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Life after menopause

Postmenopause is all the years after your periods stop. There can still be symptoms for the first few years - but luckily they'll subside. Life after menopause is something to celebrate and enjoyed. To do this, it's important to try to stay healthy and minimise risks. Here we cover what postmenopause is, and how to enjoy it.

In the first few years after menopause you may still experience some hormonal symptoms. This is because your hormones are still settling down, but fluctuating a little bit. Hot flushes are actually most likely after menopause - but don't worry most symptoms will settle down within a few years.

If you are taking HRT you may take it beyond menopause - which is fine and safe to do. This will help you to manage symptoms. If you aren't taking HRT it might be helpful to start taking up some new activities - like yoga, walking or singing.

As you age it is more likely that you'll get some vaginal or urinary issues. These can be difficult to deal with, and embarassing to seek help for. But they're a common and normal part of postmenopausal live. Vaginal and uriniary issues become more common in women who are more than 7 years past menopause. Always consult a health professional to seek out the right treatment for you.

Healthy habits for aging

In general, as you age the risks of disease increase. It's not happy news, but it is natural and normal. To help reduce long term disease risks, it's helpful to adopt some healthy habits. Some things to consider are:

  • Keeping to a healthy weight (avoiding obesity)
  • Stopping smoking
  • Trying to control blood pressure through weight and stress management techniques like yoga
  • Keeping a healthy pelvic floor through exercises
  • Reducing alcohol intake to 14 units or less per week
  • Staying active to help with bone strength
  • Eating enough calcium
  • Getting enough vitamin D through being outside and/or supplements [1].

Adopting some of these habits, and making your lifestyle that little bit healthier, will help to reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. These are some of the most common health issues for aging women.

Other coomon health conditions that can happen with age include:

  • Changes to memory and mood
  • Changes to cognition and increased risk of dementia
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Urinary incontinence, or difficulting keeping urine in
  • Vaginal prolapse (where the bladder, uterus and or bowe drop down into the vagina)
  • Arthritis.

Adopting the healthier habits shared will also decrease the risk of developing these problems too. In particular staying active and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce risks.

Although it may sound like a lot to do it's really going to be worth it if you want to enjoy your older age. Life does not stop at menopause - many women actually get a new lease of life as they enter the postmenopausal stage. Keeping healthy will help you to life life to the full for a long time.

Maintaining mental and social health

It's important not to ignore your mental and social wellbeing. Sadly, mental health problems and social isolation are becoming more and more common. Staying connected to friends, family and your community will help you maintain your social wellbeing. With mental health - do not ignore feelings of anxiety or persistent periods of low mood. Doctors and therapists on the NHS can help you if you are struggling with your mental health.

When we speak to postmenopausal women it's common to hear that the things helped most were:

  • Talking to friends
  • Social activities such as fitness classes or joining a choir
  • Learning a new skill or language, to keep their brain engaged.

It's common to hear that life after menopause is great! You care a little less about what other people think of you and spend less time worrying. This gives you more time to enjoy yourself and have fun. Getting to this point, through a tough journey of symptoms, can be difficult. So take the time to look after yourself mentally, physically and socially to give yourself the best chance of living a long, happy postmenopausal life.

References

  1. Assets.publishing.service.gov.uk. 2016. [online]
    Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/537616/SACN_Vitamin_D_and_Health_report.pdf [Accessed 9 October 2019].

  2. Hillard, T., Abernathy, K., Hamoda, H., Shaw, I., Everett, M., Ayres, J. and Currie, H., 2017. Management Of The Menopause. 6th ed. British Menopause Society.