Welcome to the e-Newsletter from Gynaecworld.
In this newsletter we bring to you some issues related to Menopause and women's health.
Every woman knows that with age comes wisdom and wrinkles. More than that, health problems increase with years and a woman's chance for disease rises notably once she reaches Menopause.
Advanced age, and a drop in the hormone "Estrogen" due to reduced production after menopause. Estrogen protects a woman's body from certain diseases.
Countless diseases that strike middle-aged women come on without symptoms. You can have cancer, diabetes or other health issues and not know it. By the time you start having symptoms, the condition may have already taken a toll on your health.
Regular medical exams are just as important to a women's health after menopause as they are before. Some women still mistakenly believe that because they no longer have periods, they no longer need some of the screenings they used to get, such as mammograms and pap tests. But they do.
A comprehensive review by the International Menopause Society has found that going through menopause does not cause a woman to gain weight.
However, the hormonal changes at menopause are associated with a change in the way the fat is distributed, leading to more belly (abdominal) fat.
Being overweight or obese is a major worry for many women, and through midlife, women tend to gain an average of around 0.5kg per year (around 1lb per year). This can have significant consequences as being overweight or obese is associated with a range of conditions including depression, hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Globally around 1.5 billion adults are overweight and of these around 300 million women are obese. Obesity rates have doubled since 1980 especially in western countries.
There are variety of reasons for this increase, not only lifestyle reasons. In general, more women than, men are obese and fluctuations in sex hormones have been proposed as being implicated in the weight gain. The review group considered the evidence on why women gain weight around the menopause. They found that absolute weight gain is determined by non hormonal factors, rather than menopause itself.
The key finding was that the way fat is deposited changes at menopause. Studies indicate that this is due to drop in estrogen levels at menopause. Irrespective as to whether women do or do not gain weight at midlife after the menopause, women experience a shift in their fat stores to their abdomen.
"The new spare tyre many women complain of after menopause is real and could be due to body's response to the fall in estrogen at menopause – a shift of fat storage from the hips to the waist".
The review notes that increased abdominal fat increases the risk of future metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease in postmenopausal women. It is also not noted that, contrary to popular opinion, estrogen therapy (HRT) does not cause women to put on weight. There is good evidence that HRT can prevent an increase in abdominal fat after menopause.
IMS (International Menopause Society) is calling for women to be more aware of the problems associated with excess weight and to take early steps to ensure that they don't gain weight after menopause.
Women should consider menopause as a marker, a reason to review her overall health, with her Gynaecologist so that she can take her own decisions on how her life moves forward.
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