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5 Myths of Women’s Health After 40

Noticing that first crow's foot or realizing you can no longer do the crossword without reading glasses is a milestone (not a good one but one none the less) in every woman's life, and it's only the beginning of a lot more to come. There's a lot of good to be said for growing older though - you're smarter, better rounded, and more confident in your skin than you were when you were a whippersnapper. But naysayers will be naysayers, and they'll tell you all sorts of horror stories about aging. Don't believe all the hype! Here we'll set you straight on a few myths about growing older.


1. Myth: Going through menopause is always a life-altering nightmare

When you picture someone going through menopause, you may immediately think of a woman mopping her hot forehead while weeping copiously at a Colgate toothpaste commercial. But while menopause can be very difficult for some women, many others only find it mildly uncomfortable. When you begin to go through "The Change," talk to your doctor, who can help you find relief from many of the symptoms that temporarily may ail you.


2. Myth: Interest in sex disappears never to be seen again

Your libido is bound to go up and down over the years, but there is no reason that it needs to flatline after the age of 40. This myth is likely perpetuated because many of the drugs that are commonly used by aging Americans, such as blood pressure medication, happen to dampen sex drive or reduce sexual response in some cases. Additionally, physical changes linked to menopause (such as vaginal dryness) can make sex less comfortable. Women over 40 who are concerned about their sex drive should discuss potential causes with their doctor instead of assuming it is just a fact of life.


3. Myth: The pounds pile on and there is no getting rid of them

It's true that your metabolism tends to shrug off its duties as you get older, so it is a little easier to put on extra weight and a little harder to shed unwanted pounds. However, you can combat this by becoming more physically active and taking a stricter approach to your diet. As a bonus, regular exercise also helps to sustain your cardiovascular health and improve your mood, leading to an increased sense of well-being, and weight training can help rev up your metabolism.


4. Myth: Worries about unprotected sex are in the past

Women who are too cavalier about unprotected sex after the age of 40 sometimes get a surprise when they unexpectedly fall pregnant, so be wary of assuming that you are no longer fertile. In addition, those who know they can't get pregnant may forget that sexually transmitted diseases are still a concern. It's always a good idea to be cautious about new partners and to use barrier methods of contraception until a sexual health screening has been conducted.


5. Myth: There's no need to worry about breast cancer if there's no family history

Women with a family history of breast cancer should be particularly vigilant about their health, since family history is an important risk factor for breast cancer. But around 80 percent of women who develop breast cancer have no genetic disposition for the disease. Help yourself out by living a healthy lifestyle including healthy diet, plenty of exercise, following your doctor’s instructions, and conducting breast self-exams on a regular basis.


Do other myths come to mind for you?