Postmenopause is a time in a woman’s life when she no longer has a period and has moved past menopause. It typically occurs in the early to middle 50s. While menopause is over, women experience the same symptoms as perimenopausal and menopausal women. There’s also no strict time frame for when these symptoms will end. For this reason, it’s essential to understand and manage postmenopausal symptoms effectively so women can live their life to the fullest.
Postmenopause officially occurs when a woman hasn’t had a period for 12 months or longer. This means she can no longer become pregnant due to the ovaries no longer producing estrogen and will be in this stage for the rest of her life. Usually, post-menopause occurs by mid-50s, but women can experience early menopause in their thirties and forties.
With this life change comes typical physiological and mental changes that can wreak havoc on a woman’s well-being and daily life. The reason for these changes comes from a hormonal imbalance. The sex hormones progesterone and estrogen work together to regulate reproduction, balance moods, and strengthen bones, the immune system, and brain cognition and less of these hormones results in side effects.
Hormones are silent messages that make their presence known throughout the body and mind. But when there’s an imbalance, one or more of the following postmenopausal symptoms can occur.
One of the most common postmenopausal symptoms is hot flashes. They feel like a surge of heat travels up your chest to your cheeks instantly. What triggers hot flashes varies from person to person, but common ones are feeling stressed or worried. But for many people, there’s no rhyme or reason for the intense heat that floods your body.
Postmenopausal women make less estrogen, and the estrogen produced is the less potent E1 or estrone. It’s the only estrogen type produced after menopause. Estrogen helps with lubrication, skin thickness, and smoothness for all your tissues, including vaginal. Vaginal dryness makes intercourse painful and changes the shape of the vagina.
Everyone can be moody, but postmenopausal women may anger more quickly and seem to have constant mood changes. Estrogen and progesterone help balance emotions and encourage a happier state of being. So, fewer sex hormones may result in irregular moods and less happiness.
Postmenopausal women may find sleeping harder to come by. Night sweats are another symptom and can wake women up drenched in sweat. Also, many women may experience insomnia of some sort; either finding it hard to fall asleep or waking up in regular intervals and finding it harder to fall back to sleep.
Estrogen helps build healthy bones, and a lack of the hormone puts women at an increased risk for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones leading to brittle bones and other lifelong health concerns.
Gaining extra pounds is another common postmenopausal symptom. The area women gain the most weight is usually around the stomach. This is due to the loss of estrogen and no matter what you do, you can’t seem to lose the muffin top.
Treating postmenopausal symptoms is a priority for most women experiencing them. Women don’t need to suffer and can find solutions to help improve the quality of their life.
The most common treatment for postmenopausal symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT comes in different forms but can be classified into two main types: traditional and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
Traditional hormone therapy is prescribed by your doctor and usually comes in a pill, vaginal insert, or patch form. The prescription usually entails estrogen combined with progesterone and taken or applied once a day. The ingredients for this kind of hormone therapy typically aren’t natural and have chemicals and other fillers to enhance the medication.
BHRT is similar, but some argue much better. First, the treatment is natural, and the hormones “mimic” the exact ones found in the body. The estrogen is plant-based, commonly derived from wild yams rather than equine urine (a common ingredient in non-natural hormone therapy).
BHRT comes in a transdermal method, a topical cream applied once a day to the skin. Essential oils, coconut oils, and other soothing ingredients are infused with the hormones.
In conjunction with hormone therapy, many women find relief by changing their diets and focusing on foods that feed estrogen rather than deplete it.
Moving towards whole food, a clean protein diet low in harmful fats and processed foods can help fight postmenopausal symptoms. Some women also try the ketogenic diet (limiting carbs and increasing healthy fats) with intermittent fasting. By choosing a more nutritious diet, your body removes toxins and allows more estrogen to generate.
While any kind of exercise can be beneficial, postmenopausal women can benefit more from certain types of exercise, like weight lifting and HIIT, to build strength and speed. Heavy weight lifting can shock the body enough to make estrogen and progesterone. HIIT helps build muscle and bone density as well. Both types of exercise are suitable for the heart and mental strength.
Another treatment for postmenopausal symptoms is managing stress and getting a good night’s sleep. Mind-body practices like yoga and meditation can help with anxiety and encourage sleep. Good sleep hygiene includes going to bed at the same time, in a comfortable bed, and turning off electronics at least one hour before bed. All of which will encourage you into a peaceful slumber.
Treating postmenopausal symptoms is possible. The primary treatment is natural hormone therapy. Other methods like healthy nutrition, regular exercise, and stress management can all work together to eliminate the symptoms. It’s essential to speak with your doctor about the best way to eradicate postmenopausal symptoms and live out your golden years in the best way possible.