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Life After Menopause – Part 5

Life After MenopauseAfter menopause, women report feeling more energetic, less stressed, and no longer needing to worry about erratic periods and fluctuating hormones.

What does postmenopausal mean?

Menopause is clinically defined as the day on which a year has gone by since a woman’s last period. Any day after this is considered postmenopausal.

How will I know when I’m postmenopausal?

After menopause, a woman’s FSH levels increase dramatically. A doctor can test your FSH levels and easily determine whether or not you are postmenopausal.

How long does postmenopause last?

Technically, women are postmenopausal for the rest of their lives after menopause, much like women can still be considered post-partum years after having a baby.

What is happening in my body after menopause?

Your hormone levels are still juggling to find a fixed level. This causes increased FSH levels, as your brain is stimulating excessive FSH to try to get to follicles to develop. This has little effect on women, however, and poses no risk to a woman’s body. Hormone-replacement therapy can help reduce FSH levels if desired.

The estrogen in your body is also coming from a different source. Previously, estrogen was produced in the ovaries. After menopause, however, a woman’s fat cells are her major producers of estrogen. They produce about 40% of her previous levels.

Bone density often decreases after menopause. Have your doctor screen for osteoporosis during your annual physical. Osteoporosis is a risk for all older people, not just postmenopausal women. Postmenopausal women are also at risk for heart disease. To protect yourself from both heart disease and osteoporosis, maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes adequate calcium (1000 mg/day), vitamin D, and regular exercise.

Do I still need to see my gynecologist for an annual exam?

Yes. Even though you are no longer menstruating, it’s important to see your gynecologist every year for a Pap smear, breast exam, mammogram, and pelvic exam.

Will adjusting to postmenopausal life be hard?

No. Perimenopausal life is typically the more difficult stage for women. Once postmenopause has been reached, most of the symptoms, such as hot flashes and mood swings, are gone and you are free to enjoy your new phase of life. Use this time to concentrate on your health and well-being.

 

In this 5-part series, we cover all stages of menopause and discuss symptoms, treatment, and what to expect.

We hope you enjoyed our 5 part series on menopause. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Morice at drmorice@mybabydoc.com

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