Your 40s are your best decade.
Why? It is when things finally fall into place: you are emotionally stable, more confident, way wiser than in your 30s (or 20s!), and more established. However, while things are positively changing in your 40s regarding your psyche, there could be a few body changes spoiling the beauty of it all.
So, if you’ve already turned 40 or are a few months away from your 40th birthday, consider the list below as a friendly heads-up:
Your Monthly Cycle Goes Out of Whack
The changes in your cycle mark the fifth decade; most women lose their periods and stop ovulating. Unfortunately, ovaries don’t make less estrogen gradually, as it’s usually a cut-throat situation. Once perimenopause hits, expect your cycles much farther apart or closer together. Extremely heavy periods are standard as well or skipping your periods altogether for the entire month.
What to do: If the irregularity messes you up, consult with your gyno on the options to regulate your cycle. Usually, you’ll be prescribed hormone therapy, such as hormone-releasing IUD or oral contraceptives.
You Can’t Control Your Bladder Anymore
For older women or women that have given birth, bladder incontinence is more common than we’d like. Even if you Kegel like your life depends on it, lessened estrogen production in our 40s is making the bladder muscle weaker, leaving us vulnerable to leaks.
What to do: These days, there are plenty of useful fixes for incontinence, such as weight loss, pessaries or impressa, eliminating food and drink triggers, bladder training, medication, nerve stimulation or botox, and vaginal sling surgery.
Consult your urologist to find your solution.
Hair Loss Becomes a Thing
Our hair gets thinner as we age, however, in our early 40s, the hair loss may become more noticeable than expected. Why? Perimenopause! And it’s not just the head: women start losing hair everywhere on the body, starting with legs, pubic hair, arms, etc. We love that we’ll spend less time waxing and shaving, but the hair? Come on!
What to do: Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can postpone your hair loss. For starters, try keeping your hair not as set up (yes, buns and ponytails, we’re looking at you!), and use expert-recommended supplements for your skin type. If it’s any consolation, losing hair doesn’t happen overnight and genetics have a substantial say in the whole thing.
Your Brain Is Affected – In a Way
After 40, you might notice you forget people’s names, stuff from your to-do list, dates, general work and life-related stuff. Although this happens to men as well, women are more affected. Since estrogen receptors in our brains control memory, it’s only logical our mind starts getting foggier as we lose the estrogen. Worry not, though – forgetfulness of this type isn’t permanent.
What to do: The good news is that the brain bounces back after menopause, after it’s adjusted to lower levels of estrogen. If you want to skip the whole “forgetfulness” period, maybe try estrogen therapy. However, as this terrible I-can’t-remember-a-single-thing phase goes away quickly, perhaps weather it out?
As you approach your 40s (or are enjoying them already), keep these facts in mind to avoid any unpleasant surprises. However, don’t give in to the negatives – everything will work out to your advantage in the end!
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