Health Tips for the Aging Woman
After reaching a certain age, women will experience menopause and many
other changes throughout the body. While the transitional age for these
hormonal and physical changes can vary from woman to woman, there are
similarities that every woman can expect later in life. Here is what you
should know to help you live happily and healthily throughout your senior years.
Menopause and Hormonal Changes
Menopause is the point in a woman’s life where menstrual periods
stop permanently. Menopause is confirmed when a woman has not had a period
for 12 consecutive months. Women will most likely experience menopause
around aged 50; however, some women can experience early menopause in
their 30s, or even later menopause in their 60s.
Signs and Symptoms
During the transitional period of perimenopause, the stage before menopause,
your ovaries’ production of estrogen and progesterone constantly
changes. This irregular change in hormone levels can happen at random,
which typically causes widely known menopausal symptoms.
Although every woman can experience menopause and perimenopause differently,
there are a few common symptoms that come along with this transition.
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Dry skin and hair
- Hair loss
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain or soreness during intercourse
- Reduced sex drive
While many women do not need to seek treatment for their uncomfortable
symptoms, you can consult your doctor to help you determine the best ways
to manage any discomfort.
Continuing Gynecological Visits
Although menopause marks the end of your fertility, you can still benefit
from having your annual well-woman visit with your OB/GYN.
Because healthy women aged 65 and older no longer need cervical cancer
screenings, many women believe that they do not need to see their gynecologist.
Although the risk for cervical cancer decreases, your risk for various
other cancers increases with age, including::
There is no surefire way to screen for all gynecological cancers. However,
some of the most commonly performed screening tests include:
- Rectovaginal pelvic exams
- Transvaginal ultrasounds
- CA-125 blood test
Pelvic exams are still important for maintaining your gynecological health
as an older woman. These exams are performed to check the outside of the
vagina, the vagina and the cervix for signs of disease or infection.
Many women continue to be sexually active into their later years, so there
still is a need for them to see their gynecologist. Regardless of your
lifestyle, if you are introducing new sexual partners into your life,
it is necessary to have regular testing done to check for sexually transmitted
diseases and infections.
Mental Health as You Age
Although there are a multitude of physical changes that happen to the body
later in life, older women also can experience a
negative impact on their emotional well-being. as well.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Depression is the most prevalent mental health issue that older adults experience.
This mental health issue is associated not only with negative thoughts
and feelings but also with physical health issues that can result from,
or be made worse by, increased levels of stress.
Although depression can affect people differently, it is important to recognize
the common signs and symptoms that may suggest that your mental health
is suffering. These include:
- Feeling helpless
- Feeling as though something bad is going to happen
- Loss of interest in things you previously enjoyed
- Weight changes
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Trouble concentrating
- Loss of energy
- Unexplained aches and pains
Tips for Mental Health Wellness
As people get older, they have a tendency to isolate themselves and feel
alone. Rather than withdrawing from your daily routine, try to incorporate
some of these
tips to boost your mood:
- Try mindfulness or meditation
- Spend time with loved ones
- Vent about your feelings to someone you trust
- Avoid self-criticism
- Try journaling each day
- Get seven to nine hours of sleep each night
- Get regular exercise
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco and other drugs
If following positive coping mechanisms on your own doesn’t seem
to be helping, it is important to seek help. Talking to a mental health
professional is not a sign of weakness but the first step toward mental
health and wellness.
Staying Active as You Get Older
Getting regular exercise later in life can not only help you feel healthier
but also make you feel younger. Here's why you should keep moving
on into your golden years.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Like all your other muscles, your heart needs regular exercise to help
it function properly and efficiently. When your heart is in top condition,
it is able to deliver blood to various parts of your body with ease.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle is one of the top preventable risk factors
for developing cardiovascular disease. Staying physically active helps to
lower the risk of developing heart disease in the following ways:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers HDL (bad cholesterol) level
- Improves circulation
- Maintains hormonal balance
Reduced Risk of Osteoporosis
women’s bone density starts to decline because your body begins to reabsorb the calcium and phosphorus in your
bones to use in other parts of the body. When too much bone is lost,
osteoporosis develops—leaving you more susceptible to orthopedic injury.
Similar to muscles, bones respond to exercise by becoming more durable
and resilient. Weight-bearing exercises and resistance exercises are the
best to help build up bone density.
Reduced Aches and Pains
Staying physically active also can help to reduce and even reverse the
effects of persistent pain. By gradually introducing exercise into your
routine, you can effectively reduce various sources of orthopedic pain.
Recommended Physical Activity
It is advised that older adults aim for about
two hours and 30 minutes each week of moderate-intensity exercise. If you weren’t previously active,
you can start gradually and work up to introducing longer durations of
exercise into your weekly routine over time.
moderate-intensity exercises you can incorporate into your fitness routine include:
- Climbing stairs
Women’s Health Services in Northeast Ohio
At Southwest General Medical Group, Inc., we are proud to offer comprehensive
and compassionate women's health care services for women through all
stages of life. To learn more about our women’s health services
or schedule an appointment,
visit our website or call 440-816-5050.