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Perimenopause and Weight Gain

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Perimenopause is the transition period leading up to menopause when a woman's ovaries begin to produce less estrogen and progesterone, leading to fluctuations in hormones and physical changes. One of the most common and challenging changes that women experience during this time is weight gain.

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Amount of weight gain

Studies have shown that the average weight gain during perimenopause is around 5-7 pounds, with some women experiencing much more significant weight gain. This weight gain is often difficult to control and can lead to feelings of frustration and body dissatisfaction. However, it is important to understand that this weight gain is not just due to a lack of willpower or an increase in caloric intake, but rather it is a complex interaction between hormones, metabolism, and lifestyle factors.

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes during perimenopause can affect the way the body stores and uses fat. As estrogen levels decrease, the body tends to store more fat, especially in the abdominal region. This increase in abdominal fat is not only aesthetically unpleasing but also associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, the decrease in estrogen and progesterone can also lead to changes in metabolism and insulin sensitivity. This can result in the body being less efficient in processing glucose, leading to a slower metabolism and increased weight gain.

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle factors also play a significant role in perimenopausal weight gain. Many women during this time are facing increased stress, a busy lifestyle, and poor sleep habits, all of which can lead to hormonal imbalances and weight gain. Furthermore, as women age, they tend to become less active, and the decrease in physical activity can also contribute to weight gain. So, what can be done to prevent perimenopausal weight gain? The following strategies can be helpful:

  1. Maintain a healthy diet: Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help maintain a healthy weight. Avoiding processed and high-fat foods can also help prevent weight gain.
  2. Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help increase metabolism and burn calories. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, every day.
  3. Manage stress: Stress can contribute to weight gain, so it is important to find ways to manage stress effectively. This can include practices such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness.
  4. Get enough sleep: Poor sleep habits can disrupt hormones and lead to weight gain. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night.
  5. Consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT): HRT can help regulate hormones during perimenopause and reduce the symptoms and weight gain associated with hormonal changes. However, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits of HRT with a healthcare provider.


  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2021). Perimenopause. Retrieved from
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Menopause and weight gain: Stop the middle-age spread. Retrieved from
  3. North American Menopause Society. (2020). Perimenopause: What you need to know. Retrieved from
  4. Pasquali R, Pelusi C, Genghini S, et al. (1992). Obesity in perimenopausal women: relationship to adrenal function. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 74(4), 803-809.
  5. Santosa S, Jensen MD. (2010). Abdominal obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Current Opinion in Lipidology, 21(1), 44-51.

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