Menopause is associated with dramatic changes in a woman’s hormonal and metabolic profile. Whereas menopause [i]per se[/i] does not seem to affect body weight, the estrogen decline around menopause is associated with a body fat redistribution favoring an android pattern . Furthermore, although incapable of producing estrogens, the postmenopausal ovary remains an active endocrine organ, contributing substantially to the circulating androgen pool . Cao and colleagues  in their recent paper conducted a cross-sectional study in early (≤ 5 years) and late (≥ 10 years) postmenopausal women to investigate the association of these two parameters, namely body fat distribution and circulating serum androgens. Late postmenopausal women had a higher percentage of body fat, compared to their younger counterparts, although body mass index (BMI) did not differ between groups. Both early and late obese postmenopausal women had higher androgen levels and more abdominal fat compared to women with normal weight. Serum androgens (free testosterone in early and DHEAS in late postmenopausal women) showed an independent and significant positive association with abdominal adiposity.
Associate Professor of Gynecological Endocrinology, Medical School, University of Athens, Greece and Vice President of the European Menopause and Andropause Society
Davis SR, Castelo-Branco C, Chedraui P, et al. Understanding weight gain at menopause. Climacteric 2012;15:419-29.
Androgen production and therapy in women, UpToDate
Cao Y, Zhang S, Zou S, Xia X. The relationship between endogenous androgens and body fat distribution in early and late postmenopausal women. PLoS One 2013;8:e58448.
Chang SH, Beason TS, Hunleth JM, et al. A systematic review of body fat distribution and mortality in older people. Maturitas 2012;72:175-91.
Insulin action. UpToDate
Wildman RP, Tepper PG, Crawford S, et al. Do changes in sex steroid hormones precede or follow increases in body weight during the menopause transition? Results from the Study of Womens Health Across the Nation. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2012;97:E1695-704