For too long, the thought of midlife scared people, which is not surprising with terms like “midlife crisis,” “hot flashes,” and “mood swings” floating around. Throw in the words menopause and perimenopause, and you may feel like your life is nearly over. The truth is, menopause is completely natural, normal, and can be the best years of your life.1, 2, 3, 4
Declining estrogen can cause the lining of the vagina to get thinner, drier, and less acidic, similar to what it was like before puberty.6 During menopause, if a woman isn’t intimate regularly, the vagina may become shorter and narrower,6 and when she does have intercourse, it can be painful and uncomfortable.6 Regular intercourse helps keep the vaginal tissues thick and moist and helps maintain its length and width, making intercourse pain-free and pleasurable.6
As a woman ages, the increase and decrease of tissue cause the breasts to become less dense, which makes it easier to interpret mammograms.7 This is good news for the accuracy of your annual breast screenings.
Aging and hormones both play a role in changes to the skin. It’s normal for the skin to become drier and flakier, both of which are more prominent in women who smoke or spend a lot of time in the sun.7 And if you had acne as a teen, you may experience it again during perimenopause, on the lower face, chin, and neck.7
As estrogen decreases, unusual hair growth can appear on your chin, upper lip, and cheeks. However, hair loss can also occur.7 Almost 50% of women report hair loss or thinning before they turn 50.7
While these changes may seem overwhelming, they need not be. Lifestyle adjustments and the right treatment can help you manage the changes. Take the menopause symptoms questionnaire and talk to your doctor if your symptoms are negatively impacting your health and well-being. Take back your power and live your best life during midlife and beyond.