The postmenopausal years refer to the years after a woman has gone through menopause. It is during this time that a woman will have a decrease in her menopausal symptoms. Her hormone patterns will have changed significantly because her ovaries would no longer be producing estrogen or progesterone. It is also during this time that a woman’s possibility of becoming pregnant disappears. Seventy percent of women will experience postmenopausal symptoms. For some, the symptoms will last until the woman is in her mid-50s. For others, it may last for the rest of their lives.
If a woman has not had her menstrual cycle in over a year, then she would be considered to be postmenopausal. For a more accurate confirmation, a physician can test the woman’s follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. The pituitary gland produces the FSH hormone. As a woman’s ovaries begin to shut down, the FSH levels will start to increase significantly. A blood test is used to measure the woman’s FSH levels.
Other Signs and Symptoms
Besides a woman not having a menstrual cycle, she may experience other symptoms once she is in the postmenopausal stage. Some of these symptoms are vaginal itching and dryness, bladder or urethra infections, and high blood pressure. Some women may also be prone to having pain in the bones or joints, fractures, and leg cramps. A telltale sign of post menopause for some women would be the ending of hot flashes and night sweats.
Postmenopausal bleeding occurs six months or more after a woman’s menstrual periods have stopped due to menopause. Many women will experience some postmenopausal bleeding. It can be a symptom of a severe medical condition. Some causes of this would be cervical cancer, cervical lesions, endometrial cancer, endometrial polyps, ovarian cancer, and uterine tumors. The most common cause would be Hormone Replacement Therapy. If a woman experiences any type of postmenopausal bleeding, she should see her physician immediately.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Some women who are postmenopausal may consider having Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). HRT is a hormone treatment that is prescribed by a physician. The purpose of having HRT is to replace the estrogen and progesterone levels that are declining due to menopause. These can be prescribed as creams, gels, implants, injections, patches, and pills. Women can take HRT by just taking the estrogen alone, the progesterone alone, or either a combination of the two.
How to Stay Healthy
It is important to lead a healthy life style post menopause. Women who are postmenopausal must be willing to make some life changes. One of the changes that need to be made is to start eating healthy. It is best to have a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat. Try to eat lots of whole grains and fruits and vegetables. Also, get plenty of calcium and vitamin D for strong bones and teeth. Exercise moderately at least three times a week in order to stay physically active.