement and finds one in fat, which produces estrone, the weakest of the three types of estrogen. It also includes estradiol and estriol.

No amount of food or nutritional supplementation can make up for the lack of estradiol, the most potent estrogen. Hormone replacement therapy is the only way to get it back, but it comes with some health risks. Already, the loss of estrogen raises your risk of heart disease and type II diabetes; putting on excess weight increases that risk even further. Being at an ideal weight when entering menopause is critical to reducing the risk of developing chronic disease during menopause.

In this article, you will study ways to combat perimenopause, its causes, symptoms, medication, and precaution.

Definition of Perimenopause

Menopause transition or perimenopause is when your body begins the process of transitioning into menopause. Your ovaries start to produce fewer hormones during this transition causing an irregular or erratic menstrual cycle. Your reproductive years are coming to an end at this point in your life.

The term “perimenopause” refers to the time when your menstrual cycles are no longer predictable.

As your body adjusts to new hormone levels, you may experience additional physical changes and symptoms. Perimenopause is a time when your fertility begins to decline, but you can still conceive. The symptoms of perimenopause, the age at which it begins, and the length of time it lasts are all unique to each woman. Perimenopause lasts an average of four years for most women, but it can last as long as ten years for some women. Once you’ve gone 12 months without a period, you’ve officially entered menopause.

Symptoms 

Perimenopausal women are likely to experience at least some of the following symptoms:

  • An inconsistent cycle of menstruation
  • Periods that are either heavier or lighter than usual
  • A worsening of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) before periods
  • Breast sensitivity
  • Losing the desire to have sex
  • Difficulties in focusing
  • Forgetfulness
  • Soreness in muscles
  • Loss of weight
  • Hair changes
  • Heartbeat irregularities
  • Headaches
  • Infections of the urinary tract
  • Problems of infertility in women trying to get pregnant

Is it possible to treat perimenopause?

There is no cure for perimenopause. Perimenopause is a normal part of life and should not be feared. When your menstrual cycle ends and you enter menopause, the “cure” for perimenopause is achieved.

To alleviate the symptoms of perimenopause, your doctor may prescribe an over-the-counter or prescription medication. You may be advised by your doctor or other medical professionals to:

  1. Antidepressants: 

These medications are used to treat mood swings and depression.

  1. Birth control pills:   

Hormone levels are stabilized, and symptoms are usually alleviated as a result of taking these medications.

  1. Estrogen therapy:

Stabilizing estrogen levels is a goal of this therapy. Pills, gels, and patches can be used to administer estrogen.

  1. Vaginal creams:

Vaginal dryness and sex-related pain can both be alleviated with treatment.

Health care providers are trained in the perimenopausal treatment and can advise you on which option is most appropriate. A healthy diet, some light exercise, and avoiding foods or activities that cause hot flashes can also help reduce symptoms.

Ways to Combat Perimenopause 

While you can’t control your genes or hormones, you can manage your diet, exercise, stress, and sleep. Precaution should be taken to avoid perimenopausal weight gain as follows:

  1. Stay hydrated

Dehydration is a surprising side effect of both perimenopause and menopause. Changes in estrogen levels have been shown to affect women’s ability to regulate fluids. They are more susceptible to dehydration because it takes longer for their bodies to rehydrate.

It’s essential to stay hydrated because up to 60% of the human body is water. Other functions of water include keeping joints lubricated and providing nutrients to cells. In addition, it contributes to weight gain. When the body is supplied with water-based energy, fat-burning is facilitated.

If you’re bored with plain water, try seltzer or sparkling water without added sweeteners, or flavour your water with slices of fresh fruit. Plain water is the healthiest option.

Supplementing water intake with foods such as fruits, vegetables, and soups can also be beneficial.

  1. Reduce your intake of highly processed foods while increasing your intake of whole foods

It’s essential to include a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins like tofu, beans, and lentils, and heart-healthy unsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and other plant-based proteins. It’s best to limit processed foods that don’t add much value to your daily routine. You should try to avoid foods that have been ultra-processed to the point where they have little nutritional value but a high caloric content. Sugar-sweetened beverages, including those from your favorite drive-through coffee shop, are frequently sources of added sugar, causing many women to consume more than the WHO-recommended daily limit of 25 grams of added sugar.

  1. Strength training should be a priority in your exercise regimen

Weight training twice a week is essential to counteract the loss of lean body muscle mass, in addition to meeting the 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week recommended by the American Heart Association. Additionally, a rise in muscle mass helps keep metabolism steady and improve insulin sensitivity, both of which lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Instead of making you bulky, lifting weights increases your resting caloric expenditure, making it easier to lose and keep off weight. If you only do cardio, you run the risk of losing muscle mass. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it forever.

  1. Try to avoid stress 

Several hormones that influence metabolism, including cortisol, insulin, ghrelin, and leptin are affected by stress and sleep. To cope with stress, many of us consume calorie-dense “comfort foods” that are high in fat and sugar, which can also lead to weight gain. Medications such as steroids, beta-blockers, antidepressants, and insulin for diabetes can cause weight gain, as can certain medications for depression and other mood disorders. If you are concerned about your weight, don’t stop taking your medication on your own, but instead work with your doctor to find weight-neutral alternatives. In addition to breathing, meditation, and exercise, setting boundaries and delegating tasks in your personal or professional life can help reduce stress.

  1. Get sufficient sleep

Sleeping less than six hours per night has been linked to an increased BMI, and seven hours appears to be the ideal number of hours. Insufficient sleep causes a rise in ghrelin and a decrease in leptin levels in the body.

When you’re tired, it’s natural to want to eat more than usual.

Make an effort to sleep for seven to eight hours every night, and if that’s proving difficult, put systems in place to help you, such as charging your phone outside of your bedroom, purchasing an alarm clock, and turning off screens after a certain time.

Taking a free online doctor appointment can help answer any questions you may have. Hormone levels change during menopause, which can cause weight gain. Menopausal weight gain can be slowed and belly fat lost by following a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, stress management, and strength training.