Most women will start to experience menopausal symptoms at some stage in their 40s. Fluctuating hormone levels may contribute to a host of perimenopausal symptoms, including irregular periods, mood swings, insomnia, headaches, palpitations, hot flashes and joint aches.
Why is it harder to keep my weight down? Where did my waist go? Where did my sex drive go? Are my periods supposed to be heavier? What happened to natural regularity? These are common complaints of women in their 40s. Are they simply a function of age?
Forty is a magical number for women's health. Described as the ‘sandwich generation’, women in this age group are often torn between caring for children and ageing parents. The 40s is also a time that many women find their career really starts to take off and this comes with added pressure and expectations.
If you’re between 40 and 45, the signs of early menopause can be devastating. Not only are you facing unexpected symptoms, such as insomnia, vaginal dryness, and weight gain, but you may have feelings of panic or confusion about why these changes to your body are happening so early. Turning 40 also means your chance of developing illnesses like cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis or a thyroid condition increases significantly. You can't turn back the clock, but you can learn how to protect yourself from the health problems that could destroy your quality of life.
Women’s health experts are encouraging women to see their 40s as the perfect time to stop putting everyone else first and start taking care of themselves for a change, to start taking care of our health today so that we have a better chance to be healthy tomorrow.
Apart from general health conditions, women in their 40s commonly face health challenges caused by hormone fluctuations. Yes, it’s not just teenagers who are riding an emotional, hormonal rollercoaster – it’s their mums too!
As women hit their 30s and 40s, their fertility starts to decline. "Reproductive menopause" can occur 10 years before true menopause. Fertility rates, both natural and those subsequent to high-tech reproductive assistance, plummet in 40s.
Start monitoring your weight and blood pressure. Have a comprehensive blood test done including the thyroid and lipid profile. Cervical Cancer Screening and ECG is a must. Have a body composition analysis with fitness and nutrition evaluation. Check with your Doctor, if you need a mammogram.
As we get older, our basal metabolic rate decreases by 4 - 5% with each decade. If you do not exercise to set off this decrease in basal metabolic rate, you're likely to start putting on weight.
Fluctuating hormone levels make you lose lean body mass. Fat replaces muscle and since fat doesn't metabolize calories as well as muscle, the unused calories get deposited in our bodies. Before you mourn each birthday as a weight-day, know that you can prevent much of this with exercise and diminished caloric intake.
As you grow older, the rate at which your body burns calories declines making it harder to keep off unwanted pounds. Cholesterol levels can start to increase. Fight fat with a sensible low-fat diet and plenty of exercise.
Hormonal imbalance is one of the prime causes for menstrual irregularities - period can be scanty or heavy. As you enter our 40s, you are also more likely to develop fibroids. Fibroids can contribute to heavy bleeding and bleeding between periods.
The other causes of heavy or painful periods can be a condition called Adenomyosis.
As women approach the menopause, many think they absolutely can’t get pregnant. Although fertility declines and your periods may be sporadic, it's still possible to get pregnant. Discuss your contraceptive options with your Doctor.
Women who stop having periods in their early to mid-forties are at increased risk of developing osteoporosis and heart disease, particularly if they are smokers. It is important to have a health check to assess the risks and perhaps consider calcium supplements and HRT.
See your Doctor for regular smear test according to appropriate screening interval.
Loss of libido affects all women at some point in their lives, either in the short-term (e.g. after the birth of a baby, during a stressful time at work, during a rocky relationship) or in the long-term.
Low libido can have a range of causes including physical, emotional, sexual and psychological reasons. You might be simply too tired, or living an ‘anti-sex lifestyle’. The fluctuating hormones can cause vaginal dryness which can make sex painful. This also can make you lose your libido.
There are sometimes physical reasons why women no longer enjoy sex. Pain, discomfort and dryness are usually caused by a drop in oestrogen and this may impact on a women’s libido in her 40s and beyond.
Fortunately, there are a whole range of treatments and therapies available to help, from the trusty old KY jelly to prescription creams and medications.
|Blood Pressure||Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80),once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 140/90. Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.|
|Breast Cancer||Discuss with your Doctor.|
|Cervical Cancer||Get a Pap test every 3 years if you’re sexually active.|
|Chlamydia||Get tested for chlamydia if you are sexually active and at increased risk.|
|Cholesterol||Get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease. Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.|
|Diabetes||Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.|
|Gonorrhea||Get tested for Gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant.|
|HIV||Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV. Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse. All pregnant women need to be tested for HIV.|
|Syphilis||Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk or pregnant.|
|Brimming with Life|