In addition to the symptoms that indicate menopause , especially hot flashes and mood swings, there are medium and long-term manifestations that can develop or be favored by hormonal changes.
Dysfunctions of the urinary tract
Urinary problems are not a necessary condition of age, but they can be greatly favored by the aging process.
With age, the body loses muscle strength, including the pelvic musculature, responsible for controlling urine. Along with this, the reduction of estrogen can favor the relaxation of tone.
In addition to the impacts on routine, urinary incontinence has a great social impact on the woman’s life, as there is usually a compromise in daily activities and the patient tends to avoid many chores, including social life.
Atrophy of the genital mucous membranes
The drop in estrogen can favor a series of changes in the woman’s intimate health, since most of them present some degree of narrowing, decreased lubrication and fragility of the tissue, mainly impacting sexuality.
Some symptoms such as dysuria (burning when peeing), urethral syndrome, urinary incontinence, urinary infections, pain and difficulties when peeing can occur and worsen over time.
Changes in cholesterol and lipid metabolism
The reduction in the hormone estrogen can also affect the metabolism of cholesterol and triglycerides, resulting in greater risks of elevating bad cholesterol (LDL) and decreasing good cholesterol (HDL).
This condition can result in favoring atherosclerosis (accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries), myocardial infarction, stroke and dyslipidemia (elevation of blood lipids), for example. With the reduction in estrogen rates, the risks are high especially in women with early menopause.
In addition, with the hormonal drop, changes in the rates of elements involved in the coagulation processes (hemostasis) may occur, resulting in greater chances of thromboembolism, especially in climacteric.
Bone structure can be affected by hormonal changes, as both testosterone and estrogen participate in the maturation of bone tissue.
Studies show that the female hormone can act in the repair of bone structure and, therefore, in menopause, bones can suffer from degeneration, weakening and osteoporosis .
On average, there is a decrease in bone mass of 2% to 5% per year in the first 5 years of menopause and, in the following years, from 0.5% to 1% per year.
Several studies seek to investigate the correlation between menopause and depression , but the data are often conflicting.
Some point out that there are higher rates of depressive disorders before menopause, but that the index tends to decrease after 1 year of the last menstruation, that is, at the end of the climacteric.
While others indicate that after menopause, especially with advancing age, depression rates tend to remain high.
There are specialists who point out one of the possible causes for the variation of the data being the social impact on the female aging assumes in different places.
As the studies are, in general, done with different communities, the cultural and regional weight can be determinant in the rates of psychological problems.
As menopause marks the end of reproductive age, it can have a high impact on her personal life and social acceptability.
In addition, age brings physiological changes and can have implications for personal, financial and emotional independence. Thus, combined with hormonal changes, the value that menopause acquires in each society or family center can lead to greater emotional and psychological disorders.
In addition to cholesterol levels, decreases in estrogen production, associated with other factors (such as weight gain or dietary changes), may favor diabetes and elevated blood pressure.
It is still quite common to associate the reduction of sexual activity with menopause, but there are experts – including the Ministry of Health – who indicate that the biggest determinant to keep women away from healthy sexual life is taboo and prejudice.
In general, the hormonal drop can affect libido, desire and the stimulus response. But it is still the misinformation and social burden on female sexuality and old age that most incapacitates women to maintain a sexually active life.
Find out more about menopause:
- Understand what early menopause is and when it happens
- Find out what menopause is and understand its phases
- What are the signs and symptoms of menopause? Learn how to recognize
- Know the tests used in the diagnosis of menopause
- Menopause treatment: hormone therapy and alternative measures
- Food in menopause: what to eat and what to avoid in the diet?
- Natural remedies to ease menopausal symptoms
- Remedies for menopause and risks of hormone replacement
- How to live with menopause and deal with symptoms
- 12 questions and answers about menopause and climacteric
- Sex in menopause: 5 tips to combat libido reduction
- Phases of menopause: pre, peri (climacteric) and post
- Causes of menopause: why can it be premature?