During post menopause, when a woman has been without a period for at least 12 months, she may experience vaginal spotting or bleeding. This can be quite disconcerting for a woman who assumes that she is done with her period, and then her body seems to be telling her something different. This vaginal bleeding is usually linked to hormonal imbalances in the body, as well as changes in the lining of the uterus or the vagina. A post-menopausal woman who experiences vaginal bleeding should seek medical attention immediately so as to rule out any critical health issues that may need urgent treatment.
Vaginal Dryness and Itching
Lower estrogen levels in a woman’s body during the post-menopausal period sometimes result in vaginal dryness and itching. This postmenopause symptom can range in severity from mild to serious dryness and itching causing discomfort and sometimes pain. The lower estrogen levels in the body affect the thickness of the vaginal lining and its moistness and elasticity. This wall becomes less elastic, dry and thin, leading to the itchy and dry feeling. This postmenopause symptom can also make intercourse painful and uncomfortable for women.
Vaginal discharge is a normal occurrence during the child-bearing years because it is regulated by the hormonal levels at different stages of the menstrual cycle. In the post-menopausal period, however, vaginal discharge is a symptom of an infection or inflammation in the vagina. This is caused by lower levels of estrogen which lead to dry and weaker vaginal tissues that are prone to infection. This vaginal dryness may lead to tiny cuts in the vaginal wall, which results in a slightly blood-discolored vaginal discharge. This discharge may also have a bad smell in certain cases.
Post menopause weight gain can occur in some women. This weight gain is usually not proportionally distributed all over the body, but concentrated around the waistline or the belly area. Even with a change in diet and a regular exercise program, it may still be difficult to lose* all the weight. This condition is known as weight loss* resistance and is brought about by the imbalances in the body’s systems. These imbalances from hormones and adrenaline cause the body to cling to extra weight that it does not need. Metabolism may also slow down significantly during post menopause, which leads to weight gain.
Post-Menopause Mood Swings
Lower estrogen and progesterone levels are usually responsible for mood swings during the post menopause period. Women become even more irritable and easily upset, with less instances that make them happy. Other factors can also contribute to the severity of these mood swings. These are discussed in the post menopause depression section below.
Stress incontinence is a postmenopause symptom that results in a urine leak because of stress placed on the walls of the bladder. Any kind of pressure or stress placed on the bladder can lead to this leak, including coughing, exercising, sneezing, laughing or bending over. As a woman gets older, her pelvic muscles start to weaken, which also leads to a weakening of the walls located between the vagina and the bladder. Alternative medications and lifestyle changes can treat* this embarrassing postmenopause symptom.
Urinary Tract Infections
In the post menopause period, women are at an increased risk of getting urinary tract infections. During their child bearing years, women are at a greater risk than men of contracting these infections anyway, because of the physical makeup and the position of the bladder in their bodies. After menopause, this risk is significantly increased because of the lower estrogen levels. Lower hormonal levels mean lower levels of beneficial bacteria in the vaginal area. These beneficial bacteria normally work to keep harmful bacteria at bay. Post-menopausal women are also at greater risk of contracting urinary tract infections because it is possible that their bladders do not completely empty when passing urine. The bladder also becomes less elastic as a woman ages.
Major depression can be a symptom that affects women in post menopause. Research studies have shown, however, that this depression comes about as a result of a combination of events, not necessarily just menopause. Women during this period in their lives have lower hormonal levels, which can affect their emotional well-being or their ability to handle stressful situations. This post menopause period is also the time when children leave home and a woman has to adjust to an empty nest after spending the better part of her adult life taking care of children. In some cases, women are also close to retirement, and may be dealing with divorce or the loss of a spouse to death. Hence, post menopause depression can be attributed to a combination of issues.
The gradual reduction* of hormonal production in a woman’s body during and after menopause is believed to be responsible for insomnia. A woman will either fail to fall asleep, or wakes up in the middle of the night and cannot go back to sleep for a few hours. This insomnia is influenced by lower levels of estrogen and progesterone, which has a natural calming effect on the body’s nervous system. A woman in the post menopause period also has lower levels of the hormone melatonin, which tells the body when it is time to sleep.
Hot flashes during the post menopause period are less severe and less frequent than during the perimenopause and menopause stages. Women may still experience intense heat, flushed skin and sweating or heart palpitations, but there will be a noticeable drop in their severity. By the post menopause period, hot flashes have become common place for a woman, and the drop in frequency and severity is usually a welcome relief.
A post-menopausal woman is one who has gone for 12 months without a menstrual period because of menopause. In some cases, women who have had their ovaries surgically removed are also considered post-menopausal. Post menopause is usually a natural transition that comes after menopause. It may be accompanied by symptoms of varying degrees in severity. Research studies indicate that post-menopausal women experience a gigantic range of symptoms, diseases and quality of health as a direct result of the end of menopause and the associated changes in the body. These symptoms may also be brought about by a woman’s diet, health habits and exercise routine, as well as her environment and genes.