In a recently published Zwivel article, “Menopausal Belly Fat: Why It Happens and How to Lose It,” Joseph T Cruise, MD discusses the reasons why women get belly fat as they age and what can be done to get rid of it.

Many women find that they begin gaining weight around their midsection as they enter menopause, even if their calorie and activity levels remain the same. Indeed, some women don’t gain weight overall, but still find fat from their hips, thighs, and bottom resettling around their abdomen.

“Life events such as pregnancy, weight loss, and menopause can lead to stubborn fat, skin laxity, poor body shape, and stretch marks,” says Dr. Joseph Cruise, a board-certified plastic surgeon who has been practicing for over 15 years. “Problem areas for women typically include the upper and lower abdomen, hips, thighs, and back.”

The most common reasons for menopausal belly fat are decreased hormone levels, slowing metabolism, sleep deprivation, and higher cortisol levels resulting from stress.

Keep reading to learn how to get rid of belly fat.