Menopause is an inevtiable transition that all women make as they pass from their reproductive years into their non-reproductive years. In fact, each year in the United States, 1.3 million women become menopausal, which can lead to a number of changes in their physical and mental health.
As women’s health experts, Dr. Denise Furlong and our team here at Chicago Center for Women’s Health understand all too well the sometimes dramatic shift that menopause can cause, both during the transition and afterward.
To help ease the journey and life after menopause, we’ve pulled together a few tips.
Diet is more important than ever
When you go through menopause, the levels of reproductive hormones in your body drop off precipitously.
While these hormones were mainly responsible for helping you to conceive, carry, and feed your child, they also influenced other areas of your health, such as your cardiovascular system and bone health.
For example, about 20% of women experience bone loss after menopause and one in two postmenopausal women will develop osteoprorosis.
To ensure that your bones, and your cardiovascular system, remain as strong as possible, your diet matters more than ever. You should ensure that you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D, which can be found in leafy greens, nuts, fatty fishes (salmon), and dairy products, among other foods.
Other than bone health, you might find that you’re gaining weight far more easily, so you should place the emphasis on fiber and not fat, which means giving up the cookies in favor of apples and berries. Likewise, ditch the chips for some carrots, celery, or nuts.
Improving your sex life
More than half of women who transition through menopause experience a decline in vaginal health, mostly due to vaginal dryness.
There are several steps you can take to help maintain your sex life, including:
- Use plenty of lubricants
- Use local estrogen
- Avoid douching
We also recommend that you talk to your partner about the problem so you can work toward a solution together, because one of the best ways to improve vaginal health is to keep your vagina sexually active.
Dealing with incontinence
After you pass through menopause, you may experience some urinary incontinence. To offset this, we highly recommend doing Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor. If you’re unsure about Kegels, here’s a link that explains them.
As well as addressing urinary incontinence, strengthening your pelvic floor can also go a long way toward preventing pelvic organ prolapse, which occurs when organs in your pelvis shift downward.
Mind over menopause
Many women struggle mentally after menopause. You may be moodier, more anxious, or develop depression.
We urge you to remain active, which does wonders for anxiety, but you should also find relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation, to help calm your mind and relieve stress.
Postmenopausal life for women can vary greatly. If you find that the changes are having a significant impact on your quality of life, please come see us so that we can discuss some solutions, such as hormone replacement therapy.
For more tips on navigating life after menopause, feel free to contact us at one of our two locations in Bedford Park or Oak Lawn, Illinois. Call the office of your choice, or book an appointment online.