Perimenopause and menopause can feel like a roller coaster, causing a myriad of changes in your body. While it’s not all terrible, it can really put you off! Fortunately, menopause doesn’t last forever.
Once you are on the other side of that door, you are safely in the land of menopause.
Menopause is a process. And as the name suggests, the postmenopausal period is the time in your life when you have finished this “life change,” as it is sometimes called. When can you expect it and what is it like after menopause?
What about after menopause?
Post menopause is the name given when you haven’t had a period for a full year. The end of menstruation is a convenient life change that many embrace (and grieve!). And if you’ve had menopausal symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats, these may subside. (Although these symptoms can linger for years in some people).
Persistent changes after menopause
Unfortunately, some of the changes you noticed at the onset of menopause persist. Due to changes in hormone levels, vaginal dryness can be a persistent problem affecting your personal or partner sex life. Fortunately, frequent orgasms and personal lubricants will become your best friends – you can continue to enjoy sex and masturbation throughout your life!
Other health concerns if you are after menopause
While heart disease problems get a lot of attention in cis men, heart disease is equally fatal in cis women and the leading cause of death in the United States. If you enter after menopause, your risk increases.
After menopause, your cholesterol levels rise along with the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
Family history and racial background will affect your risk. However, you can also reduce your risk by eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your blood pressure within normal limits, and doing plenty of exercise.
Your doctor should start checking your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. If there are any concerns, he or she can prescribe medication or put you in touch with a licensed nutritionist.
Osteoporosis is often referred to as a “silent illness” because it usually progresses without any physical symptoms. You won’t realize you have it until a small fall breaks a bone. And unfortunately, menopause has a huge impact.
Your body is constantly breaking down and building new bones. By the time you are around 30 years old, your body usually builds more bones than it loses. After approximately 35 years, more bone is broken down than built up, resulting in a gradual loss of bone mass.
Osteoporosis has a hereditary element, and Caucasian and Asian women suffer from it slightly more often than other racial groups. Smoking and drinking also have a negative impact on your bone health.
To protect your bones, keep a diet high in calcium and vitamin D. You should also get regular physical exercise, including cardio and weight training. This can have a positive effect on your bone density. As with all supplements, speak to your doctor before starting one. If your risk of osteoporosis is high, they may also recommend prescription medications
The emotional impact of menopause and post menopause
Many refer to the emotional experience of menopause and post-menopause as a kind of grief over a major phase in your life. And while these feelings are very valid, they don’t encompass everything you might experience.
The shift in hormones can have a huge impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing. Mood swings can be associated with this shift, but if you have a lack of interest in things that you previously enjoyed, or if you are unable to experience joy, speak to your doctor.
Don’t feel silly or let your doctor turn these feelings off. Even if they’re temporary, getting referred to a psychologist who is there for you while you are experiencing them can be of great help.
Unfortunately, many people who feel alone during this major life shift (which can occur around the same time as other changes such as retirement and the death of a partner) turn to self-medication, especially with alcohol. You are not alone – and even finding fellowship with other colleagues of your own age who focus on common interests can be of great help!
Lane Baumeister is an international Canadian writer with years of experience creating educational and entertaining articles dealing with intimate health and sexual wellbeing. When she is not into menstruation, she devotes herself to extremely good food and equally bad movies.