Life After Menopause (postmenopause)

The menopause is defined as 12 months without a period in women over 50 and 24 month without any bleeding in women under 50 years old. Much is made of the menopause, as it represents a significant change for a woman, but what happens after menopause and what can you expect once your periods have stopped?

Will bleeding stop suddenly?

In the majority of cases, women find that their periods start to become less frequent and more irregular over a period of time in the run-up to menopause, rather than coming to a sudden halt. As your oestrogen levels decrease, you may find that you go for several weeks or months without a period or you have shorter or lighter periods.

Will all my symptoms vanish?

Sadly, once you have your last period, this won't necessarily spell the end of menopausal symptoms and some women actually find that they go through a stage of experiencing more profound and noticeable symptoms after menopause than they did during perimenopause. If you take HRT during menopause to ease symptoms, you will usually find that you experience symptoms, such as hot flushes, when you stop using treatment.

Health after menopause

It's really important to look after yourself during and after menopause, as your risk of a host of illnesses increases with age. Often, you can reduce your risk of developing serious illnesses by adopting healthy lifestyle choices, but you will also need to keep tabs on your general health and it's always a good idea to have regular health checks to monitor cholesterol and blood pressure and to keep an eye on your vision and sight, your hearing and to check your breasts on a regular basis. The risk of conditions including heart disease, strokes, depression, osteoporosis and many forms of cancer, increases as you get older.

Exercising regularly, ideally 4-5 times per week, eating a healthy diet and avoiding smoking and drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol, will all help to boost your health. There are lots of different types of exercise you can try and you don't need to ht the gym every day to keep fit; walking, cycling, swimming, doing an exercise class, dancing, playing tennis, golf and playing cricket can all be beneficial.

Your mental health is also very important and there is help available if you feel low or you think you may have depression after menopause; see your GP if your mood is affecting your day to day life or you feel helpless, worthless or sad. There are lots of different treatments and self-help techniques, which can help to tackle depression, including talking therapies, medication and exercise.

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