How To Be Proactive About ‘Menopause Muffin Top’ & Metabolic Syndrome
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder
‘Menopause muffin top.’ ‘Menopause belly.’ ‘Meno-gut.’
These are some terms used to describe weight gain many women experience when they go through menopause.
Before we get more into this menopause muffin top, let’s have a refresher on what exactly menopause is.
“Menopause is defined as the point in time when menstrual cycles permanently cease due to the natural depletion of ovarian oocytes [cells] from aging. The diagnosis is typically made retrospectively after the woman has missed menses for 12 consecutive months. It marks the permanent end of fertility and the average age of menopause is 51 years,” UCLA Health says.
“The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55. It usually lasts about 7 years but can last as long as 14 years,” according to the National Institute on Aging.
There are different stages of menopause:
“Perimenopause has been variously defined, but experts generally agree that it begins with irregular menstrual cycles — courtesy of declining ovarian function — and ends a year after the last menstrual period,” says Harvard Health.
“Perimenopause varies greatly from one woman to the next. The average duration is three to four years, although it can last just a few months or extend as long as a decade.”
- Early Menopause
This is not exactly a natural stage of menopause and can happen in younger women. For example, a woman may go into early menopause if she has a surgery where her ovaries are removed. This is sometimes called surgical menopause. Premature ovarian failure (POF) can be another cause of early menopause.
A woman is usually considered to be in menopause once she has not had a period for 12 straight months.
Begins after one year has passed since a woman’s last menstrual cycle.
Menopause is not a curse. Every woman who is blessed enough to grow older, will inevitably go through menopause.
With that said, menopause may come with some less than desirable (to say the least) side effects. And some of these side effects can present a very serious threat to a woman’s health.The belly fat that many women gain in this stage of life is not a myth.
“When women are younger, they tend to collect extra pounds on the hips and thighs, a pattern known as gynoid fat distribution. But during perimenopause and after menopause, hormone changes cause many women's bodies to start collecting extra weight around the middle, a pattern called android fat distribution that is typical for men,” according to Harvard Health.
Belly fat (also called visceral fat) is one of the most dangerous types of fat a person can have. Fat concentrated in the stomach area may increase your risk for fatty liver disease and more.
According to a recent study that analyzed more than 10,000 women (ages 45 to 85), menopause actually increases the risk of metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is not a disease in itself. In a nutshell, individuals with metabolic syndrome have certain conditions that puts them at risk for health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Having these conditions may also increase the risk of developing dementia and other cognitive issues. One source refers to individuals with metabolic syndrome as having the “perfect storm” for some serious health issues.
The study “... found a positive association between menopause and an increased risk of metabolic syndrome,” according to one report discussing the study.
And this may have to do with the increase of belly fat that can occur in menopause.
“The good news, however, is that lifestyle interventions targeted at women with metabolic syndrome have proven effective in preventing type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular risk,” according to the report discussing the study.
I think it’s also important to acknowledge that women do not have to wait for a problem to occur or even wait until they are middle age to start being proactive. Remember, menopause is a transition that can take years. So the healthier you are before menopause, the better.
You also want to avoid those things that can put you into menopause at a younger age. Being overweight and a smoker are two things that can make you experience menopause earlier and, of course, increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
For more tips on how you can make this transition in your life healthier, check out this pH Labs blog. Apparently, having a healthy sex life may delay menopause! And for tips on blasting that belly fat, click here.
Enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.