Weight Loss Aids in Menopause Symptom Reduction

scaleWomen who lost weight during a year-long low-fat diet saw significant improvement in menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, having a 14% greater likelihood of symptoms resolution than women who did not lose weight. 

Although higher body weight is associated with greater instance of vasomotor symptoms among menopausal women, little study has been conducted into the relationship between weight loss and symptom relief.

To test this relationship, Candyce H. Kroenke, ScD, of Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, and colleagues analyzed data from a dietary modification trial contained within the Women’s Health Initiative, which included 17,473 women, ages 50 to 79-years-old. 

At baseline, 26% of participants reported hot flashes or night sweats, 6% of which rated the symptoms as moderately severe.    After 1 year, women who lost at least 10 pounds were 23% more likely to show symptom resolution, and those who lost at least 10% of their bodyweight were 56% more likely to see resolution. 

Overall, women who participated in the dietary modification portion of the study were 14% more likely to see symptom resolution at 1 year.  Weight loss, researchers said, may be a reasonable alternative to hormone therapy in women treating symptoms of menopause. 

-Michael Potts


Kroenke C, Baan B, Stefanick M, et al. Effects of a dietary intervention and weight change on vasomotor symptoms in the Women's Health Initiative [published online ahead of print July 9, 2012] Menopause. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31824f606e