Aging is naturally associated with above-average risk for various illnesses. For women, the health risks can even be higher. Women who are reaching postmenopausal years should be aware of certain risks that occur because of changes to hormonal balance in the body. Here is a brief list of common health problems women in their postmenopausal years face and potential treatment options:
Osteoporosis is one of the most common diseases diagnosed in older women in Australia. Also known as the brittle bone disease, those who suffer from osteoporosis lose bone density and mass faster than those without. Symptoms of this condition include loss of height, severe back pain, and higher than usual proneness to fractures. Older women are more at risk for osteoporosis than men in the same age range because of the drop in estrogens levels in the body that occurs when women get older. Osteoporosis is a chronic condition but can be treated with medications. Early diagnosis can lead to more effective treatment.
The drop in estrogens levels as women get older could result in urinary incontinence. It’s common for the pelvic floor muscles and the muscles that line the urethra (the tube that transports urine out of the bladder) to weaken in older women, leading to incontinence. Incontinence means that the affected person has trouble holding urine. It could lead to unexpected leakages and frequent need to pee, especially at night. Therefore, it can be an embarrassing and very uncomfortable disease. Fortunately, there are many novel treatment options, such as laser urinary incontinence treatments that can help those affected.
More and more older women in Australia are getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. While diet and genetics play a role in risk for this chronic condition, hormonal changes caused by menopause also play a role. Menopause causes estrogens levels in the body to drop, which can potentially increase insulin resistance, a common risk for getting diabetes. This is why some women gain weight in their older years. It’s highly recommended that women get tested for diabetes when they are 45 or older. If you are at risk for diabetes, early diagnosis can lead to successful treatment or even prevention.
Joint pain is a common enough problem for older individuals of both genders. But women are at higher risk because lack of estrogens increases the body’s inflammatory response. Women should be particularly aware of the higher risk for inflammation of joints like the knee. This condition may require exercise and taking steroids to reduce the swelling.
Hepatitis C is a blood-borne infection caused by a virus that has a strong link to menopause. This disease can be persistent and expensive to treat. Older women should take care to avoid a possible infection, which can result from sharing needles, manicure items, acupuncture tools, and tattooing equipment. The hepatitis C virus can do more damage to the bodies of older women than younger women.
Gout is a type of arthritis. This disease is caused by high levels of uric acid in the body that form painful crystals in joints. Postmenopausal women, whose bodies produce fewer estrogens levels, are less capable of effectively excreting uric acid. Therefore, older women are advised to manage their diet carefully and avoid foods that increase the production of uric acid.
Consult your doctor immediately if you think you are at risk for any of the above-mentioned diseases.