Spoiler alert: probably not. But: researchers have made an interesting discovery that perks up my perimenopausal ears. According to this recent New York Times article*, studies suggest that a hormone that surges at menopause might be responsible for both bone loss and abdominal weight gain in older women. It is well known that women generally lose bone density following menopause, which can lead to debilitating fractures and osteoporosis. The sharp decrease in estrogen production following menopause seems an obvious culprit, but a group of post-menopause mice might have shown otherwise. When production of this particular hormone under scrutiny, called F.S.H., was blocked, the mice's bones stayed dense. Not only that, but the mice also lost body fat.
Now, I am relatively health-conscious. I exercise when I can and pay attention to what I eat. I am mindful of getting plenty of calcium and weight-bearing activity in order to help prevent bone loss as I age. But I'm also maybe not the least vain woman you'll ever meet, and news that my burgeoning abdominal pooch might be endangered is the best news I've received in a while! I'm not holding my breath, but it is heartening to see so much research being conducted on women's health and menopause lately. Even if no magic bullet proves to exist, the more we know about our specific physical experience the better we know how to take charge of it.