As a woman ages and reaches menopause, belly fat increases, and muscle mass decreases, according to Mayo Clinic. The body uses the calories taken in at a much slower rate, making it more difficult to lose weight and keep it off.
Hormonal changes before, during and after menopause are to blame for the increase in belly fat in women. Lifestyle changes such as the stress of children leaving the home, divorce or death also contribute to weight gain during menopause. Genetic factors such as other family members carrying extra weight also indicate why a woman experiences increased belly fat during menopause, according to Mayo Clinic.