Although every woman experiences the journey to and through midlife differently, some women may encounter unexpected — and unwelcome — health issues as they approach menopause.
The following are some common problems, along with tips about how to meet them head on and which type of specialist can help:
Progesterone seems to have a calming effect on the airways, so when it decreases in midlife, asthma symptoms can get worse.
In fact, 20 to 30 percent of women experience worsening asthma symptoms during the perimenopausal years (the time leading up to menopause when you begin noticing menopause-related changes and the year after menopause, or when you haven’t had a period for 12 months in a row).
Although sometimes a signal of irritable bowel syndrome or another gastrointestinal condition, constipation is usually the result of a more sedentary lifestyle and paying less attention to diet as we get older.
Do you feel as if your heart is going to jump out of your chest? For perimenopausal women, the constant fluctuation of hormone levels can cause the heart to try to adjust by beating faster or slower, resulting in palpitations and hot flashes.
Perimenopausal women ovulate earlier in their cycle, which can result in unplanned pregnancies.
Most women begin to experience a significant decrease in fertility around the age of 37. At age 40, a woman’s risk of a miscarriage doubles (from 25 to 50 percent) and the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus increases. And by age 45, most women no longer have abundant and/or healthy eggs, making conception far more challenging.
If you’re approaching or are in your 40s and want to have a baby, see your ob/gyn or a reproductive specialist to have your ovarian function checked. If you’re not ovulating or if your hormone levels are off, you can discuss whether fertility treatments may be right for you.
Crusty sinuses can also occur as women get older, which makes older women more susceptible to sinus infections.
You can also try using a neti pot, a small pot used to irrigate — or flush out — the nasal passages. Made from clay, glass, various metals, plastic or ceramics, the neti pot used with a saline solution (a mixture of around one pint of water with a teaspoon of salt) has been shown to be an effective short-term or occasional home remedy for hay fever, sinusitis and other nasal conditions.
With the loss of estrogen and progesterone comes a cascade of events that can stimulate allergy cells and lead to symptoms of autoimmune thyroid disease (a condition in which the immune system attacks and damages the thyroid).
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