A primary part of being a certified-nurse midwife is caring for women throughout all stages of their lives. At City of Oaks Midwifery, our well women care includes menopause management. While there’s widespread information on perimenopause and tips on menopause symptom management available, life after menopause is not discussed enough.
Life after menopause is also referred to as postmenopause, the time period after a woman has gone for longer than a year without her menstrual period. It’s a significant life change that can affect your health, hormones, activity, and emotions. Learn more about what to expect and how to navigate life postmenopause.
Menopause is a natural part of every woman’s life; it signifies aging and entering a new cycle of life. There are three stages of menopause. Perimenopause is the first stage that occurs before you transition into menopause. This stage can start up to a few years before menopause actually begins. The next stage is menopause. Menopause is when you stop having a menstrual cycle and can no longer get pregnant. Lastly, postmenopause, or life after menopause, is the years that follow without a menstrual cycle.
With each stage comes different symptoms and ways to navigate them. Each woman’s experience going through menopause can vary, which is why it’s helpful to have a certified-nurse midwife to turn to for questions. The perimenopause phase typically begins when women are in their mid-late 40s, and the average age for menopause is around 52. Whether you’re approaching menopause or are entering postmenopause, you can never be too prepared on what to expect.
What to Expect in Life After Menopause
When entering life after menopause, you may feel like the adult life you knew before has vanished. Postmenopause can be a scary yet exciting time. Your body will remain in this stage for the rest of your life, so it’s important to acclimate.
The most significant life change after menopause is no longer having a menstrual period or the ability to reproduce. This is great news for you if you previously used a form of birth control or experienced severe period symptoms. If you are in a monogamous relationship, you and your partner can choose to have sex unprotected. However, postmenopause does not affect your ability to get sexually transmitted infections. Therefore, if you have multiple sexual partners, it’s best to use a condom still.
After going through menopause, there’s a chance that some of the same symptoms will linger into postmenopause. Although these symptoms are not exclusive to life after menopause, you’ll likely experience these postmenopause symptoms as your body and hormones change:
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Change in sex drive
- Sleep loss
- Dry skin
- Weight changes
- Hair loss
- Urinary incontinence
You should consult a doctor immediately if you’re still experiencing vaginal bleeding after menopause. Bleeding in postmenopause could be a sign of a serious health problem. Also, because your ovaries are now producing less estrogen, this change in hormone levels can increase your chances of certain illnesses, like osteoporosis, heart disease, and a stroke.
Talk to a Midwife
Our responsibilities as midwives don’t end after pregnancy or when you lose your menstrual cycle. Being a certified nurse-midwife means we are here to guide you through the phases of menopause. If you have further questions regarding life after menopause, contact us at (919)351-8253 to make an appointment with one of our certified nurse-midwives.