After menopause, the menstrual cycle/period stops completely and permanently, due to lack of ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone. Menopause can cause increased risk of various medical conditions in women. These include,
- Osteoporosis: this an important problem for post-menopausal women. Osteoporosis makes bones bristle and weak and make bone vulnerable to fracture. Initial few years after menopause, the bone density loss may be faster and increase osteoporosis risk. Women after menopause are susceptible to some types of fractures, such as hips, wrists etc. due to osteoporosis and weak bone.
- Cardiovascular diseases: postmenopausal women are at greater risk of developing various cardiovascular diseases (diseases of heart and blood vessels). The increased risk of cardiovascular problems in postmenopausal women is mostly due to reduced estrogen level in blood, because ovaries do not produce adequate estrogen after menopause. The production of estrogen starts reducing in perimenopausal period and sharply decline after menopause. To prevent cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal period, women need to exercise regularly, eat balanced healthy diet, maintain normal body weight and may need to take hormone replacement therapy (consult your doctor if you need hormone replacement therapy).
- Weight gain: this may also pose a problem after menopause. Women tend to gain weight after menopause. This is due to slowing of metabolism. To prevent weight gain you need to do regular physical exercise and eat healthy.
- Urinary incontinence: this is die to loss of elasticity in tissues of urethra and vagina. It may start as frequency in urination and slowly may become sudden and strong urge to urinate. Which become urinary incontinence when you start to develop involuntary loss of urine (urge incontinence). Urinary incontinence may also be seen during lifting weight, coughing etc. Exercise to increase strength of pelvic floor muscle (such as Kegel exercise) and topical use of estrogen gel in vagina may help the condition.
- Sexual dysfunction: due to loss of elasticity of vaginal muscle, sexual intercourse may cause pain/discomfort and slight bleeding. Sensation may also be reduced, which lead to decreased desire for sex. Use of lubricants, local use of estrogen in vagina may improve the condition.
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