Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstruation due to loss of ovarian and follicular activity. It usually occurs in the early 50s. Postmenopausal women face several changes in the body around menopause, which raises the risk of other health problems. To maintain women’s health, postmenopausal women need unique health promotion and disease prevention strategies. Let’s discuss some common health problems and their prevention associated with menopause.
- How will menopause affect a woman’s health?
- Does hormone (estrogen) therapy during menopause prevent these health problems?
- Which things are necessary to keep yourself healthy after menopause?
- Dietary supplements for Postmenopausal women
- What screenings women need after menopause?
How will menopause affect a woman’s health?
After menopause, women have gone through low estrogen levels and progesterone. According to women’s health specialists, the low estrogen level is the primary reason for many health problems after menopause such as stroke, heart diseases, osteoporosis, urinary incontinence, and lead poisoning.
Women have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than men prior to reaching menopausal age. The higher estrogen levels in the body help to keep blood vessels relaxed and maintain body HDL and LDL levels. However, after menopause, when estrogen level declines, cholesterol builds up on the artery walls and leading to heart problems. At the age of 70, women and men face equal risk of heart diseases. It is also the leading cause of disability and death in postmenopausal women. Women’s health centers use pooled cohort risk assessment equations to estimate women’s ten-year risk of atherosclerotic heart diseases such as stroke and myocardial infarction.
Health specialists suggest that in the 10 years after menopause, the chances of having a stroke doubles. During the menopausal transition, the estradiol levels in a woman’s body declines by an estimated 60%.
There are multiple stroke risk factors associated to menopause, according to cohort studies. Some of the risk factors that studies have found include:
- An increase of abdominal obesity
- Increase in triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol
- Higher blood pressure levels
- Increased body mass index (BMI), and
- Increased fasting glucose and other measures of insulin resistance
Medical professionals theorize that the accumulation of all these factors are likely a result of androgen excess and estrogen decline. For these reasons, monitoring your health with a primary care physician and frequent women’s health visits are imperative in the recognition and treatment of these risk factors.
Loss of bone mass after menopause enhanced lead levels in the blood with a higher risk of blood pressure and atherosclerosis. According to women’s health specialists, a higher lead level may also cause kidney problems and dementia.
Many postmenopausal women suffer from urinary issues due to reduced levels of estrogen in the body. The low estrogen levels can cause thinning of the lining of your urethra. The pelvic muscles may also weaken while you age, a process which is known as “pelvic relaxation”, leading to urinary incontinence, or the involuntary leakage of urine.
The most common types of urinary incontinence in women are;
- Stress Incontinence, the main cause of which is the mentioned weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. Common symptoms associated with this type include leakage of urine with coughing, laughing, sneezing, or lifting heavy objects.
- Urge Incontinence, which is caused by overly active or irritated bladder muscles, and is commonly known as “Overactive bladder”. It is commonly recognized by frequent and sudden urges to urinate, with occasional leakage of urine.
Increase Chance of Primary Osteoporosis
This is a multifactorial systemic skeletal disease that causes your bones to become weak and brittle quickly. After menopause, a woman’s health is at high risk of osteoporosis due to low estrogen levels. The drop in estrogen levels during the menopausal transition period leads to more bone resorption than formation, resulting in osteoporosis.
Women’s health center’s study found that those women who face hot flashes and night sweats after menopause are at greater risk of osteoporosis. There are, however, medications for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Some examples of these medications include bisphosphonates alendronate and risedronate. These medications, among others, can be further explained by your primary care provider.
Greater chance of developing breast cancer
Doctors more focus on mammography to detect the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Women’s health is at a higher risk of breast cancer from 50 to 74 years of age.
Increased weight gain
Weight gain is a prominent health problem after menopause. Women gain at least 5 pounds of weight after menopause due to a low estrogen level. Besides, slow metabolism is also a factor of increased weight. Being overweight puts women’s health at risk of other health problems such as stroke, diabetes, and heart attack. Women well visit highly recommend physical activity and exercise after menopause to maintain their weight.
Does hormone (estrogen) therapy during menopause prevent these health problems?
Postmenopausal women frequently ask this question from Women’s health specialists, No! Hormone therapy does not help in a low estrogen level after menopause; instead, it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia. It only reduces the menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
Which things are necessary to keep yourself healthy after menopause?
There are many important things for women’s health to build your health around menopause.
- Quitting smoking is the primary step to keep yourself healthy. It causes 12 types of cancer in women, damaging bone and cause cardiovascular diseases.
- Regular physical activity daily to maintain your mood, bones, and getting rid of bad cholesterol. Most Women’s health specialist recommends at least 2 hours 30 minutes moderate aerobic physical activity or 1 hour 15 minutes vigorous aerobic activity in a week.
- Eat healthily and get a daily intake of minerals, vitamins, fibers, and other essential nutrients for health maintenance and to keep yourself younger after menopause. Women’s health centers calculate daily calories according to women’s age, weight, and height.
Dietary supplements for Postmenopausal women
Women’s health specialists suggest a daily intake of some essential nutritional supplements after menopause
- Women after 50 years of age need 1.5mg of B6 and 2.4mg of B12 each day.
- Every woman needs 1200 mg of Calcium after 51 years of age to keep their bone strong and healthy.
- Vitamin D is an essential constituent for healthy bones, and Doctors recommend 600 International Units (IU) for 51 to 70 age women per day and 800 IU of vitamin D for women age 71.
What screenings women need after menopause?
All women need regular screening tests after menopause for health maintenance. Women health specialists recommend the following tests for postmenopausal women
- Regular mammograms after age 50 to 75 years to aware of your breast health.
- Cervical cancer screening should be discontinued at 65 years of age.
- Regular screening of Pap and HPV test together every five years.
- Regular height measurements to detect height loss due to bone loss.
- Blood, urine, and cholesterol level tests to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.