Menopause is a natural process that affects women's bodies in various ways, including weight gain, changes in body shape, and hormone fluctuations. However, there are ways to navigate this stage of life and feel your best. Dr. Beverly Tchang, an endocrinologist and program director of the obesity medicine fellowship at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, discussed these changes and offered tools to help manage them in a recent WebMD webinar.
Dr. Tchang emphasizes that menopause does not have to be uncomfortable, and she encourages women to seek help from their doctors for symptom management and weight control. In a poll conducted during the webinar, 73% of respondents identified belly fat as their main menopause symptom, while over 40% reported that eating healthy helped alleviate their symptoms.
While menopause itself does not cause weight gain, it can lead to changes in body composition. As levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone decline, the body may experience an increase in fat and a decrease in muscle mass. This can result in weight staying the same but the shape of the body changing.
To combat menopause-related weight changes, Dr. Tchang suggests adopting a healthy diet and exercise routine. If these lifestyle changes are not enough, individuals can consult with their doctors about weight loss medications. It is also important to have open and honest conversations with healthcare providers to accurately diagnose menopause and address any related symptoms.
The webinar also addressed specific viewer questions, such as how to identify menopause, the link between hormone replacement therapy and dementia or heart attack, and alternative treatments for women on breast cancer medications. Dr. Tchang emphasized the importance of seeking professional guidance and advised against relying solely on over-the-counter supplements, as the supplement industry is not well-regulated.
Overall, the webinar provided valuable information and resources for women experiencing menopause. It emphasized the importance of individualized care and consulting with healthcare professionals to find the best strategies for managing symptoms and maintaining overall health and well-being during this stage of life.