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Health Issues After Menopause

Health Issues After Menopause

In some ways, life after menopause differs from the years before. One obvious change is that you won't have to manage menstrual periods anymore. 

Less obvious: Some health risks can rise for women, partly due to the lower levels of estrogen hormones that exist after menopause. Health risks to watch for include: 

Heart disease. Before menopause, women generally have a lower risk of heart disease than men do. After menopause, as the protective effect of estrogen (which may help keep coronary arteries healthy) declines, a woman's risk of heart disease starts to climb to a level like that of men. 

Stroke. A woman's risk of stroke rises sharply around the time of menopause. Lower estrogen levels may play a role here also. 

Osteoporosis. Bone loss accelerates after menopause. That puts women at greater risk of osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease that makes people more prone to fractures. 

Lead poisoning. The lead that builds up in everyone's bones over a lifetime may be released into your bloodstream more readily, due to the rapid breakdown of bone after menopause. Higher lead levels in the blood can contribute to health issues, such as high blood pressure and memory problems. 

Unwanted weight. Metabolism (the rate at which the body burns calories) slows down as we age. That's one reason many postmenopausal women gain weight that may put their health at risk. 

Urinary incontinence. Accidental leakage affects about half of postmenopausal women. Low estrogen levels may play a role here too. At Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women, we have a team of gynecologists that are specially trained in addressing pelvic floor issues.  

Some of your best years are yet to come 

It's never too early or too late to focus on staying healthy. For example, do your best to exercise regularly (brisk walks can help!), follow a balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight and avoid smoking. 

Ask your doctor if you should take supplements, like bone-healthy calcium and vitamin D. Get checkups and recommended screenings, too, including blood tests and screenings for osteoporosis and breast, cervical and colorectal cancers. 

Speak up 

Do you have any concerns about your health? Are you experiencing hot flashes or other discomforts? Ask your primary care provider what you can do. 

If you are looking for a primary care provider or gynecologist, we have the providers for you. Visit to browse our list of primary care and specialty care providers. 

Sources: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry; American Heart Association; Endocrine Society; Office on Women's Health