Can weight loss relieve menopause symptoms? Experts give their verdict

Weight loss could help to relieve several menopause symptoms. (Getty Images)
Weight loss could help to relieve several menopause symptoms. (Getty Images)

The menopause brings with it a whole host of symptoms – including weight gain. Which could be why an online pharmacy is seeing a large number of menopausal women snapping up weight loss jabs in a bid to maintain or lose pounds.

One such pharmacy, Juniper, says that nine out of 10 of its 13,000 clients in the UK are women, with half of these women aged over 45.

Most of these women said they were taking the once-weekly ‘skinny jab’ in a bid to lose the weight gained during menopause and perimenopause, as per the Daily Mail.

The NHS lists weight gain as a symptom of menopause, along with hot flushes, difficulty sleeping, headaches, reduced libido and mood changes.

How menopause can cause weight gain

Menopause occurs when a woman’s period stops due to lower hormone levels, often anytime between the ages of 45 to 55.

"Hormonal changes can affect thyroid function, slowing metabolism and thereby making weight gain easier but weight loss harder," Eileen Durward, menopause coach at A. Vogel, says.

"Blood sugar control can become erratic, causing sugar and carb cravings, which makes over-eating more likely. Stress and anxiety can interfere with carbohydrate metabolism, causing that ‘spare tyre,’ as extra calories are stored in abdominal tissue. Fatigue and loss of motivation can also affect the desire to exercise, so less calories are used on a daily basis."

Can weight loss alleviate menopause symptoms?

In short: yes. Durward says that weight gain during menopause can lead to symptoms such as fatigue and joint pain, digestive issues and bloating, loss in confidence, and loss in libido, so weight loss can help to reverse these symptoms.

"Being a lighter weight means it’s easier to exercise and less pressure is put on joints," she explains.

"Eating healthier food results in better digestion and elimination, and provides more nutrition for fewer calories. Losing weight can also improve confidence about appearance."

Are weight loss jabs safe to take during menopause?

Durward says that it’s best to consult with your doctor before taking any new medication such as weight loss jabs, as they can have several side effects.

"Taking these should only be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional with regular checkups, and never bought on-line with no medical supervision," she advises.

"Improving the diet is a safer and more cost-effective way of managing weight, with many benefits accruing to better provision of nutrients."

Ozempic Insulin injection pen or insulin cartridge pen for diabetics. Medical equipment for diabetes parients.
Weight loss jabs have become a popular diet tool, but they should only be used under doctor's supervision. (Getty Images)

Sustainable ways to lose weight during menopause

Nutritional needs can increase during menopause, Durward says, which means a varied diet is needed with plenty of protein, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocadoes, and extra virgin olive oil.

"Regular meals can help to keep blood sugar levels stable and reduce the likelihood of craving and bingeing," she adds. "Small amounts of carbs such as wholegrains, brown rice and pulses can be helpful too, but all white, processed carbs should be avoided.

"Regular, moderate exercise is important for weight control, heart health and maintaining muscle mass. So, keeping active every day (even a brisk 15-minute walk) is better than going flat out once or twice a week. Exercises such as 15-minute HIIT, two to three times a week, and yoga, Pilates or tai chi for balance, core strength and suppleness, are very beneficial."

Menopause: Read more