Healthy living after the menopause

Healthy living after the menopause

As you move into post-menopause, it’s as important as ever to look after your physical and mental health. Our guide has some helpful tips for ensuring you stay happy and healthy throughout this next phase of your life.

Kick your bad habits

If you smoke, it’s not too late to give up. Stopping smoking at any age improves your breathing and reduces your risk of heart or lung disease and cancer. It can also help you recover more quickly from an operation – and can save you money!

Drink coffee and alcohol in moderation. It’s fine to enjoy the occasional cup of coffee or glass of wine but alcohol can exacerbate symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings and insomnia, so it’s best to keep an eye on your intake.

Reduce your salt and sugar intake, especially if you have high blood pressure or are diabetic.

Don’t spend too long in the sun and remember your sunscreen and sunglasses; ageing skin can become thin and dry out more quickly, especially around the eyes, so make sure you stay safe during the summer months.

Avoid stress

Post-menopause can be a stressful time as your body experiences change yet again, but you don’t have to let it affect your mental health.

If you’re retired, why not take up a pastime or join a local club to meet like-minded people?

If you’re still working, make sure you take time for yourself and – if you need it – don’t be afraid to ask your employer for help and support.

Eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated

Eat plenty of wholegrains, cold pressed oils, green leafy vegetables and nuts to keep your body healthy and avoid gaining weight.

Calcium and vitamin D help keep your bones strong and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition which weakens bones – making them fragile and more likely to break – and the likelihood of developing it can increase post-menopause.

Ensure you drink plenty of water to keep your skin healthy and avoid constipation or urinary tract infections (UTIs) which are common for women during and after the menopause as oestrogen levels change.

Look after your heart

The risk of heart disease increases as we age, so it’s important to protect your heart:

  • Reduce foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly. If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to keep levels normal, talk to your GP about prescription medication

Exercise regularly

You should do at least 30 minutes exercise per day, preferably weight bearing or resistance work, to reduce the chances of developing osteoporosis and keep your mind healthy. Yoga and tai chi are also excellent for helping you to stay strong and flexible.

But exercise doesn’t just mean walking or cycling. Urinary incontinence is common post-menopause, so it’s important to regularly practice pelvic floor muscle exercises.

Pelvic floor exercises shouldn’t be painful so if you are experiencing pain or discomfort, it’s likely that you’re not performing them correctly. If you need advice, our experts in continence care are happy to help.

Get plenty of sleep

Some women notice that their quality of sleep declines in the years after the menopause and you may even experience bouts of insomnia.

A good night’s sleep can boost your mental and physical health, so it’s important to notice any changes in your sleep patterns. If you’re struggling, you should see your GP, or you can read our guide to getting a good night’s sleep.

Don’t let your sex life suffer

Being post-menopause doesn’t mean you can’t still have an active sex life. Knowing that you can’t get pregnant may be a relief, but if you’re having unprotected sex there’s a risk you can catch a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Make sure you continue to practice safe sex to reduce your chances of catching an STI.

If you find that you’re still suffering with vaginal pain, including dryness or atrophy, vaginal lubricants can help. If this doesn’t work, we offer a range of gynaecological treatments such as MonaLisa Touch® or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

If your libido has been affected post-menopause, the NHS website has some helpful advice.

Keep up with routine screenings

Don’t forget to continue your monthly breast examinations and attend mammogram appointments and cervical screenings even if you’ve had a hysterectomy.

Supporting your health at Benenden Hospital

It’s important not to suffer in silence during post-menopause. We’re experts at treating women’s health concerns and offer a range of private gynaecology services, including help for female continence issues, in a comfortable, discreet and reassuring environment in the heart of the Wealden countryside.

Contact our Private Patient team in confidence today by completing our online form or by calling 01580 363158.

Published on 23 June 2022