No one looks forward to that time of the month. Those annoying days spent with persistent cramps and an exhausted body, putting an immediate damper on your mood. Yet, it can be scary to imagine a time without them. Transitioning from menstruating monthly to entering the phase of menopause can be quite a daunting journey.
It is important to be prepared, even if you may still have years before menopause. Postmenopause problems can throw you off your game if you are not aware of them. Being educated about your biology is a must. It is your body and you should know how to best under all circumstances.
What is Postmenopause?
There comes a time in a female’s life when her monthly period comes to a stop. This usually happens around the time between your late 40s and early 50s. It represents the end of reproductive age.
There are several unnatural circumstances in which your periods might stop prematurely, but the onset of menopause usually refers to a natural end to your reproductive cycle.
The first stage is known as perimenopause, which can start around 8-10 years before menopause. It is followed by menopause, which is the stage where you haven’t got your menstrual period for at least 12 months. It can bring about a variety of discomforts such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, difficulty in falling asleep, etc.
Postmenopause is the final stage, which comes after your period has naturally stopped for around a year. While postmenopause might mean the removal of certain painful menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, there is still a set of problems after menopause that might be experienced. It is necessary to know which of these are natural and which of these indicate serious medical conditions.
Postmenopause syndrome refers to a set of symptoms and signs that are commonly experienced after postmenopause. Postmenopause indicates a transition in your body, thus postmenopause problems come with it. You must be aware of these occurrences to take proper care.
It is tricky to distinguish between problems of postmenopause and those of ageing and related stress. But still, medical professionals have been able to pinpoint the start of certain postmenopause symptoms in the majority of females.
Here is a list of six problems after menopause that you might experience:
1. Weakening bone strength
After menopause, women lose around 25% of their bone mass on yearly until the age of 60. This means that there are a variety of bone-related issues such as brittle, weaker bones that might be experienced. This increases the risk of breaking bones. This is one of the major postmenopause problems.
2. Vaginal dryness
The cause of most problems after menopause is due to the production of low estrogen levels. This has a serious effect on natural vaginal lubrication. Many women experience vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable and disrupt your intimate life.
3. Urinary incontinence
Wanting to constantly use the washroom can be awkward and embarrassing. Postmenopause syndrome brings with problems such as bladder leakage and sudden urge to urinate at odd times. If you have previously always had good bladder control, something like this can fluster you. Necessary measures must be taken.
4. Heart diseases
Cholesterol levels increase after menopause. This means that you are at a higher risk of strokes, heart attacks and high blood pressure. You might experience fluctuations in your weight. Pay close attention to any changes.
5. Hot flashes
This is usually one of the symptoms of menopause that fade as postmenopause dawns, but sometimes it might persist. Hot flashes are sudden spreading of warmth all over your body, which can be accompanied by sweating. If these continue to occur in postmenopause, contact your doctor to find out the cause.
6. Emotional distress
Postmenopause can bring with it a flurry of negative feelings such as fear and anxiety. Often, your mood can become shaky and prone to irritability. Sometimes, depression can be diagnosed in this period. Be honest about what you are feeling.
Why am I experiencing bleeding after menopause?
It can be frightening to experience bleeding after menopause. It is important to contact your doctor as soon as you notice it. Even if it is faint spotting, bleeding after menopause can be an indicator of severe health conditions. A few possible ones are:
- Endometrial atrophy i.e. thinning of the uterine lining
- Vaginal atrophy, which is the inflammation, drying and thinning of the vaginal walls.
- Abnormal muscle growth in the uterus in the form of fibroids, which are typically noncancerous but could be potentially dangerous as well.
- Endometrial polyps, which are abnormal tissue growth in your endometrium. These have high chances of being cancerous
- In some cases, the bleeding could also be an indicator of endometrial cancer
If you notice postmenopausal bleeding, don’t panic. There always solutions available. Visit the gynaecologist to get a proper diagnosis so you can begin treatment for it.
Managing Postmenopause problems
Having a postmenopausal care plan helps you stay ahead of your game. Consider all possibilities, and be aware of any changes that your body goes through. Here are some tips you can follow to give your body the attention it needs during postmenopause:
Hormone Replacement Therapy: This is a medical procedure that aims at easing symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats by replacing the hormones that are now at a lower level. Before considering this, ask your doctor about the risks involved so you can carefully make a decision.
Exercise: Postmenopause brings with a sense of tiredness, bone and heart-related issues. Exercise regularly to manage cholesterol levels and weight. Exercising also releases chemicals called endorphins which give you a pleasant feeling and uplift your mood.
Healthy Diet: To strengthen your weakening bones, manage your nutrition. Consume food rich in Vitamin D and calcium sg. Be in touch with your doctor about prolonged bone problems, so they can prescribe additional medication if necessary.
Estrogen Creams: If vaginal dryness has disrupted your sex life post-menopause, using estrogen creams to lubricate your vagina can make sex pleasurable for you again.
Counselling: You might be experiencing sudden fears and doubts after menopause. Talking to a trusted mental healthcare professional can help relieve these negative feelings. It’s important to remind yourself that there is nothing wrong with you. This is just a new road for you to walk on.
UTI Treatment: Necessary measures can be taken to practice bladder control and use medication to ease postmenopausal urinary problems. Talk to your doctor in detail before starting any such treatment.
Life after Menopause
Life after menopause can seem uncertain at the start. Change is often unpleasant, especially when you are used to a certain norm, however unpleasant it might have been. Thus, saying goodbye to your periods can be more bittersweet than you expect. Remind yourself that you’re starting another journey, like how you did when you were a teenager and had your first period. You got through that once, as scary as it was, and you will get through this again. You’re even more mature and braver now.
Postmenopause is just another phase of life. You are no less a woman than you were before. Having or not having periods does not define your identity. You are who you say you are.
Hold your own hand and grow through this, too.