Can Menopausal Women Benefit From Weight Loss Drugs Like Wegovy and Zepbound?

Mar 8, 2024 | Weight Loss

As menopause approaches, you experience many changes–irregular periods, increased moodiness, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and weight gain–even if you’ve not changed your diet and lifestyle habits.

You may have heard about the magical effects of semaglutide (Wegovy, Ozempic) and tirzepatide (Zepbound, Mounjaro)! These are GLP-1 medications that have taken over the health and fitness world. And both are effective!

But what are these GLP-1s? How do they work? And are they safe and beneficial for menopausal women? This article will answer these frequently asked questions and more.


Menopause and Weight Gain: Why Does Menopause Make Weight Loss so Hard?

Menopause occurs in women around their late 40s to early 50s, although the exact timing can vary. Women reach menopause when they don’t get their menstrual periods for at least 12 consecutive months. It’s a natural, healthy transition.

Women often experience weight gain during perimenopause, which is the years before menopause. On average, women in their fifties gain 1.5 pounds (lb) a year.

Excess fat usually accumulates around the belly, and it is more challenging to lose this extra weight than it is in earlier life.

While many women gain this weight during menopause, research suggests that menopause may not be the cause.

Several factors may be a cause of menopausal weight gain, including:


1. Lower Estrogen Levels

Women experience declined estrogen levels as they age, which leads to various physiological changes, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, thinning hair, and night sweats.

Estrogen helps regulate metabolism and fat distribution. Before menopause, the body has a more even distribution of fat. Women store fats around their hips and thighs, while men store them around their bellies.

When estrogen levels drop, the body redistributes fat, favoring deposition around the abdominal organs, including the kidneys and the liver, rather than the hips and thighs.

This may contribute to an increase in visceral fat, which is associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.


2. Decreased Metabolism and Loss of Muscle Mass

Menopause is associated with a decrease in metabolic rate–the rate at which the body burns calories at rest. This decline can make it more challenging to maintain or lose weight, as you’ll burn fewer calories throughout the day.

Menopausal women also experience a loss in muscle mass, which also affects metabolic health. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, burning more calories than fat tissue, even at rest. As muscle mass decreases, so does the body’s ability to burn calories efficiently.


3. Increased Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance, a condition where cells become less responsive to insulin, is another common occurrence during menopause. This metabolic change can lead to difficulty controlling blood sugar levels and may contribute to weight gain, particularly around the midsection. Insulin resistance is closely linked to abdominal obesity and an increased risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.


4. Inadequate Sleep

Women with menopause may experience hot flashes, night sweats, and increased anxiety, which can keep them awake at night.

Studies suggest that sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain. This may be because getting a bad night’s sleep increases the likelihood of being too exhausted to exercise the following day.

Poor sleep can also impact your metabolism, when and how often you eat, and where fat is deposited in your body.


5. Lifestyle Factors

At every stage of life, physical activity—whether strength training, aerobic exercise, or both—is essential to preventing weight gain. Studies show that older persons are less likely to think about exercising regularly, let alone do it. This can lead to extra weight.


Can Zepbound and Wegovy Help With Menopausal Weight Gain?

Zepbound and Wegovy are prescription weight loss medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating obesity and overweight. Zepbound is a brand name for tirzepatide, an active ingredient in Mounjaro for type 2 diabetes. Wegovy is a brand name for semaglutide, an active ingredient in Ozempic for type 2 diabetes.

Semaglutide and tirzepatide belong to a class of medications called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. These medications imitate the action of a hormone called GLP-1, which helps regulate appetite, food intake, and body weight.

Semaglutide and tirzepatide help people lose weight by reducing appetite and lowering blood sugar levels by stimulating the pancreas to create more insulin, delaying food passage in the digestive system, and keeping you satiated.

Studies have shown that semaglutide and tirzepatide may be effective in treating menopausal weight gain.

People taking a weekly dose of 2.4 mg of semaglutide for 68 weeks (about 15 months) lost 15% of their body weight (an average of 35 pounds), while the placebo group lost only 2.4%.

Another study conducted by Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of semaglutide, indicated that people lost between 9.3 to 14.1 pounds over 40 weeks while on Ozempic paired with healthy lifestyle behaviors such as exercise and diet.

When used along with dietary adjustments and exercise, tirzepatide was shown to help people lose around 27% of their body weight over a year and a half.

Cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes are more common in menopausal women. Ozempic and Mounjaro, for example, may help restore insulin sensitivity, allowing menopausal women to shed extra pounds and lower their chance of developing diabetes and heart disease.


Who Should Not Use Wegovy and Zepbound?

Avoid using Wegovy or Zepbound if you have the following conditions:

  • History of pancreatitis
  • History of medullary thyroid cancer
  • History of severe gastrointestinal disease
  • History of kidney disease/dysfunction
  • History of gallbladder disease
  • History of thyroid conditions

The most common side effects of Wegovy and Zepbound in menopausal women may include headaches, sleeplessness, sore muscles, and itching/redness at the injection site. It is also possible to experience digestive problems, such as nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.

Although these side effects usually go away in a few days or weeks, watching out for them is vital.


Lifestyle Modifications to Support Weight Loss During Menopause

Semaglutide and tirzepatide are effective and safe in managing menopausal weight gain. However, Being consistent with your weight loss medications and taking them along with healthy lifestyle behaviors is important.

Focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains. Limit sugary snacks, processed foods, and high-calorie beverages, which can lead to weight gain.

Incorporating regular physical activity into your routine is essential for weight loss and overall health during menopause. Aim for 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise or at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, along with muscle-strengthening exercises two or more days per week.

Include strength training exercises to preserve muscle mass and boost metabolism. Strength training helps burn calories even at rest and can counteract the muscle loss associated with menopause. Incorporate exercises such as weightlifting, resistance band workouts, or bodyweight exercises like squats and lunges.

Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or spend time in nature to promote relaxation and emotional well-being. Chronic stress can cause weight gain during menopause by triggering overeating and promoting the storage of visceral fat.

Ensure you also get enough sleep, as insufficient sleep can disrupt hormone levels and metabolism, leading to weight gain. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night and establish a regular sleep pattern to support weight loss efforts.


NP2GO Can Help You With Menopausal Weight Gain

At NP2GO Clinic in Oklahoma, we understand the challenges menopausal women face in managing weight gain. Our team of experts specializes in addressing your unique needs, offering personalized solutions to support your weight loss journey.

Our healthcare professionals have extensive experience and knowledge in managing menopausal weight gain. We recognize the complex interplay of hormonal changes, metabolic shifts, and lifestyle factors that contribute to weight gain during menopause. With our expertise, we can develop tailored strategies to help you achieve your weight loss goals effectively and safely.

At NP2GO Clinic, we use treatments such as Wegovy, Zepbound, and Retatrutide to assist menopausal women in their weight loss efforts. These medications help regulate digestion, suppress appetite, and change your approach to food. We also offer health coaching, support, and follow-up visits to help you track your progress.

Once you book a consultation with us, whether virtually or in the office, our healthcare providers will carefully evaluate your needs and medical history to determine whether these medications suit you.

At NP2GO Clinic, we are committed to empowering you to take control of your health and achieve your weight loss goals during menopause. We will guide you every step of the way, providing the tools, resources, and encouragement you need to succeed.

If you’re struggling with menopausal weight gain, we are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a healthier, happier you.