Everything You Need to Know When Experiencing Postmenopause
After you experience menopause, you enter the final stage of postmenopause. After not having a period for 12 months, your body settles into a new normal where estrogen levels are lower and you are no longer able to get pregnant.
Postmenopause isn’t something you have to dread! It’s a lot less scary when you know exactly what you’re dealing with.
Here’s the essential information you need to know when experiencing postmenopause.
Symptoms of Postmenopause
It’s true that you may continue to experience some of the symptoms that are associated with menopause during the first few years of postmenopause. They include things like:
However, most women experience fewer symptoms as time goes on. It’s common for women to stop getting hot flashes, or if they still do, they are much less severe and more infrequent. Most women also report increased energy and better moods!
Potential Health Issues
Your body adjusts to having less estrogen, which is why some of the symptoms of menopause decrease over time. However, reduced estrogen levels have the potential to cause some health issues.
A decline in estrogen can:
Increase your risk of heart disease
Lead to bone loss and osteoporosis
Thin the urethral lining, causing bladder leakage
Cause vaginal dryness and irritation
Decrease your metabolic rate, causing weight gain
Managing Postmenopausal Symptoms
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to manage postmenopausal symptoms:
Avoid tobacco and alcohol, eat a healthy diet, and get plenty of exercise to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and manage your weight
Take a calcium and vitamin D supplement to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis
Do Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscle and prevent bladder leaks
Use lubricants and estrogen creams to reduce vaginal dryness and irritation
Do I need to be Diagnosed?
You do not have to be diagnosed with postmenopause. It is a natural part of the aging process that doesn’t require any specific medical intervention.
However, if you experience intense symptoms, you may want to be diagnosed. A doctor can measure your follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level to confirm that you are postmenopausal. This can provide you with peace of mind, knowing that the symptoms you are experiencing aren’t due to another, potentially more serious, medical condition.
Getting a diagnosis can also enable you to receive hormone therapies, if the symptoms you are experiencing are severe. You can also receive medications to reduce bone loss.
Whether you choose to be officially diagnosed or not, you should still schedule regular appointments with your doctor. With increased health risks, you'll want to make sure that you continue receiving preventative screening tests, like pelvic exams, pap smears, and mammograms.
Regular appointments also enable you to check in with your doctor so you can potentially catch other medical problems before they get too serious.
You don't necessarily have to go to the doctor's office! All you have to do is start a telehealth visit. You can talk about your symptoms, receive a diagnosis, and potentially receive a prescription—all from the comfort of your own home.