Sharon, I was just reading this article, from AOL:
by Katherine Steinberg
Every woman knows that she will reach menopause, but not every woman is clear what happens next. What changes may occur in your physical well-being and in your appearance? We’ll take you through what to expect from menopause and answer your questions about hormone replacement therapy.
What is menopause?
Menopause is the cessation of a women’s period for at least 12 consecutive months with no other underlying medical condition. Menopause occurs when your body stops producing the hormones that regulate your period. Over the course of a lifetime, women average between one and two million eggs, housed in follicles. As you menstruate, this supply dwindles and eventually the follicles are entirely depleted. This is important because it signals your body to stop the production of estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that have been regulating your periods.
What is the earliest age women experience menopause?
The average age to reach menopause in the United States is 51, but some women may have their last period as early as their 40s. If menopause occurs before age 40, it is technically considered premature. However, premature menopause only occurs in about 1% of the population. What many women might think is menopause – hot flashes, irregular periods, even missing your period for 6 months at a time -- may just be the beginning. Dr. Rogerio Lobo, Director of the Center for Reproductive Sciences at New York Presbyterian Hospital, says that women experience symptoms 2-3 years before actually entering menopause.
Will my appearance change?
During menopause there is an increase in weight, most of it in the abdomen. This is due to a drop in estrogen production -- which was keeping your weight distributed around the hips and lower body. That’s just part of it though, says Dr. Lobo. As you age your insulin sensitivity changes, which is very important in terms of mobilizing fat. Some hair on the face can occur, but it tends to occur much later on in older women.
How will my body change?
The most common changes associated with menopause are hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Hot flashes usually last about 3 years after menopause, but in some cases persist much longer, even indefinitely. They are intended to cool your body, much like an internal air conditioner. Vaginal dryness can occur because of decreased estrogen and a thinning of the vaginal wall.
I would say that it is certainly a possibility. But that does not mean that you are doomed to never lose another pound. Maybe it's tiime to change things up a bit. How about trying a different form of cardio? Perhaps swimming, biking, dance, or a DVD? Or maybe try increasing the intensity, duration or frequency of what you are currently doing.
Then of course, there's the old cut back in calories choice. I know you probably don't want to do that, but it may be worth a shot.
At least you're still losing, albeit at a slow rate. So that's a good sign. I personally would try increasing my exercise and cutting back my calories by 100 to perhaps give it a little boost. But please, and I know that you will, keep this up. Something is bound to give if you stick with it. The closer we get to goal, the harder it does get. And sometimes we've got to pull out all the stops. With a little (all right, a lot of) patience, a bit of tweaking and that neverending determination that I know you've got, that scale will be moving once again. Hang in there. Just hang in there. You are bound to be rewarded with a nice drop in the scale very soon. Good luck. Let us know how it's going.