Anti aging guide

Menopause and Old Age



What is menopause and how it affects women in old age.

This is the second and most interesting stage of life. In a woman the menstrual flow stops and the woman becomes infertile, due to a failure of the ovaries to produce sufficient quantities of oestrogen and progesterone. This usually happens at around 45-50 years of age. There is considerable debate as to whether men go through a similar process called the `andropause’, which is essentially the male menopause, when there is a similar decrease of the male hormones.

Whatever the case, the symptoms of this stage of life are much more obvious in women. Lack of oestrogen causes an increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease, as well as symptoms such as:

  • hot flushes
  • cold sweats
  • dry vagina
  • nervousness, tiredness or depression
  • headache
  • difficulty in sleeping

All of the above symptoms may last anything from a few months to several years, but they are not always present and many women sail through the menopause without too much trouble. If a woman wants to avoid experiencing the symptoms of the menopause she has the choice of different HRT (hormone replacement therapy) treatments.

Some women mistakenly believe that the menopause signals the end of their femininity and the beginning of old age. In fact, being feminine does not depend on whether a woman can bear children or not or whether she has a menstrual period. Most women who have had a hysterectomy (ie, stopped having periods and can’t have children) feel that they become even more feminine than before for one reason or another. Optimists see the menopause as the beginning of a long period of enjoyment which may last for another 40 or 50 years.

Researchers from the University of Plymouth showed that many women in their sixties reported feeling better than they did in their forties. After the menopause, their quality of life improved and they had a better sense of well-being.

There are, however, medical problems associated with the menopause and these need to be sorted out. A common problem is urogenital aging, the menopause-related changes affecting the vagina and bladder. After the menopause, the likelihood of urinary incontinence, bladder infection and loss of libido increases. A study of 2,000 British women between the ages of 55 and 85 found that about half of them reported having been affected by these symptoms. Most of them chose to suffer in silence, being too embarrassed to seek advice from their doctor. Others were completely unaware that suitable treatment existed.

Treatment of urogenital aging is usually with HRT or other treatments which are aimed at balancing the oestrogen in the body. These are described below.

Two other medical problems associated with the menopause are muscle pains and weight gain:

  1. The loss of collagen which happens after the menopause can cause muscle pains, a condition called ‘menopausal myalgia’. This is easily improved after treatment with HRT (either conventional or natural) lasting from 6 to 12 months.
  2. Some women may find that they put on excess weight during the menopause and this is due to the hormonal changes. This may be normal and natural up to a point. Oestrogen is stored inside fatty cells and this may be nature’s way of preserving the hormones for a time of need. Women who put on a bit of weight during the menopause shouldn’t despair but should understand that they are carrying their own supply of HRT inside their fatty cells.
Posted by Carol Hudgens - March 24, 2012 at 8:16 am