Hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes and sleep problems. If you’re a woman between the ages of 45 and 55 experiencing these symptoms, and you have not had a period in 12 months or more, you are most likely experiencing menopause.
Menopause occurs gradually as a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs, estrogen levels drop and the menstrual cycle ends.
If you feel like life will be different after menopause, don’t stress. Knowing what to expect after menopause can alleviate your concerns, help ease your symptoms, and lower your risk of certain conditions and diseases.
Manage Your Post Menopause Symptoms
Many women try to manage their menopause symptoms on their own before seeing their doctor. Because symptoms can vary in severity from woman to woman, it’s important to discuss your menopause changes with your doctor. Your healthcare provider can suggest effective treatments, such as hormonal replacement therapy (HRT), antidepressants or non-medical modalities such as exercise and a healthy diet to alleviate your symptoms.
If your doctor recommends HRT, it’s important to know if you are eligible to receive the therapy. The decision to take HRT may depend on your age, medical conditions and family history. That’s why medical supervision is recommended if you are considering HRT .
Vaginal atrophy, which can cause vaginal dryness and pain, is one of the most underreported symptoms of menopause. As many as 70 percent of women do not report these symptoms, trying to manage them on their own. You may feel embarrassed to discuss these issues with your doctor, but there’s no need to be. Speak openly and ask about effective and simple treatment options you need.
Many symptoms of menopause, like anxiety, mood swings and depression, aren’t physical changes. These emotional changes, coupled with physical symptoms can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle. Getting the recommended amount of restful sleep is imperative for overall health, so don’t suffer in silence. Speak to your doctor, who can help you decide on the best treatment plan.
Increased Risk of Health Issues
After menopause, you may be at an increased risk for certain health conditions and illnesses.
Menopausal women are at an increased risk for osteoporosis, which may accompany impaired balance, and an increase in falls and fractures. Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is utilized to diagnose osteoporosis and to estimate the future risk of bone fracture
In addition, you may be at a increased risk for cardiovascular disease, which may be due to higher levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol after menopause. That’s why exercise and a heart healthy diet are more important after menopause.
As women get older, the risk for breast cancer goes up. This risk also may depend on a woman’s age, weight and family history. It is critical to get screening mammograms which can detect breast cancer early. A history of breast feeding may also reduce your risk of breast cancer.
Knowing your family history can be essential to decreasing your risk of developing health issues. There are special groups of women who have a family history of breast cancer. If you belong to a high risk group, you may ask about genetic testing and medications to reduce your risk.
Additionally, after menopause you may experience urinary incontinence. Because of decreased estrogen levels, your estrogen-dependent pelvic floor muscles weaken and your ability to hold your urine may decrease as well. Be sure to speak to your doctor; urinary incontinence can be treated with pelvic floor exercises and medications.
Life After Menopause
You may be wondering if there are any changes you should make after menopause. While you should begin this discussion with your healthcare provider, you can take proactive steps for a healthier lifestyle.
Your workout regimen should consist of comprehensive exercise programs. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, coupled with strength-training, can decrease your risk of osteoporosis. Balance exercises can lower your risk of falls and aerobic exercises help improve your cardiovascular health.
A healthy diet is also a key factor in overall wellness after menopause. Try to eat a balanced diet of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables.
After menopause, you should maintain regular health screenings and stay up to date on vaccines. Regular health screenings can often prevent a health concern from becoming a bigger issue later.
Remember that keeping an open line of communication with your healthcare provider can help you live a full, active, healthy life after menopause.
To learn more about healthy aging, download our guide and included fitness tracker and sample meal plan today.