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Why Menopause Makes it Easier to Gain Weight in All The Wrong Places

As we age, all of us experience a certain slowing down of our metabolisms. Women, however, add to that shifts in hormones. During menopause, the hormones progesterone and estrogen, which gave us womanly curves in our youth, are turned down and the changes this causes are more widespread than you might expect.

One of the ways in which these hormonal shifts contribute to weight gain is by reducing the amount of lean body mass, or muscle. Estrogen has been shown to help preserve lean muscle mass¹.  Maintaining muscle requires calories; so losing muscle mass means that you must consume fewer calories to avoid weight gain. Effectively, the loss of lean muscle mass makes it harder to keep from gaining weight.

Hormonal shifts also seem to play a role in the accumulation of fat in the midsection, rather than the hips and thighs².  Fat in the abdomen also increase risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic diseases, in addition to shifting the silhouette’s proportions.

So shifting hormones cause us to lose muscle and to gain fat in the most unflattering places – not to mention hot flashes, food cravings, mood swings, hair loss, and all the cashmere sweaters you’ve had to donate.

Ways to Prevent Weight Gain During Menopause

One study did show that increasing the intensity and frequency of workouts could counteract muscle loss due to hormonal changes³. Several studies have shown that hormone replacement therapy can also be helpful in reducing muscle loss and weight gain¹.  One of the most frequently sited causes of weight gain during menopause was an increase in consumption of alcohol, so be mindful of your drinking habits, and try lower-calorie options, like dryer wines and diet soda for mixed drinks.

Ways to Speed Up Weight Loss During and After Menopause

Once you’ve put on weight during menopause, it can be frustratingly difficult to take back off. Weight loss is no walk in the park to begin with, but hormones that are working against you makes the process slower and harder.

So many patients come to see us complaining that they just want their waist back. Luckily, we do have a variety of tools at our disposal to help these ladies get back the curves they miss, and lose the ones they’re not so found of.

Non-invasive procedures, like CoolSculpting, SculpSure, and Liposonix can help this process by targeting unwanted fat during each session. When combined with diet and exercise, these options can really help you get back into shape quickly. SculpSure is one of our favorites, because it’s such a quick procedure – only a 25 minute treatment, with no downtime – it really works for the modern woman who’s juggling family, career, and still trying to make it the gym a few nights a week. SculpSure can give you up to a 24% reduction in fat in the treatment area, with results that typically develop over the month or two following treatment. Most women who choose this option do 2-3 treatments, spaced 4-6 weeks apart. Combined with diet and exercise, you can see a really great result in a really short amount of time.4*

Laser Liposuction is another option for those wanting to kick-start weight loss. Laser Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure done under local anesthesia. What makes this option so wonderful is that it allows the physician to create new contours and really sculpt out your dream body. This is a really good option for who want help starting their journey and plan to maintain results with diet and exercise afterwards.

What if it’s not just fat?

As skin ages, it loses collagen and elastin – you probably already knew that. But perhaps you hadn’t thought of what that might mean for your body. Sagging skin tends to worsen as we age, so sometimes what we think of as excess fat and muffin top, is really mostly excess skin, with perhaps a bit of fat.

Laser Liposuction is really an amazing tool for treating both the excess skin and excess fat. Besides melting away fat and contouring your shape, Laser Liposuction includes a special laser treatment to the underside of the skin, a much stronger version of laser skin resurfacing. This laser treatment has been shown to increase skin thickness and have a tightening effect on the skin.

As always, Reflections offers non-invasive options, too. Exillis offers skin tightening and fat reduction through targeted radio frequency treatments. Thermage is another option for non-invasive option, offering tightening and lifting with targeted radio frequency.

Developing a Multi-Faceted Plan

The doctors at Reflections are experts in helping patients get to their goal body, in a way that works for their lifestyle. We warmly welcome you to our office to discuss your concerns and develop a plan to help you sculpt a body you love.

Schedule a complimentary consultation with one of physicians using the contact us box on the left of the screen.


*Results may vary by individual. No procedure is the right choice for all patients, or all circumstances. An in-person consultation is the best way to find out what treatments are your best options to achieve your goals.

Sources:

1. Hormone Replacement Therapy Dissociates Fat Mass and Bone Mass, and Tends to Reduce Weight Gain in Early Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled 5-Year Clinical Trial of the Danish Osteoporosis Prevention Study; LB Jensen MD, PhD1,*,P Vestergaard2, AP Hermann2; Article first published online: 1 FEB 2003, DOI: 10.1359/jbmr.2003.18.2.333

2. Understanding weight gain at menopauseS. R. Davisa*, C. Castelo-Brancob, P. Chedrauic, M. A. Lumsdend,R. E. Nappie, D. Shahf, P. Villasecag & as the Writing Group of the International Menopause Society for World Menopause Day 2012a;  DOI:10.3109/13697137.2012.707385; pages 419-429

3. Lifestyle intervention can prevent weight gain during menopause: Results from a 5-year randomized clinical trial; Laurey R. Simkin-Silverman, Rena R. Wing, Miriam A. Boraz, Lewis H. Kuller; 

4.  FDA 501K clearance for SculpSure


Medical Director at

Dr. Mitchell Chasin founded Reflections Center for skin & body as a place where physicians specializing in cosmetic medicine could focus on helping empower patients to feel their most beautiful. Dr. Chasin believes strongly that the best cosmetic physicians are those who are dedicated to mastering their craft through continuing education and collaboration with the industry’s top doctors.

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