In essence, menopause is the transition from fertility to infertility (which sounds a bit depressing to some) but is something every woman goes through as she makes her way through her mid-life stage. The transition is relatively simple for some, but others find it very difficult. Hot flashes, weight gain, irregular periods, fatigue, insomnia and sexual difficulties are just some of the symptoms of menopause. A study just out in the Archives of Internal Medicine that focused on menopausal women for six months, offers hope for women with hot flashes.
The study split the women (all over-weight or obese and all with uncomfortable symptoms of hot flashes) into two different groups. One group started a weight loss and exercise program and the other were involved in a health education course. The weight loss group were restricted in their caloric intake (between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day) and worked out a minimum of 200 minutes a week. They also had group sessions once a week. The other group attended their health education classes.
At the end of the study, the weight loss and exercise group had lost weight, reduced the size of their waistlines (very important for heart health as well as a mental boost) and most importantly – reduced the frustrating symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, whereas the other group was not successful in this effort. The researches of this study noted that “...our findings indicate that women who are overweight or obese and experience bothersome hot flashes may also experience improvement in these symptoms after pursuing weight loss strategies; however, improvements in weight or body composition may not be the only mediators of this effect.”
Either way, losing (or stabilizing) weight around the time of menopause is an all around good situation. Menopause isn’t the be-all and end-all of a woman. Jokes about menopause aside, it’s as natural a stage as puberty. As women get older, it’s more difficult to lose weight and getting weight problems sorted out before the end of a woman’s 50s will make weight stabilization easier later on in her life.