Irregular periods are one of the first symptoms that a woman is entering menopause due to the body getting ready to end reproductive abilities. However, being obese or experiencing sudden weight gain may also cause irregular periods.
Continue reading to learn more about the connection between obesity and irregular periods and how to manage your weight to start taking better care of your reproductive health today.
The Relationship between Obesity and Irregular Periods
Research has estimated that almost half of obese women have irregular periods. Irregular cycles are defined as periods that are lighter or heavier; earlier or later than usual; or absent.
The reason why obesity can cause irregular periods is due to the extra weight's influence on hormones. Estrogen, which is primarily produced in the ovaries, is responsible for the growth of the uterine lining. Because fat cells can also produce estrogen, this excess production can cause thicker uterine linings - leading to heavy periods - or disrupt the normal fluctuation of hormones throughout the menstrual cycle.
Keep in mind that irregular periods are perfectly normal during menopause and other times of hormonal changes in a woman's life, such as puberty and postpartum. Menopausal weight gain is also a common symptom, with can contribute further to irregular periods.
Tips to Manage Your Weight for Regular Periods
Those suffering from irregular periods due to obesity can manage weight for regular periods by following these tips:
You will need to eat and drink fewer calories than you burn to lose weight. Focus your daily calorie intake around lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, concentrating on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The best way to create a personalized diet plan is to consult a certified nutritionist. As always, try to avoid products like caffeine, added sugars, and heavily processed foods.
Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Walking, swimming, or biking are great options to stay active without putting too much pressure on your joints as you first start off on your weight loss journey. Also, squeeze in extra activity throughout your day, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Research has proven that stress makes you gain weight easier and that chronic stress changes one's pattern of food consumption, dietary inclination, and rewarding characteristics of foods. Therefore, consider stress relief techniques for improved weight loss efforts. Yoga, deep breathing exercises, meditation, and acupuncture can be incorporated into one's weight loss plan.
For menopausal women who are struggling from irregular periods due to sudden weight gain, check out more weight gain treatments for heightened success.
While irregular periods are symptom of the menopausal transition, it is also possible for them to be caused by sudden weight gain and obesity, as fat cells produce hormones that throw off the rhythm of one's menstrual cycle. Tips for managing one's weight to start having regular periods again include adjusting your calorie intake with the help of a nutritionist; partaking in light, frequent exercises; and reducing stress. With proper initiative, you can get back to having a healthy weight and regular periods to go along with it.
- Filer, R.B. (2009). Obesity and Reproduction. Retrieved October 4, 2018, from http://www.jlgh.org/Past-Issues/Volume-4---Issue-4/Obesity-and-Reproduction.aspx
- Planned Parenthood. (2012). Does being overweight cause your period to be irregular? If so, how many missed periods could you have? Retrieved October 4, 2018, from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/teens/ask-experts/does-being-overweight-cause-your-period-to-be-irregular-if-so-how-many-missed-periods-could-you-have
- Scott, K.A. et al. (2012). Effects of Chronic Social Stress on Obesity. Current Obesity Reports, 1(1), 16-25. doi: 10.1007/s13679-011-0006-3
- UCR Health. (2017). How Obesity Impacts Your Menstrual Cycle. Retrieved October 4, 2018, from https://www.ucrhealth.org/notes-news/blog/may-2017/how-obesity-impacts-your-menstrual-cycle/
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2018). Weight loss and women | Tips for successful weight loss. Retrieved October 4, 2018, from https://www.womenshealth.gov/healthy-weight/weight-loss-and-women#5 | https://www.womenshealth.gov/healthy-weight/tips-successful-weight-loss#5