The time of a woman's life following menopause is called post-menopause. A woman is considered post-menopausal if she has not had her period for an entire year. At this point a woman‘s transition into her non-child-bearing years is complete, post-menopause lasts the rest of a woman's life.
During this time, many of the bothersome symptoms a woman may have experienced before menopause gradually decrease. However, the permanent end of a woman's period doesn't necessarily mean the end of bothersome menopause symptoms. For about half of women, menopause symptoms will typically last for about seven years after their last period. For 10% of women, symptoms can continue for up to 12 years.
Along with the physical changes that occur after the menopause, post-menopausal women are at increased risk of a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
Have I definitely gone through the menopause?
Post menopause is usually 12months after the last period. Most healthcare professionals will evaluate a woman's menopausal status according to her symptoms, pattern of periods and medical records.
Some women may have had a hysterectomy, and at the same time, surgical removal of the ovaries for various medical reasons. Removal of the ovaries creates an immediate menopause.
Your post-menopausal health
As you get older, your ovaries start producing less of the hormone oestrogen. As a result of lower oestrogen levels, post-menopausal women are at increased risk of a number of health conditions such as osteoporosis and heart disease. Medication such as hormone replacement therapy and healthy lifestyle changes can help to reduce the risk of these conditions. Every woman is different.
Speak to your healthcare professional about your individual benefits and risks of taking HRT.
Do I still need to see my doctor now that I am post-menopausal?
Even if you are post-menopausal, getting regular check-ups and preventative screening tests are among the most important things you can do for yourself. How often you need check-ups will depend on your health history. Talk to your healthcare professional about your individual needs.
Attend your regular mammography and blood tests, which will screen for diabetes and high cholesterol. You may also want to consider a bone density test, which is recommended for women under 65 who have one or more risk factors for osteoporosis. Risk factors include a close relative with osteoporosis, smoking and a slender build.
Mid-life can be an exciting period in your life. It is a time of change - not only physical but also emotional as well. Consider this a time of opportunity and promise - a chance to make healthy changes in your lifestyle that will help you get the most out of your life!
So don't hold on to the past! Explore your world, and expand your horizons. Go on! Get out there and look forward to new adventures.