Menopause is not the easiest time in a woman’s life — hormones all over the place, mood swings left right and center. However, it isn’t simply moods that change the path of a woman’s life; there are many health issues also, some of which can be very serious. Below is a list that we should look out for.
Osteoporosis is a condition where bones break very easily. Because of the loss of the strength and bone building estrogen during menopause, it is much harder to build new bone and maintain strength. Cracks from twisting or straining, often in the hip, wrist, and spine area, occur often.
The best way to prevent osteoporosis is to exercise when young, take lots of vitamin D and calcium. During menopause a good diet is essential, with the right amounts of vitamin D and calcium. Fish, dark green vegetables, milk, and foods with added calcium are best.
Exercise is important – weight bearing exercises such as climbing stairs, walking, and using weights are good. Balance exercises are also a good way of learning how not to fall over.
During menopause, a woman’s bad cholesterol may rise, and her good levels may lower. It is easier to become victim to narrowing and hardening of the arteries. There is a risk of stroke, high blood pressure, heart attack, and cardiovascular disease. Most women have some protection from heart related issues before menopause, but afterwards it can be a war zone.
Women should make sure they see a doctor to have their blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar tested on a regular basis, if anything is too high take steps to get it down.
If you follow a healthy diet, and don’t smoke it can help enormously. Anything that gets your heart pumping is good for you. If you haven’t exercised before take it slowly at first, maybe walk up the stairs an extra three times during the day, or walk to the store instead of taking the bus. Exercise around 30 minutes a day.
Good food for the heart includes low sugar and low fat, vegetables and grains. Try to get enough sleep as that is a natural life saver, women who don’t get enough sleep tend to gain weight.
Irritability, fatigue, anxiety, and sad depressing moods are common menopausal symptoms. Depression is a big issue, and if felt badly enough should be checked out by the doctor. We women can do a lot to help ourselves, like enjoy nurturing activities and not feeling guilty. We can make sure we have a good healthy diet and keep up our vitamin D and B levels. If things get really bad, please talk to a medical professional to see if they can treat you and help you. I suffer from mood changes and some depression and am now taking large doses of EPA from fish oil, it is said to help – knowing that I am taking something natural makes me feel good.
Urinary incontinence and infections become common after menopause, and if you suffer from this see your doctor to make sure it isn’t anything serious.
Urinary incontinence can be caused by weak muscles, nerve damage, or infection. Please don’t be embarrassed as menopausal women all over the world are in the same situation. special pelvic exercises can help, as can certain medications if the situation is severe.
There is more than one type of incontinence :
Stress incontinence – leaking urine after a sneeze.
Overflow incontinence – having a problem fully emptying bladder.
Urge incontinence – not being able to hold it before getting to the bathroom
Many women experience hot flashes – a sudden burning hot feeling in the body, leading to blushing, fast pulse, perspiration, and chill. These can go on for a few years until the body settles down. If you have these flashes during the night they are called night sweats, and can interfere with sleep
Often you can pick out something that triggers off your hot flash, my trigger is stress and spicy foods. Other triggers are caffeine, hot drinks, and alcohol.
Once we realise that our symptoms are due to menopause, it’s easier to accept them and try to enjoy this new time in our lives – here’s to the Goddess in us all.
National Institute of Aging.