You are considered to be postmenopausal 12 months after your last period. During this time of life, you will likely face different health challenges, such as osteoporosis and an increased risk of heart disease. Roughly one third of women’s lives is spent in the period after menopause, and so maintaining your health and wellbeing is as important as ever. This article will provide an explanation of some of the key changes that your body may experience during this phase, and offers suggestions for ways in which you can look after your health postmenopause.
Watching out for osteoporosis
Osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become progressively more fragile, is common for postmenopausal women. Most bone density is acquired during younger years, and is progressively lost during the process of ageing. However, there are things that can be done to reduce this effect. Get a regular check up, and make sure that your diet includes enough calcium and vitamin D. Exercise, such as walking or weight bearing can also help to maintain bone strength. A reduction in bone strength (and the possibility of broken bones that comes with this) can cause fractures, so don’t overlook this important indicator of health. A bone density test can help to diagnose osteoporosis and is far less painful process than waiting for proof of weak bones.
Taking care of your nutrition
Pursue a balanced diet, with whole grains, leafy vegetables and nuts. Reduce your salt, fat, cholesterol and sugar intake. If needed, also consider taking supplements such as calcium and vitamin D, however don’t take supplements at the expense of a balanced diet. Improving the amount of nutrition in your diet will provide many benefits, and will help to reduce health risks that you may face postmenopause.
Keep up a good exercise regime
Along with nutrition, exercise is one of the best strategies for maintaining health. It’s common for postmenopausal women to experience weight gain, and this brings with it increased health risks. By incorporating exercise into your lifestyle, you can limit the impact that these changes will have on your health. Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day will go a long way to improving your wellbeing.
Taking care of your skin and hair
As a result of decreased oestrogen, it is common to notice dryness of skin, loss of elasticity and wrinkling. Smoking and sun exposure can worsen these symptoms. In addition, it’s possible to experience the growth of unwanted facial hair and a loss of scalp hair. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is sometimes used to combat unwanted hair growth, but it’s also possible to use different creams or laser therapy.
Vulva and vagina
It’s common to experience vaginal dryness during menopause, and during the postmenopausal phase of life this is also common. Replacing soap with sorbolene cream can help to reduce irritation when washing. Over-the-counter lubricants can also be purchased to make intercourse more enjoyable. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) Oestrogen can be very beneficial in treating vaginal dryness, please talk to one of our doctors today.
Reduce your risk of heart disease by altering your diet to avoid high fat foods, and instead replace these with lower fat and lower salt natural alternatives. Eat more fruit and vegetables, exercise at an appropriate intensity and check your blood for cholesterol. High blood pressure and obesity also increase the risk of heart disease, so be mindful of this and begin to take small but consistent steps in the right direction (with the help of a doctor). If you smoke, now is the time to stop.
Hot flushes and mood swings
Typically associated with menopause, these symptoms can continue to occur for some time after. Staying in good health, regular exercise and good eating habits are effective ways to help control these symptoms. It’s possible to take hormones to suppress these symptoms, however it’s also often the case that they will simply be delayed until the treatment is discontinued.
Stress can make the symptoms of postmenopause feel worse than they really are. It can be difficult to avoid stressful situations, however it is possible to pursue activities that help to reduce stress in your life. For example, simple activities that can be done on the spot, like taking a deep breath, or squeezing a stress ball can be of use. Alternatively, taking up yoga or meditation can provide a set time to destress and relax. Eating healthy and exercising can also help to reduce stress, as can talking to others.
Preventative health care
Why wait until you experience poor health? Preventative health care is the best type of health care. Many lifestyle changes can help to prevent uncomfortable symptoms and disease (especially diet and exercise). Talk to our doctors and have a discussion about how you can implement changes to your lifestyle in a way that addresses your health and concerns.
Keeping healthy and happy during postmenopause
So while postmenopause brings with it new health risks and concerns, many of the same principles that guide healthy lifestyles will continue to apply. Eating properly, getting the right nutrients and keeping active will continue to hold you in good stead. Additionally, seeing a doctor regularly, quitting (or never starting) smoking is beneficial.