How Your Body Changes At Menopause
What are you most noticing about menopause? The weight gain, the thinning hair or perhaps those mood changes or something else entirely?
Increased weight and changing body shape?
On average we put on between 2 to 5 pounds and it is normal for your breasts to change shape, lose their firmness, or shrink after menopause. It’s not unusual to lose a cup size or more as you get older.
This is due to changing hormone levels and because you are producing less oestrogen from your ovaries the body shifts production into the fat cells and this can be seen when oestrogen dominance is present.
Unfortunately it tends to be around the stomach, abdomen and thighs, just where you don’t want it! Before menopause, many women have a pear-shaped body — wide hips and thighs and more weight below the waist.
During midlife, that can change to more of an apple shape as your weight shifts to your waist and belly, due to the redistribution of oestrogen described above.
Osteoporosis/osteopenia risk may increase
Around age 35, women’s bones start to get thinner and weaker, and this process speeds up during and after menopause. Weaker bones are more likely to break, so good hormone balance to provide oestrogen to clear away old bone and progesterone to help build new bone is definitely a good idea.
Heart disease risk increases
Women at menopause are more at risk from a heart attack or stroke than from breast cancer. Bioidentical progesterone protects the heart and you can help yourself with a healthy diet, exercise and reducing your stress levels.
Menopause mood changes
This is not just physical, but the emotional rollercoaster of menopause can affect how you feel about yourself, about getting older and seeing the many changes your body is going through.
Bioidentical progesterone is a natural mood enhancer, but if changes are severe you may want to look at a combination or progesterone and oestrogen which can be more effective for anxiety and depression.
Loss of libido, and lubrication
It’s common to have vaginal dryness during and after menopause, and the lower oestrogen can make your vagina less stretchy. Vaginal moisturizers and local oestrogen or combined oestrogen and progesterone can help.
If low libido is the problem remember that although regular sex boosts blood flow and keeps your vaginal muscles toned, you may need some help from progesterone which stimulates libido in women.
More trips to the toilet
The lining of your urethra — the tube that carries urine from your bladder out of your body when you pee — gets drier, thinner, and less elastic. That can make you feel like you need to pee more and you may be more liable to bladder infections. You also may leak urine when you cough, laugh, or lift heavy things.
There are exercises to train and strengthen the muscles in that area and again bioidentical hormones can help.
Dry skin and thinning hair
Your skin is your largest and most visible organ, and menopause can make it dry and itchy. You can help your skin by using sunscreen and moisturizer as well as drinking plenty of water.
Hair too can get dry, change in texture and you may also notice some hair loss.
Dry eyes and changing shape
The shape of your eyes may change during menopause and the change is likely to be small, but it may be noticeable to you. You also may find that your contacts don’t feel right anymore or your vision isn’t what it used to be.
Some women have problems with dry or scratchy eyes after menopause as well as during it.