Menopause and how to deal with its symptoms likely will top your list of concerns now. But you should also be concerned about your general health and how your health needs might be changing now. Keep your questions in a small notebook or on your smartphone or tablet that you can take to your medical appointments. Be sure to include these topics:
- Now that I'm 50 (or older), how often should I have regular checkups and which screening tests should I have and when?
- Am I a good candidate for hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness? If not, what alternatives are available?
- Should I increase my daily intake of calcium and vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis after menopause?
- Should I continue the same diet and exercise program to maintain my weight? What should I do if I want to lose weight?
- Could weight gain be caused by a thyroid problem? Should my thyroid hormone level be tested?
- Is depression a normal symptom of menopause or aging? What treatments are available?
- I'm noticing changes in my bladder function. I urinate more frequently and sometimes I leak urine when coughing or sneezing. What can I do about this?
- How do I know the difference between normal aches and pains and arthritis? Can it be prevented?
- If I need a test or treatment, what is it designed to do and why is it recommended? What are the dangers and side effects? What must I do to get ready for the procedure? Are there other treatments or options? Will insurance pay for the test or treatment?
- Whom should I call to find out test results (such as a Pap test or mammogram) and when? (Always get a complete report on any tests you have had.)
When chatting with your health care professional, it's also important to keep in mind these preventative health screenings you need in your 50s.
Your conversation should help you understand what to expect in menopause and the impact it may have on your life.