Are there health risks related to the period known as post menopause?
Despite the fact that stand-up comedians and late night talk show hosts have always considered menopause or “the change” fair game for soliciting laughs, few women find the subject very funny. The anticipation of menopause, as well as its early stages, can produce a significant amount of anxiety related to not knowing what to expect and feeling totally out of control of the major changes happening within the body. Once menopause has actually set in, the symptoms associated with having a period are no longer a concern, but the new symptoms can range from mild to severe and include some or all of the following:
- Hot flashes that suddenly spread through the body like a wildfire and can strike at any time, day or night
- Night sweats that can result in the bedsheets becoming soaked with perspiration
- Cold flashes, a lesser-known side effect of menopause that are the result of decreasing estrogen levels causing the hypothalamus to trigger blood vessels in the skin to expand and cool the body to the point of shivering
- Vaginal dryness which makes sexual relations uncomfortable or painful
- Feeling an intense need to urinate and doing so far more frequently than normal
- Difficulty in falling and remaining asleep
- Emotional changes which can encompass a wide range of experiences, like mood swings, sadness, mild to extreme irritability, depression and memory issues
- Dryness experienced in the eyes and mouth, as well as on the skin
The period leading up to menopause, perimenopause, typically lasts around four years. The symptoms of menopause itself, which is officially diagnosed when periods have ceased for 12 consecutive months, last for an average of seven to eight years, although that number can range widely depending on race, ethnicity and when symptoms begin.
Post menopause is generally considered the stage after menopause and lasting for the rest of a woman’s life. Most of the symptoms of menopause are present in the beginning and gradually decrease during post menopause. During this period, women are at an increased risk of developing certain health conditions as a result of continued low levels of estrogen and progesterone. Some of these include:
- Cardiovascular disease – heart disease is the leading cause of death in women and when estrogen levels decrease the probability of developing cardiovascular issues increases
- Osteoporosis – this is probably the most well-known condition associated with menopause and is the result of a rapid rate of bone density loss due to lower hormonal levels
- Urinary incontinence – not only is the urge to urinate stronger and more frequent but the elasticity of the urinary tract changes, resulting in loss of control
- Sexual function changes – vaginal dryness and lowered libido are associated with decreased hormonal levels
- Weight gain – a common result of the slowing of the metabolism
While it would be hard to find any positives on the above list, the good news is that there are a wide variety of methods and treatments available to alleviate these symptoms and conditions. These include some combination of diet, nutritional supplements, exercise, stress reducing programs and hormone replacement therapy.
At the Southern California Center for Anti-Aging, we believe correcting imbalances and restoring hormones with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy can help with symptoms associated with all stages of menopause, while also helping to create the foundation for a healthier and happier life.
To learn more about menopause or if you have questions about any of our services, take advantage of our Free Consultation by clicking here to use our convenient online form.