Life Changes for Women
Courtesy Centennial Medical Center, Collin County LIVING WELL Magazine
Some women never have breast cancer or endometriosis. Others may not give birth or have a hysterectomy. But there is one health experience that all women go through––menopause. Just like puberty, menopause is a normal part of life. It is a time when a woman’s body changes, her periods stop, and she is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
The time leading up to menopause is called perimenopause. This is a transitional time of two to eight years before menopause during which periods eventually cease, plus the first year after the last period. The average age for a woman to go through menopause is about 50, but it can occur anywhere between the ages of 41 to 59. Postmenopause is the time in a woman’s life after menopause has occurred.
During perimenopause, a woman may or may not notice changes in her body because is affects each woman differently. Some common symptoms include changes in the menstrual cycle, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, urinary infections, problems sleeping, decreased interest in sex, mood changes, increased body fat around the waist, and difficulty with concentration or memory. Although periods may be irregular during this time, a woman would need to take precautions if she does not want to become pregnant.
Hot flashes and night sweats may stop about a year after menopause, but other health problems can develop as a result of reduced hormone levels that could have long-term effects. Osteoporosis can cause bones to become weak and prone to breaking. Lower estrogen levels also may lead to higher cholesterol levels, increasing a woman’s risk for heart disease or stroke. To stay healthy after menopause, women should stop smoking, eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, get enough calcium and vitamin D, maintain a normal weight, and exercise at least three days a week.
Centennial Medical Center is your community hospital that offers a full range of medical specialties, including women’s health and maternity care, pediatrics, cardiology and emergency care. To learn more about our comprehensive services for the greater Frisco area, visit www.CentennialMedCenter.com.