Menopause, the gut microbiome, and weight gain: correlation or causation?

Menopause. 2020 Nov 23;28(3):327-331. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001702.


The gut microbiome is a key regulator of metabolism and influences the metabolism of estrogens, however, the microbiome's role in the changes in body composition and metabolic risk factors experienced by menopausal women remains largely unexplored. Menopause has been shown to alter the gut microbiome, and rodent studies suggest that microbiome changes postovariectomy are associated with increased adiposity, decreased metabolic rate, and insulin resistance, changes attenuated by estrogen administration. Given these data, a deeper understanding of the gut microbiome's relationship to menopause-induced changes in body composition and metabolism is warranted and may offer opportunity for novel therapeutic interventions.The microbiome is central to both systemic and estrogen metabolism, and is altered by the menopausal transition, suggesting an important role of the microbiome in the increased metabolic risk faced by menopausal women. Although additional research is needed to establish a causal link, the interrelationship between menopause and the gut microbiome may represent a new frontier to address menopause-related metabolic risk.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Menopause
  • Microbiota*
  • Obesity
  • Weight Gain