The time of a woman's life following menopause is called postmenopause. During this time, many of the bothersome symptoms a woman may have experienced before menopause gradually decrease. But as a result of several factors, including a lower level of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
How Will I Know When I Am Postmenopausal?
Women are considered to be postmenopausal when they have not had their period for an entire year. Having your doctor measure your follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level is another way to see if you are near menopause. FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland (located at the base of the brain). Your FSH levels will dramatically rise as your ovaries begin to shut down; these levels are easily checked through one blood test. FSH levels can fluctuate during perimenopause, so the only way to know you are definitely postmenopausal is when you have had no period for a year.
What Changes Can I Expect During Postmenopause?
Once you are postmenopausal, you may regain your energy, but you may also be at higher risk for certain conditions.
Medication and/or healthy lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of some of the conditions associated with menopause. Because every woman's risk is different, talk to your doctor to learn what steps you can take to reduce your individual risk.
Can I Get Pregnant Now That I Am Postmenopausal?
The possibility of pregnancy usually disappears once you have been without your period for an entire year. But, continue using contraception until your doctor determines that you truly are postmenopausal.
How Often Do I Need to See My Doctor in Postmenopause?
Even if you are postmenopausal, getting regular check-ups and preventive screening tests such as pelvic exams, Pap smears, breast exams, and mammograms are among the most important things you can do for yourself. How often you need a check-up depends on your health history. Talk to your doctor to determine how often you should be seen.