Postmenopause Signs, Symptoms and Treatments (Everything You Need to Know)

Postmenopause is the point at which the menopause comes to an end. It is a totally normal part of a woman’s life and is the natural progression the body goes through once the major biological changes of the menopause are over. 
During the postmenopause, the main symptoms of the tend to ease off, however this new phase can sometimes cause several new health concerns. It’s important for women to be aware of these issues, so we’re going to take a look at them below in a little more detail, as well as the link between postmenopause and urinary . 

What is Postmenopause?

Postmenopause is the name used to describe the period after the has ended. The postmenopause officially starts when more than 12 months without a menstrual period has passed. This means that the reproductive period of a woman’s life is over, as it is no longer possible for a postmenopausal woman to ovulate. 

For some people, the main symptoms associated with menopause tend to ease off, however some women can still suffer from menopause symptoms for several years even once the postmenopause period has started.  

How Long Does Postmenopause Last?

Women who have entered the postmenopause period will remain in this stage for the rest of their lives. This means that the postmenopause often lasts for decades, and that the health concerns associated with this period can be lasting. 

Postmenopause Symptoms Explained

For many people, postmenopause symptoms are very similar to the symptoms experienced during the . However they may be less intense, sometimes with some or all of the symptoms disappearing altogether. 

Some of the symptoms you may feel during postmenopause include: 

Women may suffer with some or all of these symptoms, and to varying degrees. If your symptoms become more intense however, or are interfering with your quality of life, seek guidance from your doctor. 

What Are the Health Risks Associated with Postmenopause?

The body goes through significant changes during the , particularly hormonal changes. Hormones play a very important role in our bodily functions, and changes to them can have knock on health effects. Postmenopause can raise certain health risks, including the following.  

Cardiovascular Disease

Risk of cardiovascular disease increases during the postmenopause and there are a few reasons for this. One of the main reasons is that oestrogen helps protect against diseases such as heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, and during the postmenopause women’s oestrogen levels are much lower. It’s also common for people to become less active during postmenopause, which can also increase the risk of heart disease. 

Postmenopausal Osteoporosis

After the menopause bone density can decrease dramatically, due to the lower levels of oestrogen in the body. Some women can lose up to 2 percent bone density per year, meaning as much as 25% bone density can be lost during the postmenopause. This increases the risk of osteoporosis, fractures, and breaks. 

Vaginal Atrophy

Lower levels of oestrogen can also lead to the tissues of the vagina thinning, which can make the vagina feel dry. This dryness can persist for years, however using lubricants can help, especially during sex. Lower oestrogen can also affect the urinary tract and bladder, making it more difficult to urinate. 

Mental Health Issues

Postmenopause can lead to various mental health concerns, from insomnia to anxiety and depression. This can be caused by changes to hormones as well as sadness due to the reproductive years being over. Speak to a therapist or your doctor should these mental health issues prove difficult or get worse. 

What Happens to Hormones During Postmenopause?

For most women who enter the postmenopause, hormonal activity can remain low as the body is producing very little oestrogen and progesterone. This can have various effects on physical and mental health, many of them similar to the effects of the menopause. 

Causes of Postmenopausal Bleeding

Vaginal bleeding isn’t a typical side effect of the postmenopause or decreasing hormones. In some cases, light bleeding or spotting after can be the result of dryness in the vagina after sex.  

However, bleeding after menopause could also be a sign of various other health conditions such as endometrial hyperplasia, uterine fibroids, endometritis or even cancer. If you experience and vaginal bleeding during the postmenopause it’s important to seek advice from your doctor in order to evaluate these potential issues.  

Do Hot Flashes Stop During Postmenopause?

Unfortunately, some women continue to suffer from random hot flashes during postmenopause due to the decreased levels of oestrogen in the body. These can continue to affect women for years after the menopause has concluded.  

If you feel like your hot flashes are intensifying or getting worse during your postmenopause, seek advice from your doctor. 

Postmenopause Treatments

The first thing to understand is that postmenopause is natural and every woman goes through it, although people can have slightly different experiences. 

One of the latest and most popular treatments for postmenopause is hormone therapy, but this is generally only recommended for a short period for people under 60 years of age. There are also health risks that come with hormone therapy, and some doctors don’t recommend it if you have certain health issues or after the postmenopause has started. 

Staying active and eating a balanced diet can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular risks. Eating calcium rich foods, getting enough vitamin D, and doing resistance training can help with bone density and can reduce the risk osteoporosis.  

Vaginal creams and lubricants can help with vaginal dryness. 

For mental health issues during postmenopause, seek advice from your doctor, or consider counselling to help manage these issues. 

You can find more advice on preparing for the menopause here, as well as how to manage incontinence during the menopause.