How is menopause going to affect my physical life?
This depends on many factors, of course, but some women report a greater sense of freedom to enjoy physical life simply because they no longer need to worry about becoming pregnant or using birth control devices. In addition, the hormones that trigger menstruation will appear in reduced supply. This will change the hormonal balance in your body, with hormones that tend to intensify sexual desire predominating.
Although the impact of these changes varies from woman to woman, the net effect for you may be more and better sex. About a quarter of the women who go through menopause notice little variation in their physical and emotional well-being. Half notice some changes, but they aren’t of great significance. The remaining quarter may have menopausal difficulties.
The drop in the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone can cause these women to experience “hot flushes”, sweating and headaches. They may have a tendency to develop vaginal dryness and vaginal and urinary infections, and they may suffer from emotional problems such as anxiety, depression and loss of self-esteem. Fortunately, these symptoms tend to disappear as menopause progresses. And with the help of an understanding partner and family, the symptoms may be easier to deal with and will have less of an impact on your life. Your doctor may also prescribe medicines, including oestrogen and other hormones, to treat the symptoms of menopause or conditions triggered by it. But before you begin hormone therapy, you and your doctor should carefully weigh up both its benefits and risks.
Long-term use of replacement oestrogens alone may increase your chances of developing uterine cancer. On the other hand, hormone therapy may help slow down osteoporosis, or the accelerated loss of bone minerals, a problem that occurs to a serious degree in some women after menopause. Your doctor will probably want you to take progestogen tablets to protect against the oestrogen side effects. With this combination you may have regular cyclic bleeding like menstrual periods.