What to Consider After Menopause
More than 50% of women are expected to live beyond the age of 84. Quality of life in old age is always a concern. Can we still feel young at the age of 84? Women are especially prone to aging in their skin, bones, blood vessels, breasts, uterus, ovaries, and urinary tract. Do you know how to slow the aging process of these organs? Focus on balanced diet and exercise:
To prevent aging, you will need to prevent osteoporosis. Assess your bone density and risk of spine and hip fractures by a bone densitometry scan. Maintain elasticity and strength of your pelvic muscles by practising pelvic floor exercises. Keep a healthy blood flow to your internal organs including the brain so that memory and cognitive function will be preserved.
- Dietary Considerations
If you would like to have your health improved and your physical and mental well-being maintained, you may want to get some advice about a healthy diet that is suitable for your age and advice on a lifestyle minimizing stress. Diets rich in anti-oxidants such as coloured vegetables and fruits are useful for anti-ageing and diets rich in calcium and vitamin D are good in preventing bone loss. Soya products act like natural female hormones and help to reduce hot flushes or sweating symptoms as you approach menopause.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is highly controversial and individualistic. The risks and benefits of HRT vary greatly between women. Consult a gynaecologist about the most updated knowledge on HRT and decide if such therapy benefits you.
An annual cervical pap smear test has been proven to reduce the chance of developing cervical cancer by approximately 93%. Pap smear may also detect cancer at a sufficiently early stage to allow a surgical cure. See a gynaecologist if you have not had a Pap smear done in the last 12 months.
Self examination of your breasts and an annual examination by a gynaecologist are useful in detecting palpable lumps. A regular mammogram is recommended for women beyond the age of 40 or for those women at high risk (previous history or family history of breast cancer or other hormone dependent cancers such as cancer of the ovaries and the uterus, or those on hormonal treatment). If you are in the risk group or beyond the age of 40, have a gynaecological checkup annually.
Bleeding after the menopause is abnormal and in around 10% of cases this is due to cancer. Uterine cancers (endometrial cancers) are often diagnosed at an early stage due to their tendency to bleed. They are treatable and often the outcome is good. Have a gynaecological checkup if your periods become heavy, irregular or restart after the menopause. Do not make the mistake of assuming this is normal for your age.
Ovarian cancers often do not have any symptoms such as bloating or pain until they are at a late stage and they can therefore carry a poor prognosis. A regular gynaecological checkup may reduce the risk of a delayed diagnosis of ovarian cancer.