One part of life that all aging women have in common is going through menopause. Women who haven't had their menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months are probably experiencing menopause. On average, women are 51 years old when they enter the stage of life that puts an end to their ability to conceive a baby.
Whether women welcome this stage of life or dread it, there are some health conditions women should be aware of when going through menopause. Here are three of them.
Even women who have never been heavy drinkers can get liver disease when they hit menopause. This can be due to declining amounts of estrogen, which helps to protect the liver from the negative effects of drinking alcohol and eating fatty foods. Some of the most common symptoms associated with liver disease include:
- Weight loss
- Jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin)
Medical professionals can use certain diagnostic tests such as abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, and liver biopsy to diagnose liver disease.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, there are 10 million people in the United States who have osteoporosis, a condition where the bones are brittle and can fracture easily. Of those 10 million Americans, 80% of them are women. Besides having smaller bones than men, the other reason for this is that estrogen, which is a hormone that helps to protect the bones, decreases when a woman reaches menopause.
Unfortunately, osteoporosis is a condition that often gets detected when it's too late. Bone fractures, as well as a vertebral fracture, are common with this condition. The best thing women can do to help diagnose osteoporosis is to conduct a bone density screening. They may also want to take a calcium supplement and do weight-bearing exercises to help strengthen the bones.
Bones aren't the only part of the body that are affected by reduced amounts of estrogen in a woman's body during menopause. The teeth and gums can also be affected. Besides having problems with their teeth, women can also experience periodontal disease during menopause.
Commonly referred to as gum disease, this condition is a type of infection that affects the gums, which is the tissue that holds teeth in place. Menopausal women should be aware of these common symptoms of gum disease:
- Swollen or receding gums
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
As women get closer to menopause, they will want to pay even more attention to good oral habits.