The time of a woman's life following menopause is called postmenopause. During this time, many of the bothersome symptoms a woman may have experienced before menopause gradually decrease. But as a result of several factors, including a lower level of oestrogen, postmenopausal women are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
Women are considered to be postmenopausal when they have not had their period for an entire year. Once you are postmenopausal, your hormone levels will remain at a constant low level, you will no longer be able to become pregnant, and you will not experience monthly menstrual cycles. You may regain your energy, but you may also be at higher risk for certain conditions. Medication and/or healthy lifestyle change may reduce the risk of some of the conditions associated with menopause.
Even if you are postmenopausal, getting regular check-ups and preventive screening tests are among the most important things you can do for yourself. There are also a number of steps women in postmenopause can take to stay healthy and feel better:
- Avoid smoking, caffeine, alcohol, excess salt, and sugar.
- Eat a balanced diet containing whole grains, cold pressed oils, leafy vegetables, and nuts to help keep your body healthy and potentially help relieve hot flashes. Soy may also ease mild hot flashes.
- Take regular supplements, including Calcium and Vitamin D, to help keep bones strong.
- Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes, and in particular, weight bearing exercise
- Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Hot flashes are probably the most common symptom of postmenopause. Tips for easing them include:
- Avoid getting too warm by dressing in layers and sleeping in a cool room.
- Avoid eating hot and spicy foods.
- Avoid alcohol, as it can trigger hot flashes.
- Reduce stress.
- Eat several servings of soy a day, after first checking with your doctor. There is some evidence that soy may relieve mild hot flashes, although the effects may take several weeks to realize.
- Vaginal lubricants and moisturisers available without a prescription can help lubricate the vagina and make sexual intercourse more comfortable in postmenopause.
- If over-the-counter treatments don't work, ask your doctor about topical oestrogen, available in creams, tablets, or in a vaginal ring.
To protect your bones and avoid osteoporosis:
- Take Calcium and Vitamin D
- Exercise regularly
- Ask your doctor if you need a test to check your bone strength.
Supplements recommended to take Post Menopause
Our body makes most of our vitamin D in reaction to sunlight on our skin. It's also found in a small number of foods including oily fish, eggs, margarine, yoghurt and fortified breakfast cereals. However, it can be difficult in to meet our vitamin D needs through sunlight and diet alone. For this reason, it is recommended that postmenopausal women take a Vitamin D supplement.
Iron is an essential mineral that has several important roles in the body, including helping to make red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body.
You should be able to get the iron you need from your daily diet as it is found in red meat, pulses and beans, eggs, wholegrain products, nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit and fortified cereals. But to boost iron absorption, it’s recommended to have plenty of vitamin C in your diet or to take a vitamin C supplement.
Calcium is an important mineral as it helps to build strong bones and teeth, regulates muscle contractions, including heartbeat, and helps blood to clot normally. Milk, cheese and yoghurt are all good sources of calcium, as well as green leafy vegetables, nuts and fish like sardines, where you eat the bones. Taking a calcium supplements is recommended for postmenopausal women to help to prevent Osteoporosis.
There are several types of vitamin B and they all have different functions within the body, including helping to break down energy from food, keeping the skin, eyes and nervous system healthy, and helping to form red blood cells.
Eating a well-balanced diet, including wholegrains and cereals, should provide all that you need. However, as women get older it becomes harder to absorb vitamin B12, which is found in meat, cod, salmon, milk, cheese, eggs and some fortified cereals. Women who are deficient are at increased risk of anaemia and neurological problems such as memory loss.
There's some evidence that postmenopausal women can have B12 deficiency. Eating fortified breakfast cereals, yeast extract and meat can help with this. Alternatively, taking a B Vitamin supplement can be beneficial to women postmenopause
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to fight disease and infections and aids healing, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables should help you to get all that you need, but taking a high-dose supplement can also be beneficial postmenopause