8 Ways Women’s Bodies Can Change After 40 and What to Do About It
Despite some Silicon Valley entrepreneurs’ efforts to achieve immortality, aging still appears to be unavoidable. If you’re concerned about aging (and who isn’t), we’ve put together eight changes that usually occur to women in their 40’s. But don’t despair. There are ways you can remedy, alleviate, and even accommodate this change in life.
After age 40, your metabolism begins to slow down
Exercise and slow metabolism.
As we grow older, the efficiency with which our body produces energy is markedly decreased. Even if the routine of our daily activities does not change as we age, less of our caloric intake is burned. This causes a reduction in the energy produced, and the unburnt calories cruelly turn into fat.
The remedy is simple, but simple is not always easy. Both your diet and exercise routine must significantly change. A smaller caloric intake, coupled with an increase in regular exercise, will enable you to maintain the weight and energy levels of your younger self. Keep this up into middle age and beyond and watch longevity become your best friend.
Why is my hair falling out?
Only a small percentage of women lose enough hair to cause bald spots. But in their 40’s, most women will experience their hair thinning out a bit. Oestrogen plays a significant role in women’s hair growth. It’s not surprising that hair loss increases as the approach of menopause cause oestrogen production to decrease.
To alleviate thinning hair, you can reduce the frequency of washing your hair. Then the natural oils produced by your scalp can better condition your locks. Always use a conditioner, limit the use of styling tools that rely on applications of heat, and limit chemical treatments like colouring. To restore hair growth, Minoxidil has shown some efficacy. We know it sounds like we’re outlawing glamour; it’s a sad fact but drab is durable.
Your bladder can sometimes elude your control
Abnormal Bleeding of the Uterus: What Does It Mean?
Again, the culprit is the decrease in oestrogen production that accompanies perimenopause (the period presaging true menopause). Oestrogen loss weakens the muscles that support the bladder and the urethra. When the muscles are weakened, any abrupt clenching of the diaphragm can lead to leakage.
There are several effective remedies for incontinence. They can enable you to resume fearlessly laughing, coughing, and sneezing with gusto. Taking off a few extra pounds will alleviate pressure on the bladder and reducing your intake of alcohol and caffeinated beverages will make leaks less likely. Kegel exercises will help rebuild the weakened bladder and urethral muscles. If none of these methods provide a cure, your treating OB-GYN physician can provide medical procedures that are highly effective.
Memory loss: your brain goes AWOL
There’s got to be a good reason why you’re standing in front of the fridge, right?
Some loss of brain function between perimenopause and post-menopause is so common among women as to be almost unavoidable. One more time, it is that pesky midlife refusal of the ovaries to pump out the usual dosage of oestrogen that is the problem causer.
Women have oestrogen receptors in two brain areas that control memory, and when there’s less oestrogen, there are negative structural changes in those areas.
But there’s some good news about memory loss!
Brain exercises and menopause memory loss
Crossword puzzles and similar brain exercises can help maintain your brain function.
Just because brain fog is normal does not mean that you cannot fight it. Your brain’s operational efficiency is largely dependent on the amount of oxygen provided to it by your bloodstream.
What is good for your heart is good for your brain. This means a vigorous program of exercise, a healthy diet, and effective stress management. And work your brain. Crossword puzzles, reading difficult books, and similar brain exercises will optimally maintain your brain function, including your recollection that it was the mayonnaise you were looking for.
Also, your brain’s unplanned vacation isn’t permanent. “The brain bounces back after menopause and it adapts to lower oestrogen levels, and it compensates.
Urinary problems will increase as you get older
According to Lauren Streicher, M.D., the director of the Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, oestrogen appears to provide protection against the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. UTI’s become more common in women as perimenopause, and then menopause, shut down the ovaries’ production of oestrogen.
Most urinary tract infections can be treated quickly and easily, and fortunately, symptoms usually disappear within two days.
Often, in your 40’s, your menstrual period can become unpredictable
By the time you reach post-menopause, your periods have permanently ceased. However, from perimenopause through menopause itself, the reduction in oestrogen production can be wildly unpredictable. This can result in varying menstrual patterns; periods can be either closer together or farther apart. Some cycles will have an extremely heavy flow, and there may be months where your periods do not occur at all.
Now we have to deal with vaginal dryness as well?
Well, yes, sometimes we do. Another problem that creeps up with age is vaginal dryness. Dr. Aliabadi was recently asked about sex and vaginal dryness on The Doctors TV show. She responded, “low hormone levels begin to make the vaginal walls thin and dry. Vaginal sexual activity is especially important. It helps with stimulating blood flow to the vagina, keeping vaginal muscles toned, and helps to maintain elasticity and the length of the vagina.”
If vaginal dryness is a problem for you, try using an over the counter vaginal lubricant or talk to your health care provider for prescription relief from a vaginal hormone cream.
Loss of Oestrogen
Is hormone therapy the answer to the loss of oestrogen? If you’ve been paying attention here, you’ll notice an overarching theme. The ovaries’ reduced production of oestrogen, which begins during perimenopause and finalizes in menopause itself, is the villain in most of the above scenarios.