Menopause: 7 body changes you should expect
Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life, marking the cessation of her menstrual cycles and fertility. It typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, although the exact timing varies from woman to woman. While menopause is a normal biological process, according to a gynaecologist, it brings about significant hormonal changes that affect various aspects of a woman’s health and well-being. Listed below are a few body changes after menopause that women often experience.
How does the body change after menopause?
Here are 7 things that change in your body when you hit menopause:
1. Skin health
Menopause often signals a shift in skin health. Dr Bharat says, “As estrogen levels decline, the skin’s elasticity and moisture retention abilities decrease, leading to drier, thinner, and more fragile skin. Collagen production may also decrease, contributing to wrinkles and fine lines.” However, proper skin care routines, including adequate hydration and sun protection, can help mitigate these effects and maintain a radiant complexion.
Menopause often leads to a decrease in fibroid growth due to reduced levels of estrogen. However, the symptoms of existing fibroids, such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain, can persist during the menopausal transition. Some women may find relief from these symptoms post-menopause, while others may continue to experience discomfort. Monitoring and discussing any changes is crucial to ensuring optimal management.
Menopause can impact cholesterol levels, often leading to an unfavourable increase in LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol. This elevation can contribute to an increased risk of heart disease. Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet, can help manage cholesterol levels and reduce cardiovascular risks.
4. Sleep cycle
“Fluctuating hormone levels during menopause can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to difficulty falling and staying asleep,” says Dr Bharat. Night sweats and hot flashes can further cause sleep disturbances. Establishing a calming bedtime routine and creating a sleep-conducive environment can aid in managing sleep disturbances.
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Menopause is a pivotal time for bone health. Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining bone density, and its decline can lead to a higher risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weakened and brittle bones. Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake, along with weight-bearing exercises, are essential for supporting bone health and reducing the risk of fractures.
6. Vaginal issues
Decreased estrogen levels can impact the vaginal and urinary tract tissues, leading to thinning and dryness. This can increase susceptibility to urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other discomforts. Open communication with a healthcare provider can facilitate effective management strategies, including the use of lubricants, proper hygiene practices, and topical treatments to maintain vaginal health.
7. Poor mental health
The hormonal fluctuations associated with menopause can impact mental well-being. Many women report experiencing mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and even depression during this phase. It’s essential to recognize these emotional changes and seek support from healthcare professionals when needed. Lifestyle changes, regular exercise, and mindfulness practices can also contribute to better mental health.
Although menopause can bring challenges in various aspects of health, self-care, healthy lifestyle habits, and open communication with healthcare providers can help you embrace these changes and continue to lead fulfilling lives!