We wish our transition from young adults to old age would be really smooth, probably as smooth as certain hair removal brands prove your skin can get. But we all know it won’t get smooth enough to bounce bubbles off of it.
While we joke about it, do we know that smooth skin isn’t a major concern for middle-aged women? As it turns out, there’s another bodily process which brings along with it a possible onset of several diseases, and we need awareness about them. You must’ve guessed what this article is about – Menopause.
To understand the problems which accompany it, we need to know what Menopause is exactly. It is the absence of Menstrual periods for one calendar year, and the ovaries do not function beyond this period. Before listing out the diseases and health problems that are brought along with Menopause, there is one common straw.
A hormone called estrogen which is responsible for numerous body functions falls during this period in a women’s body causing all these irregularities. Some common problems are hot flushes, night sweats and memory not functioning as well as it used to. But women also get susceptible to certain conditions which are not so common.
The body’s response to insulin is affected if the hormones estrogen and progesterone start fluctuating. Premenopause is the stage which comes before menopause where the menstrual cycles become irregular. This hormonal imbalance or any hormonal imbalance for that matter leads to weight change, which is an area which needs to be paid attention to in case of Diabetes. Weight gain for women both having and not having diabetes, during menopause or after, is harmful as it leads to increase in insulin dosage or to develop a risk for metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes respectively.
2. Urinary Tract Infections
The risk for urinary tract infections increases drastically when a woman’s body produces less estrogen during Menopause. Estrogen is responsible for maintenance of tissues’ elasticity and in turn, helps in keeping bacteria out of the urinary bladder by strengthening its cells. The hormonal changes due to Menopause can also lead to changes in your vaginal bacteria which increase the risk of attracting UTIs tissue elasticity and in turn, helps in keeping bacteria out of the urinary bladder by strengthening its cells. The hormonal changes due to Menopause can also lead to changes in your vaginal bacteria which increase the risk of attracting UTIs.
3. Autoimmune Diseases And Hepatitis C
Estrogen is the protector of the body against liver damage, and the Hepatitis C virus takes advantage of this condition and attacks the body more. Autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and Graves’ disease can be easily contacted by women and this risk increases during Menopause. It is unsafe to share needles for injection drug use, acupuncture, and tattooing or even personal care items like toothbrushes or razors.
4. Joint Pain and Gout
Increase in Uric acid due to less estrogen is the reason for the formation of needle-like crystals causing sudden pain and swelling up of joints. The anti-inflammatory effect of estrogen is also considerably reduced due to drop in its levels and joint pain increases in women around this time.
5. Gum Disease
Lowering of estrogen level in a woman’s body after Menopause is the cause for the bone loss, weakening of teeth and severe gum disease contributing to tooth loss if untreated. Drop in estrogen level is also the reason for inflammatory changes in the body causing Gingivitis, which is the step prior to gum disease. It is important to take good care of gums during this time.
Mood swings and sleep deprivation are common during menopause, but they might lead to major depression in the case of some women. It is most risky in women who have had depression before like postpartum depression. This disease causes severe physical problems such as arthritis or heart disease.
Osteoporosis translate to ‘porous bone’ and as the name suggests it is a disease which makes one’s bones weak. When the estrogen in a woman’s body drops, calcium isn’t absorbed as effectively in the bones as it should, and this leads to reduced bone density. Due to the bones not being dense enough, the bones might get fractured when you least expect it.
The risk of cancer cells developing increases with age and after menopause increased ovulation and exposure to hormones is attributed to causing Breast Cancer, Uterine Cancer and Ovarian Cancer.
9. Vaginal Atrophy
Thinning, drying and inflammation of vaginal walls can be identified with itching, vaginal burning, painful sex and urination. Regular sexual activity during this time helps not only the health of vaginal tissues but also the heart.
While it is never too early to take care of your health, it is particularly important for women to do so during the onset and after Menopause.
Women need to embrace this major step forward in their life and men should be more considerate to women as they age.