6 Conditions That Can Change After Menopause

  • Doctor with senior female patient
    How will menopause affect my chronic condition?
    The body experiences many changes during menopause, and its symptoms vary from person to person. But besides bringing on big changes like the end of your menstrual period, or bothersome symptoms like hot flashes, the change in your hormone levels during menopause can also affect any of these chronic conditions you may already have.

  • Diabetic woman checking her blood sugar levels
    Just like with your menstrual cycle, changes in the hormones estrogen and progesterone during menopause will affect how you respond to insulin. During perimenopause, or the transitional time just before menopause, these hormones are unstable and can cause problems with diabetes management. Hot flashes and moodiness, common side effects of menopause, can sometimes be mistaken for symptoms of high or low blood sugars. It's important that you test blood sugars regularly during this time to make sure you’re managing your diabetes well.

  • woman-using-inhaler
    Women with asthma often notice changes in their symptoms during times of hormonal change like puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and when approaching menopause. It’s once again thanks to those changes in estrogen levels. During perimenopause, some women with asthma find their symptoms get worse. There may also be a greater likelihood of needing to go to hospital because of an asthma attack. But once in menopause, or after 12 straight months with no period, some women find their symptoms reduce.

  • Youth and age: grandddaughter laughing with grandmother on forest walk
    Postmenopausal osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder in which bone strength has weakened to a point that bone is fragile and at higher risk of fracture. Women undergo rapid bone loss around the time of menopause due to hormonal changes. The rate of bone loss slows down during the postmenopausal years, but does not stop completely. One in two women over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in her lifetime, but routine bone density screening and timely treatment for osteoporosis can help prevent such injuries.

  • woman-with-migraine-headache-holding-glasses
    Studies suggest hormones may play a role in headaches. Women at increased risk for hormonal headaches during perimenopause are those who have already had headaches influenced by hormones, such as those with a history of headaches around their menstrual periods (so-called menstrual migraines) or when taking oral contraceptives. Hormonal headaches typically stop when menopause is reached and hormone levels are consistently low.

  • Heart Check
    Heart Disease
    As we’ve learned, the decline in estrogen at menopause contributes to changes in many chronic conditions and heart disease may be no different. It’s because estrogen is believed to have a positive effect on the inner layer of artery wall, helping to keep blood vessels flexible to accommodate blood flow. With estrogen decline, these vessels become stiff and blood pressure starts to go up. LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, also tends to increase with a decline in estrogen. Triglycerides, certain types of fats in the blood, also increase. Since these can all contribute to heart disease, it’s important to stay healthy by eating well and getting plenty of exercise.

  • Mature woman blowing dandelion flower
    Women with lupus should be cautious as they enter their menopausal years. Bone loss and osteoporosis are risks for any woman entering menopause, but for lupus patients who have been on steroids for many years, the risk of bone loss and fractures is even higher. As with all women, it’s important to remain active and take calcium supplements to support bone growth during menopause. Additionally, though hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is used in menopausal women for the relief of severe hot flashes, it has shown an increase in mild to moderate lupus flares and is not recommended for women with the condition. The good news for women entering their 50s is there is some research that suggests lupus activity decreases during menopause.

6 Conditions That Can Change After Menopause

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  1. Are headaches related to menopause? The North American Menopause Society. http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-take-time-to-think-about-it/consumers/2014/11/23/are-he...
  2. FRAX: a Tool for Estimating Your Fracture Risk. The North American Menopause Society. http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/bone-health-and-heart-health/frax-sup-sup-a-tool...
  3. Menopause 101: A primer for the perimenopausal. The North American Menopause Society. http://www.menopause.org/
  4. Menopause increases asthma risk. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. https://www.aaaai.org/global/latest-research-summaries/Current-JACI-Research/menopause-asthma.aspx
  5. Menopause and Heart Disease. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/Menopause-and-Heart-Disease_UCM_4...
  6. A Numbers Game: How Lupus Affects a Woman’s Health Through the Years. Lupus Foundation of America. http://www.lupus.org/magazine/entry/a-numbers-game-how-lupus-affects-a-womans-health-through-the-yea...
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Nov 8
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.