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​Menopause & Aging

Menopause occurs when a woman’s menstrual season ends. Typically beginning in the 40s and 50s, menopause is associated with low levels of estrogen and testosterone, decreased estrogen production, fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels, and a thinning of the vaginal walls. In the years leading up to menopause, also known as peri-menopause you may experience a variety of symptoms including:
  • Irregular periods

  • Vaginal dryness

  • Hot flashes

  • Chills

  • Night sweats

  • Sleep problems

  • Mood changes

  • Weight gain and slowed metabolism

  • Thinning hair and dry skin

  • Loss of breast fullness

Furthermore, menopause may increase risks for other chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, urinary incontinence, sexual discomfort, weight gain, and oral issues due to changes in hormone levels.

Pelvic Health Post-Menopause

Even if you have reached menopause, you should still visit your gynecologist at least annually, and especially if you are experiencing abnormal symptoms such as pressure, bloating, vaginal bleeding, and vaginal discharge post-menopause. It is important to note that pelvic exams AND pap smears are covered under Medicare part B. Routine pelvic exams are just one way to support your pelvic health after menopause.

If you are experiencing pressure, bloating, or vaginal bleeding or discharge post- menopause, be sure to talk to your health care provider, and preferably a gynecologist, as these can all be signs and symptoms of gynecologic cancers.
  • Engage in Regular Physical Activity
  • Eat a Balanced Diet
    • Choose foods that are rich in fiber and fluids to support bowel regularity and prevent constipation, which can strain pelvic muscles.
  • Practice Kegel Exercises
    • These strengthen pelvic floor muscles, which can help prevent urinary incontinence and support pelvic organs.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight
    • Excess weight can strain pelvic muscles and contribute to pelvic floor disorders. Aim for a healthy weight through balanced nutrition and exercise.
  • Reduce Smoking and Alcohol Use
    • These can weaken pelvic muscles and negatively impact bladder function.
  • Open Communication
    • Speak with your partner(s) about sexual comfort and consider using water-based lubricants if needed. The vagina cleanses itself and does not need douching or strongly scented soaps.
  • Practice Relaxation Techniques
    • Deep breathing, yoga, or meditation can reduce stress, which can impact pelvic health.
  • Education
    • Educate yourself about menopause and pelvic health changes to make informed decisions about your well-being.
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