Bariatrics Can Help Ease Menopause

Jun 15, 2017

Bariatrics Can Help Ease Menopause

Lisa Rapaport from Reuters Health recently reported on a Brazilian study that reviewed the menopausal symptoms of 750 women aged 45 to 60. They found hot flashes, sexual dysfunction, joint and urinary issues, and other menopausal symptoms in obese women were more severe.

“Intensity of hot flashes increased progressively with body mass index (BMI) and obesity had a great impact on daily activities such as involuntary interruption of work tasks and decrease of overall performance,” says Dr. Lucia Costa-Paiva, the leader of the study from the State University of Campinas in Sao Paulo.

Typically, menopause in women starts between the ages of 45 and 55. Women stop menstruating and experience a decrease in hormone production which leads to the uncomfortable and irritating symptoms: vaginal dryness, mood swings, insomnia, and joint pain.

Lisa Rapaport writes:

“Recent research has found that 57 percent of women between ages 40 and 64 worldwide experience hot flashes, 60 percent report sexual dysfunction, 62 percent have joint and muscle pain and 50 percent have sleep problems, the study authors’ note in the journal Menopause.”

The notion that extra body fat protects women against hot flashes has been debunked, according to Dr. Lucia Costa-Paiva. Obesity worsens hot flashes because the fatty tissue acts as an insulator. Fat cells trap the heat inside your body.

Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, who wasn’t involved in the study but is a reproductive health researcher at Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut, says research connecting obesity to severe menopause symptoms began over a decade ago.

“The theory is that heat is generated centrally, and heavy women have more insulation, so that the heat cannot be dissipated as well and they get hotter,” says Minkin.

She added “Losing weight can help with hot flashes as well as with muscle and joint pain associated with menopause that may be exacerbated by the extra pounds.”

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