Perimenopause and menopause can feel like a rollercoaster, bringing on a host of changes to your body. While it isn’t all awful, it can really throw you off! Thankfully, menopause doesn’t last forever.
Once you’re on the other side of that door, you’ll be securely in the land of post-menopause.
Menopause is a process. And as its name implied, post-menopause is the time in your life when you have finished that ‘change of life’ as it is sometimes called. So when you can expect it, and what is post-menopause like?
What is Post-Menopause?
Post-menopause is the name given once you’ve not had a period for an entire year. The end of menstruation is a convenient life change that many welcome (and mourn!). And, if you experienced menopausal symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats, these can subside. (Although, for some people, those symptoms can persist for years after).
Persisting Changes Post-Menopause
Unfortunately, some changes you may have noticed as you began menopause are going to stick around. Due to changes in hormone levels, vaginal dryness may be a persistent issue that impacts your personal or partnered sexual life. Thankfully, frequent orgasms and personal lubricant will become your very best friends—you can continue to enjoy sex and masturbation throughout your life!
Others Health Concerns When You’re Post-Menopause
While heart disease issues for cis males get a lot of attention, heart disease is just as deadly for cis women, and is the leading cause of death in the US. As you enter post-menopause, your risk increases.
After menopause, your cholesterol levels increase, along with the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
Family history and racial background impact your risk, but you can also mitigate your risk by eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your blood pressure within normal limits, and getting plenty of exercises.
Your doctor should start checking your cholesterol levels and blood pressure—if there’s a concern, they may prescribe medication or connect you with a licensed dietician.
Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease” because it usually progresses without physical symptoms. You won’t realise you have it until a minor fall breaks a bone. And unfortunately, menopause has a major impact.
Your body is constantly breaking down and building new bone, and until roughly the age of 30, your body usually builds more bone than it loses. After about age 35, more bone is broken down than is built, causing a gradual loss of bone mass.
Osteoporosis has a hereditary element to it, and Caucasian and Asian women are slightly more likely to experience it than other racial groups. Smoking and drinking also negatively impact your bone health.
To protect your bones, eat a diet that includes plenty of calcium and vitamin D. You should also get regular physical activity that includes cardio and weight-training; this can positively impact your bone density. As with all supplements, talk to your doctor before starting one, if your risk of osteoporosis is high, they may also suggest prescription medication
The Emotional Impact of Menopause & Post-Menopause
Many chalk up the emotional experience of menopause and post-menopause to be a type of mourning for a huge phase of your life. And while those feelings are very valid, they don’t encompass all that you may be experiencing.
The shift in hormones can have a huge impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing. Moodiness may go with this shift, but if you’re experiencing a lack of interest in things you used to enjoy, or an inability to feel joy, talk to your doctor.
Don’t feel silly or let your care provider wave away these feelings. Even if they are temporary, being referred to a mental health professional to be there for you while you are experiencing them can be a huge help.
Unfortunately, many people who feel like they’re alone during this major life shift (which can occur around the same time as other changes, like retirement and the death of a partner) turn to self-medication, especially with alcohol. You aren’t alone—and even finding community with other similarly aged peers focused on shared interests can be a huge help!
Lane Baumeister is an internationally-based Canadian writer with several years’ experience creating educational and entertaining articles that discuss intimate health and sexual well-being. When not waxing profound about menstruation, she devotes herself to enjoying extremely good food and equally bad movies.