Why Intermittent Fasting Is Good for Menopausal Women

For women, the production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone begins to decline around the age of 50. At this time, women stop ovulating.

The absence of ovulation causes menstruation to stop. Although this may seem like a permanent vacation from the discomfort of the monthly menstrual cycle, the reality is that this stage comes with its own afflictions.


Weight gain and menopause

Post-menopausal women have a tendency for central fat accumulation; [1] women gain an average of 1.5 pounds per year after menopause.  The interrelation between obesity, weight gain, and menopausal transition is not completely understood at this point.

However, apart from aging, other factors influence weight during menopause. These include reduced estrogen levels, mood, sleep deprivation, sleep disturbances, low levels of activity, and family history.[1] Menopausal transition and postmenopausal years are usually accompanied by a variety of symptoms that vary from person to person. These symptoms include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, disrupted sleep, anxiety, decreased libido, mood changes, depression, and decreased cognitive function.[6]

Apart from lowered estrogen levels, postmenopausal years usually involve reduced metabolic activity and decreased insulin sensitivity. This may cause sudden increases in weight, difficulty processing refined sugars, and disturbed sleep at night. Weight gain and increased central obesity are often associated with adverse metabolical consequences, as well as an increased risk of the cardiovascular diseases that are a leading cause for death in menopausal women.[1]


Why is intermittent fasting a great solution at this stage?

First of all, thanks to caloric restriction and the beneficial effects of autophagy, intermittent fasting allows for sustained weight loss over time. Some studies show that changes in abdominal circumference and body mass index can be observed within the first 6 weeks.[3]

Not only does intermittent fasting help keep metabolism active, it also improves cardiovascular health. Intermittent fasting improves insulin resistance and decreases the devastating effects of stress on neurons [2], which is key for the maintenance of cognitive abilities.

Intermittent fasting is a great ally for women’s health during menopause, as it improves health markers like LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar.[3][4]

Thanks to its effectiveness in weight control, intermittent fasting reduces the risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. This, in turn, increases life expectancy and provides greater overall well-being.


How many hours should I fast to avoid affecting my hormones?

One of the most widely-used approaches is the classic 16:8,(5) which involves fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window.

The 16:8 approach allows for a safe and effective fasting period. With this approach, you can achieve your weight goals and enjoy the benefits of this fasting method without suffering bothersome symptoms or losing muscle mass.




[1] Kapoor E, Collazo-Clavell ML, Faubion SS. (2017). Weight Gain in Women at Midlife: A Concise Review of the Pathophysiology and Strategies for Management. Mayo Clin Proc. Link

[2] National Library of Medicine: Intermittent fasting dissociates beneficial effects of dietary restriction on glucose metabolism and neuronal resistance to injury from calorie intake R Michael Anson, 2003 May 13 (Link)

[3] PubMed: Effects of intermittent fasting on metabolism in men Fernanda Reis de Azevedo, Mar-Apr 2013 (Link)

[3] NIH National Library of Medicine: Role of therapeutic fasting in women’s health: An overview Pradeep M. K. Nair and Pranav G. Khawale, J Midlife Health. 2016 Apr-Jun (Link)

[5] International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Effect of a Six-Week Intermittent Fasting Intervention Program on the Composition of the Human Body in Women over 60 Years of Age Przemysław Domaszewski, nt. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020 (Link)