TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Before your 30s are over, you may start to notice that many things with your body are no longer the same as they used to be. This is because the hormones that have been stable since puberty begin to fall, ovulation begins to end and some of the side effects are quite large. Welcome to the beginning menopause.
“Perimenopause, or the years before menstruation completely stops, can start as early as age 35, but most women will experience it in their mid-40s,” says Toni Mueller, MD, gynecologist at Complete Women Care in Southern California. page Good Housekeeping. This transition to menopause usually lasts about seven years, and for some women it can last as long as 14 years.
During this time, rates hormone estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone start to fall, which triggers a variety of symptoms. “The big problem is your periods will be irregular, maybe less frequent, but heavier,” says Dr. Mueller. “You can also start experiencing hot flashes and night sweats.”
Other potential side effects include reduced muscle mass, more belly fat, lower energy levels and libido, more intense mood swings before menstruation, and difficulty concentrating. “Estrogen is also what keeps your vaginal flora in sync, so now is when you can start experiencing less lubrication and more painful intercourse,” says Dr. Mueller. Other vaginal changes include a higher risk for yeast infection and thinning of your external genital tissue, which can cause irritation and pain during sex.
In your 50s for most women, this is the decade you say goodbye to your period forever, which can bring about a lot of emotional and physical changes. Some can be positive, especially if you’ve had painful periods in the past – the PMS symptoms and cramps go away forever too. But other changes can be difficult to deal with. “The biggest concern here is a drop in estrogen, which is felt throughout the body,” says Dr. Mueller. “For example, hot flashes can be intense and more prominent.” Most women have hot flashes for about seven years, although they can continue for more than a decade (the earlier the hot flashes, the longer they tend to last).
Shifting your hormone levels also affects your bone strength and heart health. “Estrogens protect bones, so now you have to start worrying about osteoporosis,” says Dr. Mueller. “And estrogen helps keep LDL cholesterol down and HDL cholesterol high, so without it you have a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.” Half of postmenopausal women will also experience vulvovaginal problems, such as dryness, burning, and irritation, and most of these women will have a negative impact on their sex life because of these symptoms.
When you are in your 60s and after you may no longer experience the more irritating symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, but you are not out of trouble. “Woman in this decade we still experience significant vaginal dryness, which means it can be very painful to have intercourse, ”says Dr. Mueller. “And they are also at higher risk of developing many cancers and heart disease.”
Because you’ve been through so many physical changes since your 40s, you may also have a hard time accepting your new self. Research shows that it’s natural to feel sad about losing your younger body or that you suddenly become trapped in a body you don’t recognize.
But you don’t have to sit around and accept all of these changes. You have options that can improve your physical and emotional well-being, from prescription drugs to home remedies. “How women feel during these decades depends on what they do during the transition to menopause,” says Dr. Mueller.
Ask your doctor about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While not for everyone, HRT can be an effective way to relieve some of the major symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. “With hormone therapy, you can make a big difference in the quality of your life,” says Dr. Mueller. There are several different options (a specific prescription for estrogen or progestin, or a combination), and your doctor can determine if you are a good candidate and the right one for you. If you decide to try HRT, that doesn’t mean you’ll be using hormones for the rest of your life – your doctor will likely start you on a low dose and you continue it for as short as needed.
In addition to your normal self-care routine to cut back stress, prioritizing sleeping and eating well – all steps that can help reduce menopausal symptoms – there are also helpful home treatments for vaginal problems such as painful sex, dryness, burning and itching. Try using lubricants during sex and using vaginal moisturizers or topical estrogen creams or gels to relieve discomfort.
Lastly, prioritize your physical health. Strength training several times a week and increasing your heart rate regularly can help you avoid the muscle loss and weight gain associated with aging. Exercise can also reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers. The more you pay attention to yourself, the happier you will be with your body and the easier it will be to adjust to all of these changes.