Why Women Gain Weight During Menopause and How to Treat it

Key Takeaways
  • Menopause doesn’t directly cause weight gain. However, reduction in estrogen levels during the menopause transition can result in increased fat distribution around the waistline, which can affect our body shape.
  • Reduced metabolism and muscle loss both have a strong impact on weight management, due to their affect on how our bodies process foods. Both of these factors tend to occur in tandem with the menopause transition.
  • There are a number of lifestyle factors that you can adjust to help control your weight during this period, such as: strength training, regular exercise, healthy eating, and adequate daily protein intake.

For people who’ve entered perimenopause or postmenopause, you may be noticing that you’ve started to gain weight; alongside the other symptoms associated with menopause.

Don’t worry! This happens to a lot of people during the menopause transition. And it’s important to understand that although menopause may have some contributing factors to weight gain, it’s not exclusively responsible for these physical changes.

To help you understand the reasons that you could be gaining weight during this period, as well as the relationship between hormones and weight gain, we’ve put together some useful information for you. This way, you can take back control of your weight management and your health, on your own terms.

What Causes Menopause Weight Gain?

Before we discuss factors that could cause weight gain during the menopause continuum, we should address the question, does menopause itself cause weight gain? Not directly.

Changes in body composition and fat distribution brought on by decreases in estrogen during menopause often leads to increased abdominal fat production. This can begin to change your body shape, with more fat being added to your midsection.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean weight gain.

Metabolic changes have perhaps the greatest impact on weight gain during this period of our lives, because our metabolic rates slow as we age.

Also, as we age, we tend to lose muscle mass (sarcopenia). This can further slow down our metabolism, because muscles burn more calories than fat does.

If you’re interested in exploring weight loss options, be sure to complete an assessment with one of Felix’s practitioners. They’ll be able to suggest a well-rounded weight loss plan that can help you lose weight safely and efficiently.

When Does Menopause Weight Gain Start?

Fluctuating hormones that impact body changes can begin as early as the start of the perimenopause transition. For most people, this starts in the mid-to-late 40’s but for some, perimenopause can start as early as the late 30s and as late as the early 50s. 

What is the Average Weight Gain During Menopause?

The average amount of weight that a person gains during the menopause transition is around 5-10 pounds.

This number is only an average, and just like the symptoms associated with menopause, the amount of weight gain experienced during menopause can vary widely from person to person.

What is the Best Way to Prevent Menopause Weight Gain?

There are a few great ways that you can help manage your weight during menopause, though there are no quick and easy menopause weight gain solutions. Let’s discuss some of the things that can help.

Regular Exercise

Regular movement that includes aerobic exercise can help with weight management. Different types of exercise will strengthen different muscle groups, but overall, performing regular weight-bearing exercise helps maintain flexibility, mobility, and muscle mass as we age.

Strength Training

This helps prevent muscle and bone loss that occur naturally as we age throughout the menopause continuum. In turn, this helps counter sarcopenia and osteoporosis and helps with metabolism.

Adequate Protein Intake

In order to keep muscles strong (and to support our regular exercise), we need to be sure that we’re taking in enough protein each day. Protein assists with muscle maintenance, and it can also aid in weight management.

Healthy Eating Habits

It’s helpful to focus on maintaining a balanced diet. One that’s rich in fiber (25 grams per day), fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Eating unhealthy foods (i.e., sugary foods, heavily processed foods, alcohol, etc.) regularly can lead to putting on more weight, with menopause already contributing to weight management issues. So, eating healthy is really important during this time.

Avoid Special ‘Menopause’ Diets

For people wondering how to lose menopause weight, there's no such thing as a specific menopause diet. Healthy eating principles apply universally, and adopting these habits as early as possible can help control the impact of menopausal changes.

If you’d like to discuss these weight management methods in more detail, talk to your healthcare practitioner at Felix. Felix’s experts have an in-depth understanding of how challenging menopause can be. Let us help you find a path to better health.

Does Hormone Treatment (HT) Help to Lessen Weight Gain?

The relationship between hormones and weight gain is complicated. Hormone treatments can be an efficient way for managing the symptoms associated with menopause. However, much like how weight gain is not directly attributed to menopause, the effect of hormone treatments on weight gain isn’t direct and hasn’t been established in studies.

Some people believe it may indirectly help with managing weight gain, because these treatments tend to improve your mood, energy levels, and muscle mass. These factors can help contribute to maintaining a healthier, more active lifestyle.

NOTE: It’s vital that we note here that Hormone Treatments are primarily prescribed for patients as a method to manage their symptoms. It’s not considered a weight loss or weight management solution.

When Should I Talk to My Practitioner About Weight Gain?

If you’re anywhere on your menopause journey and you're concerned about potential weight gain, or you’re looking for weight management solutions, it’s time to talk to a practitioner at Felix.

Just complete a convenient assessment, on your schedule, and your practitioner will be able to discuss weight management options, as well as address any symptoms associated with menopause that you might be experiencing.

With Felix in your corner you get back to living life on your terms, the way it should be.

Medically reviewed by


Everything You Need to Know About Menopause and Hormone Therapy

Felix has a number of useful blogs that you can reference to answer all of these important questions. This page will give you everything you need to know to start preparing your own transition.

Diagnosing Menopause: Why We Don't Require Lab Tests at Felix

Hormonal fluctuations during menopause can cause symptoms like hot flashes or vaginal dryness, leaving many to wonder if tracking these fluctuations can help with managing symptoms. 
Get on-demand treatment for your everyday health.
Find your treatment