When a woman enters perimenopause and menopause, she'll suffer symptoms like weight gain, hot flashes, and fatigue.
These can be debilitating, but they are only short-term.
A greater concern if you're entering this stage of your life is your heart, bone, sexual and cognitive health.
It's important to implement strategies to combat those concerns in your 40s and 50s so you can have great health into your 60s, 70s, and beyond.
According to Dr. Tara Allmen, three of the most important things you can do are to quit smoking, get moving, and eat better. And, many of these strategies combine to stave off potential consequences.
For example, when you enter menopause, you're very vulnerable for extreme bone loss. You can combat this by strength training and getting enough calcium and vitamin D (it's better to eat those sources, rather than taking them in pill form).
Another great concern for women of this age is bladder infections and other vaginal issues. Dr. Allmen says they actually go hand-in-hand on this journey. As your vagina gets dry and becomes more prone to infection, your bladder is also more prone. Bladder infections can lead to kidney infections, which can be very dangerous.
The easiest way to maintain vaginal health is to keep sexually active, whether with a partner or via masturbation. This keeps the blood flowing.
You can also use local vaginal estrogen, which is actually the most effective way to improve vaginal health and wellness.
It's important to maintain good bladder habits... urinate when you feel you need to, as well as before and after sex.
If you have not been sexually active for a while, you need to get your vagina "in shape" before you even start to resume sexual activity. Again, this might involve a daily vaginal moisturizer or use of local vaginal estrogen.
Finally, Dr. Allmen says it's essential to find an expert in women's mid-life health, as he or she has much more knowledge than a typical OB/GYN as to what you're going through.
Listen in as Dr. Allmen joins Dr. Susanne to share more about what steps you can take now to ensure your vaginal and overall health is in tip-top shape for years to come.