How Your Body Changes During Menopause?December 21, 2021
As women, we are no strangers to facing changes to our bodies at different stages of our lives. Some of these changes are very welcome, others not so much. Our bodies are capable of incredible things, from achieving great sporting accolades, to growing and feeding another human being. Whatever we choose to use our bodies for, one thing is certain for all of us – change is inevitably around the corner.
From birth to puberty, pregnancy, the menopause and beyond, our bodies go through an incredible journey. Here, we look at some of the more noticeable changes that we may encounter along the way, particularly those associated with the onset of the menopause.
There are well over 30 symptoms associated with the menopause, from the well-known hot flashes to the more unusual reactions, such as burning mouth syndrome. None of them are particularly desirable, but there are ways to minimise the severity of these changes and find ways to cope with them too.
As we approach the menopause our metabolism begins to slow down. At this stage in their lives many women also find that they are less physically active. This, in turn, can lead to unwanted weight gain. There is also a tendency for weight and fat distribution around the body to change, altering the overall body shape from that of ‘pear’ to ‘apple.’ It’s important throughout life to do our best to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime, but this becomes crucial as we approach the menopause. At this stage in our lives any weight gain, particularly around the stomach area, can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Between puberty and around the age of 30 years our bones continue to gain density, helping to support a strong and healthy system. Then, from around 35 years our bone density begins to drop. It’s vital that we try to maintain as much strength from our muscular structure as possible, to combat potential weaknesses that develop in our bones. Weight bearing exercise is a great way to support our system, as is walking and strength training. Not only are these excellent ways to keep the body in top condition, but the mind will also benefit greatly from this approach too. This is particularly important during the perimenopause and menopause phase of life. Our mental wellbeing is just as important as our physical condition.
It goes without saying that a healthy heart is so important for the overall condition of our entire system. The levels of oestrogen in our bodies help to maintain cholesterol. As levels of ‘good’ cholesterol decline then heart disease rates begin to increase. We tend to be less active as we get older, so trying to maintain a good level of fitness should be something we factor into our routine. Following a healthy lifestyle really is vital if you want to keep your heart, and the rest of your body in optimum condition.
Women are used to recognising changes in the breast area. These changes begin at puberty as our bodies slowly adapt to the surges in hormones. Slow, but regular changes occur for the next few years. Alongside these ongoing changes there are also the short term, monthly fluctuations to contend with. Although these come and go, they are regular, and women get to know the normal changes to expect from month to month. Pregnancy and breast feeding bring about further changes to the breast area. As the milk duct system grows in order to produce milk to feed the baby, the breasts will swell as they fill with milk, and then reduce in size as the baby feeds. Later in life, when a woman enters the menopause phase, changes can be expected once again. As oestrogen levels begin to fall, the breasts become less full and less elastic. This can lead to a sagging appearance that leaves many women experiencing lower self-confidence. This is one of the reasons that cosmetic breast surgery (uplift, enlargements, etc) have grown so much in popularity over the years. This type of surgery is now accessible to so many women, thanks to such a wide selection of clinics and flexible payment options. Enhance Medical Group is one of those clinics, with an enviable reputation for providing a range of cosmetic procedures, carried out by world-class, expert surgeons.
We don’t tend to think about the health of our skin when we are young, but as we age, we notice changes that we don’t necessarily want to see! During the menopause, around the age of around 50 years, our skin becomes much drier and less elastic. This makes those dreaded wrinkles more noticeable, so we want to do as much as we can to reduce their appearance. Getting enough sleep, staying hydrated and well nourished, are really important, and protecting yourself from the sun is absolutely essential if you want to maintain healthy skin.
Unfortunately, your luscious locks don’t escape the menopause! You might not mind about the change in colour – certainly grey is no longer associated with old age, it’s more of a fashion statement, but other changes may not be so welcome. As the menopause takes hold our hair grows more slowly, so when we lose hair (this is natural) it is not replaced as quickly. This results in a thinning appearance, which many women want to reverse. Specialist shampoos and a healthy diet will help, and it’s best to avoid harsh chemicals and very high temperature styling tools.
All in all, it doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? But we are in the enviable position these days of having plenty of options available when it comes to slowing the process and dealing with the symptoms of ageing and the menopause. There is plenty of support out there, whether you favour medical or cosmetic intervention or prefer to take a more holistic approach. The trick is to find what works for you. There is no right or wrong here, be confident in your ability to understand your individual requirements and go with your instincts.