The hormonal changes associated with perimenopause and menopause can put you at increased risk for certain conditions or complications. These include:
Heart disease and high blood pressure. Weight gain and changes in your estrogen levels both increase your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure.
Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which your bones become brittle due to tissue loss. The hormonal changes that cause menopause can also cause osteoporosis. This increases your risk for fractures. You can usually manage osteoporosis through diet and with different menopause therapies.
Sexual dysfunction. Menopause can change your sex life in many ways. For one, declining estrogen levels can decrease your libido (sex drive). Common symptoms of menopause, like vaginal dryness, can also make sex uncomfortable or painful and may cause bleeding. Many people also experience vaginal atrophy, or a loss of muscle tone in the vagina. This can make sex less pleasurable and sometimes painful. If you experience sexual dysfunction, you should talk to your doctor or gynecologist as well as your partner. They can help you find solutions that work for you and your lifestyle. You may find water-based lubricants or vaginal creams containing estrogen helpful.
Urinary incontinence. With menopause, the tissues around your urethra (the opening where urine comes out) lose some of their muscle tone and elasticity. This can cause more frequent urination and urinary incontinence, or the involuntary loss of urine, especially when laughing or coughing.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs may become more common as you go through perimenopause and menopause. This is because of changes in the elasticity of the tissues around your vagina and urethra, which can leave you more prone to infection. Additionally, as your hormone levels change, so too does the bacterial flora of your vagina. This can also increase your risk of infection.
Weight gain. Weight gain during menopause is common. Your metabolism starts to slow down as your hormones change, meaning you may need to eat less and exercise more during perimenopause and after menopause just to maintain your current weight.