About water weight gain in menopause

Updated November 21, 2016

You can't get your trousers zipped. Your hands and feet are swollen. These are symptoms of menopause. Women tend to retain water weight during perimenopause and menopause because of hormonal fluctuation.

Hormones and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormonal fluctuations--too much of this, not enough of that--during menopause can result in water retention, according to In addition, if a woman is undergoing oestrogen replacement therapy this, too, can cause water weight gain.

This is Typical explains that water retention during menopause is generally not due to some serious underlying condition but simply because the kidneys get tired of working so hard and, alas, fluid is retained. Contrary to popular medical advice that you should drink lots of fluids, a menopausal woman might want to cut back on her fluid intake and see if that helps eliminate some of her water weight gain. However, if you notice that your hands, fingers, feet and ankles are swelling consistently, something other than simple water weight gain might be going on. If you press down on your skin and it remains dented afterward this may indicate oedema. Check with your physician.

Too Much Sodium

Our body is supposed to be full of water. The cells in our body consist of, and are surrounded by, water. That's normal. Water levels are regulated by our kidneys, hormones and sodium. If you have too much sodium in your body, water is drawn from the cells to try and dilute the sodium, which makes the blood saltier. When this happens, an individual gets thirsty and drinks more fluid, which makes the likelihood of retaining water even greater.

The Body Tries to Find Estrogen Sources

It is definitely a challenge not to gain weight during perimenopause and menopause because a woman's hormones are in flux. Hormones and weight gain go hand in hand, unfortunately, according to Oestrogen levels fall during menopause. When this happens, a woman's body tries to find another source of oestrogen and it does in fat cells. Consequently, your body converts more calories into fat because this process results in oestrogen production, which your body is yearning for. Unfortunately, this also means weight gain.


Progesterone, the other pivotal female hormone, also declines during menopause. Lack of progesterone doesn't make you gain weight, but it does make you retain water and feel and look bloated.

Examine Your Body notes that the best way to determine if your weight gain is water based is to examines your hands, feet, legs and joints. If they look swollen and look puffy you are probably retaining water.


If you are experiencing water retention, it may help you to take calcium supplements, according to a study done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Center, North Dakota (1992). In this study it was determined that women who took calcium supplements each day retained less water. Calcium has also been shown to reduce bloating and breast tenderness. Ask your doctor if a calcium supplement is right for you.

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About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.