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Long Term Complications of Menopause: What You Need to Know

    Long Term Complications of Menopause: What You Need to Know

    As women grow older, the risk of having long term complications of menopause increases. This mostly happens because of the hormonal changes the body goes through, notably the lack of estrogen.

    long term complications of menopause

    What are the long term complications of menopause?

    During menopause, the ovaries no longer produce estrogen. The lack of estrogen means that a woman’s body will go through a number of hormonal changes. These can lead to symptoms such as hot flashes or mood changes.

    However, it’s also possible for women to experience more drastic or serious complications. Here are some of the long term complications of menopause:

    Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis is a condition wherein the bones start to lose their density. This makes the bones brittle and more prone to damage.

    This happens because estrogen helps improve bone density. Once menopause starts, estrogen levels can start to decline. In turn, bones can start to become weak, or even brittle. This is the reason why older women have a higher risk of fractures and other similar injuries.

    Some women choose to undergo hormone replacement therapy to counteract this, while others choose to take calcium supplements while they are still young. Both of these things can help improve bone density, and lower the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Likewise, regular exercise can help maintain bone mass and slow down bone loss.

    Increased risk of heart disease

    One of the effects of estrogen is that it can maintain the flexibility of the heart muscles. This is important in health function since flexibility allows the heart to move efficiently, and pump blood throughout the body.

    But when a woman starts menopause, the supply of estrogen in the body is no longer enough to perform this function. This means that women in menopause have a higher risk of heart and cardiovascular problems compared to other women.

    In order to counteract this, it is important to take precautionary measures while you are still young. A couple of ways to do this would be to have an active lifestyle, and eat healthy foods.

    These things can help lower your risk of heart disease, and also maintain your heart health even if you’re already in menopause.

    Sexual problems

    Another possible complication of menopause is that women can experience sexual problems. This can manifest in a variety of ways, with some women losing an interest in sex, or finding sex to be not as pleasurable as before.

    Some might also find that they lack lubrication during sex, which can make intercourse painful and uncomfortable. Some even experience light bleeding because of this.

    Because of this, some women opt to use lubricants or moisturizers. In some cases, vaginal estrogen treatment in the form of creams and tablets can help prevent sexual problems from happening.

    Whatever the effect on your body is, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about it. It’s a good idea to discuss these things with them as they can provide you with information and options on how you can deal with your sexual problems.

    Memory problems

    While it’s not uncommon for people to experience cognitive decline as they grow older, menopause has been known to cause memory loss in women.

    One study has found that women who have undergone surgery to remove both of their ovaries have a higher risk of memory decline and dementia. It is believed that this might be related to a decline in estrogen, so it’s possible that women in menopause are also at risk of these complications.

    For women who have early onset menopause, hormone therapy has been found to help prevent memory loss from happening. Staying active, practicing mindfulness, and engaging in meditation have also been found to help prevent cognitive decline.

    long term complications of menopause

    Key Takeaways

    While there are no sure ways to prevent the long term complications of menopause, women can still take precautionary steps while they are young. By focusing on these things, such as staying active, healthy, and eating right, you can live a long and fulfilling life, even if you experience menopause.

    Learn more about menopause, here.

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    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Sources

    Menopause – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20353397, Accessed December 4, 2020

    FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, https://www.facingourrisk.org/info/risk-management-and-treatment/menopause-symptoms-and-side-effects, Accessed December 4, 2020

    Changes in Hormone Levels, Sexual Side Effects of Menopause | The North American Menopause Society, NAMS, https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/changes-at-midlife/changes-in-hormone-levels, Accessed December 4, 2020

    Menopause and Cancer Risk | Cancer.Net, https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/prevention-and-healthy-living/menopause-and-cancer-risk, Accessed December 4, 2020

    Complications of menopause and the risks and benefits of estrogen replacement therapy – PubMed, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8323825/, Accessed December 4, 2020

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    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Jan 13
    Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD