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Abdominal Fat Accumulated During Menopause Can be Treated With Estrogen Therapy: Study

Update Date: Oct 25, 2012 09:03 AM EDT

As if the mood swings, irritability, tearfulness, anxiety, and feelings of despair in the years leading up to menopause are not bad enough, women also have to deal with a layer of fat around their waists, adding to the misery of what can be called as one of the worst phases of mid-life. However, researchers from Monash University in Australia may have good news for all the ladies struggling through this tough period in their lives.

A new study by them claims that the increase in total body fat and abdominal fat seen at menopause is due to the hormonal changes taking place, and can be improved by estrogen treatment.

For the study, researcher Susan R. Davis, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues reviewed the scientific and medical literature for studies examining the association between menopause and body weight and body composition, Health Day reported.

Their study revealed that the abdominal fat and a plunge in the total body fat seen in women going through menopause is due to the hormonal changes that the body goes through during this phase.

Also, the increased weight is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, as well as a reduced quality of life in terms of health and sexual function, the report said.

However, with estrogen therapy, this accumulated abdominal fat, which is also correlated with overall fat mass, can be reduced with estrogen therapy, researchers say. This treatment could consequently also bring improvements in insulin sensitivity and reductions in the rate of developing type 2 diabetes.

"The hormonal changes across the perimenopause substantially contribute to increased abdominal obesity which leads to additional physical and psychological morbidity," Davis and colleagues conclude, according to Health Day.

"There is strong evidence that estrogen therapy may partly prevent this menopause-related change in body composition and the associated metabolic sequelae."

The study was published in the October issue of Climacteric.

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