Once a woman reaches the transitional stages of menopause or is postmenopausal, there are more changes she’ll experience to her body besides those associated with reproductive health.
Aging health concerns will likely prompt your gynecologist to evaluate you for conditions that would have been “abnormal” procedures in your 20s and 30s. Some of these may include bone-density exams, blood pressure checks, blood tests for diabetes, cholesterol screenings and colonoscopies. Exams that are done more frequently as you age are mammograms and pap smears. It’s also important to continue with regular blood tests for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases for any woman who is sexually active.
Here are things to talk about with your OB-GYN as you age:
This is one of the most common issue that comes up for women as they age. Hormones play an integral part in overall health, from keeping joints limber to processing thoughts clearly. They help bodies recover quickly from colds and flu, keep sex drive in gear and skin wrinkle-free. As we age hormone levels can decline, causing an imbalance that affects everything from sleep patterns, to moods, energy levels, weight, memory and more. Talk to your doctor about options to deal with hormone imbalance. Read here to learn how bio-identical hormone therapy can delay (and in some cases even reverse) these symptoms.
While the risks of developing cervical cancer decrease after the age of 55, a woman’s risk for other cancers— such as ovarian, uterine, and breast— increase with age. Cancer screenings as you age may include mammograms, breast exams and continuing with an annual pap smear. Talk to your gynecologist about your personal and family medical history so that you and your doctor can determine what precautionary steps are best for you to take.
A pelvic exam should be part of a woman’s annual exam at every age. During a pelvic exam your doctor will check for any signs of illness related to a female’s makeup including her vulva, uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder and rectum.
Many women experience vaginal discomfort as they age. In fact, 50% of postmenopausal women experience symptoms including dryness, itching, burning, bladder infections or pain during intercourse. If you’re one of the many women suffering from vaginal discomfort, talk to your doctor about your treatment options. A popular treatment with high success rates is MonaLisa Touch™, a painless and minimally invasive laser treatment for vaginal health.
STD Education and Screening:
Many women are sexually active in their senior years, and may begin new sexual relationships after getting divorced or being widowed. Staying educated about best sexual health practices, precautions and getting screened for STDs should remain a part of every woman’s annual gynecological exam.
If you’re tired of being told that your complaints of low sex drive, fatigue, brain fog, weight gain and moodiness are just part of the aging process, it’s time to find a new approach to aging well. Talk to your doctor or contact us to find out how!