Meno Health. Clinical Evidence.

EN TWC #061: Oh dear, now cellulite too

Dear MHI reader

Not exactly a sexy topic, but around 85 percent of all women are born with a predisposition to cellulite. Cellulite often first appears during puberty, as it is promoted by the female sex hormone oestrogen. It is important to know that even slim and well-trained women can be affected by cellulite. Typically, the main problem areas for cellulite are the thighs and buttocks, as larger fat deposits are naturally present here.

What is cellulite?
Cellulite is not simply caused by normal fatty tissue, but by an interaction between fat and connective tissue. But what are the main causes and risk factors?

Main causes and risk factors of cellulite
Genetic structure of the connective tissue: In women, the connective tissue fibers are arranged vertically. This causes fat cells to bulge into the dermis and the typical dimples appear.
Hormones: The drop in oestrogen levels in particular weakens the connective tissue and promotes the formation of cellulite.
Genetic predisposition: If close relatives have cellulite, your own risk is increased.
Lifestyle factors: Lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet and being overweight can increase cellulite, but are not the main causes.
Weight: Cellulite can also occur in slim women, as the structure of the connective tissue is decisive, not the weight.
Men: Cellulite is rare in men because their connective tissue is arranged at an angle.

The main cause lies in the genetically determined structure of the female connective tissue in combination with hormonal factors. Lifestyle factors can increase cellulite, but are not the sole cause.

Hormonal changes during the menopause and the development of cellulite
During the menopause, the ovaries produce less oestrogen. Less oestrogen in the body means that the blood vessels become more permeable and weaker, resulting in poorer blood circulation. Poor circulation leads to cellulite.
Less oestrogen also means that less collagen and elastin are produced in the connective tissue of the skin. However, these substances are important for keeping the skin smooth. Without them, the dents typical of cellulite develop.

The role of oestrogen in cellulite
Oestrogen is considered to be the main factor in the formation and development (aetiopathogenesis) of cellulite in women. The effect of oestrogen increases the storage of fat cells in adipose tissue in women. The vertical arrangement of the connective tissue in women makes it easier for fat to escape into the dermis (also known as the dermis), which leads to the formation of cellulite.
In men, on the other hand, the fat pads are smaller and the connective tissue is arranged at an angle. This is why only around 2% of men are affected by cellulite, unless they suffer from illnesses that lead to a lack of male hormones.

Menopause and cellulite
During the menopause, the decrease in oestrogen production in the ovaries, together with the weight gain that is common during this phase, leads to a higher risk of developing or worsening cellulite.
Other hormonal changes during the menopause, such as fluctuations in catecholamines (hormones and neurotransmitters released by the body in stressful situations), thyroid hormones and prolactin (stress hormone), are also linked to the development of cellulite.

Lifestyle factors that contribute to cellulite
An unhealthy diet with too much fat and carbohydrates can lead to hyperinsulinemia (too much of the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels) and lipogenesis (production of fatty substances in the body), which favors the development of cellulite.
Inflammation also changes the structure of fatty tissue. They lead to oedema (fluid retention) and water retention. This water then presses on the fat cells, which are pressed against the skin and cause cellulite. Poor venous return reduces the body’s ability to remove waste and promotes inflammation.

Now that we know more about how cellulite develops, we naturally want to know what we can do about it.

Cellulite treatments

In this non-invasive procedure, the fat cells are frozen and killed. They are then broken down naturally by the body. This treatment is generally used for body shaping, but can also help with cellulite. It is mainly used for fat reduction and body shaping on the abdomen, hips, buttocks and thighs. It can take up to three treatments and three to four months for results to become visible.

Laser treatments
Also known as radio frequency systems, these show promising results for cellulite. The treatment is usually carried out in combination with massage, liposuction or light therapy. It can liquefy fat, cut through connective tissue to release tension, promote collagen growth and skin tightening, increase circulation and reduce water retention. The results last for at least 6 months.

Most massage options are based on the idea that massaging the problem area will improve circulation and reduce fluid retention. Endermologie (also known as lipomassage) is a special form of mechanical massage. A machine uses negative pressure to knead the skin between two rotating rollers. The theory is that the deep massage breaks up the connective tissue that causes the dimples. Most studies show that massage techniques, including endermologie, improve the appearance of the skin for a short time but have no long-term benefit.

This minimally invasive procedure can improve cellulite. The doctor marks the area, injects an anesthetic solution and then inserts a small blade to cut through the connective tissue holding the fat in the dimples. A handheld device called Cellfina was approved in 2015 to make this procedure more precise. It provides vacuum-assisted control of the depth and area treated. In an average one-hour session, around 20 to 30 individual cellulite dimples are treated. The results can last up to two years.

Topical products
There are numerous creams on the market designed to reduce cellulite. Many contain ingredients designed to promote fat loss (caffeine, aminophylline, theophylline). Others contain vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts. In general, these products have little benefit on their own, but may have some value in combination with other treatments.

Natural methods to reduce cellulite

Get moving
Exercise strengthens the muscles that support the skin and reduces fat: jumping rope, walking and even trampolining are great ways to do this.

Eat a healthy diet
Yes, once again, nutrition. It’s so important. Here are a few tips:
– Lots of cooked or raw vegetables at every meal. Aim to fill half your plate with them.
– High-quality protein at least once a day: wild fish, organic meat, organic eggs, free-range chicken. The aim is to fill a quarter of the plate with it.
– Focus on cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, radish sprouts, broccoli sprouts.
– Sprinkle freshly ground organic flax seeds on vegetables, salads, yogurts, soups, juices and even smoothies. They are rich in fiber.
– Foods high in vitamin C are good for the skin.
– Limit sugar, sweets and alcohol.
– Adequate fluid intake

Stay calm
The stress hormone cortisol affects our general health and contributes to hormonal imbalance. Meditation, breathing, yoga – take a moment to breathe every day.

There is no magic formula for getting rid of cellulite permanently. Cellulite is natural and unavoidable. But good lifestyle habits can help to reduce it. Remember that we are all beautiful and that our body is just a shell that needs care. Accept your body and do something for your health and well-being during the menopause and beyond.

More information in our knowledge center at The Women Circle:

At The Women Circle, we understand the importance of comprehensive menopause support. Our Knowledge Center offers a wealth of resources, including articles, newsletters, blog posts and expert advice to support women on their menopause journey. Whether you’re looking for information on symptom management, lifestyle adjustments or holistic wellness practices, our Knowledge Center is your trusted source for evidence-based advice and support. Visit us today and gain access to a wealth of knowledge tailored to your menopausal needs.

We hope this information will help you to better understand the menopause and take practical steps to manage it. If you need personal advice or support on your menopause journey, contact The Women Circle here.

In our next edition, again on Saturday at 9am, we will cover more aspects of the menopause and women’s health. Stay informed and feel comfortable in this special phase of life.

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