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Long Term Health Risks

A woman’s risk for health conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis and a range of genitourinary issues increase with the onset of menopause.

To support closing the menopause knowledge gap, the information provided points to leading evidence-based sources of information, such as The North American Menopause Society. Information provided is for general informational purposes only. It is not professional medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment or care. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider to discuss questions related to your health.

Osteoporosis can be a serious health threat for postmenopausal women.[i] That’s because estrogen improves bone density and decreases fracture risk.

  • Women begin losing bone density at an annual rate of two percent beginning one to three years before menopause and lasting five to 10 years in postmenopause. This results in an average loss of bone mass density of 10% in the spine and hip.[ii]
  • 1 in 3 women in Canada will break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime. Fractures from osteoporosis are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined.[iii]

[i] Management of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women: the 2021 position statement of The North American Menopause Society. Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society Vol. 28, No. 9, pp. 973-997 DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001831.
[ii] Management of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women: the 2021 position statement of The North American Menopause Society. Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society Vol. 28, No. 9, pp. 973-997 DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001831.
[iii] Osteoporosis Canada. The Prevalence of Osteoporosis. https://osteoporosis.ca/what-is-osteoporosis/

After menopause, a woman’s risk of heart disease increases steadily due to a lack of estrogen. While 1 in 8 women are affected by breast cancer, 1 in 3 women will develop heart disease.

The genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) affects up to 80% of menopausal women and is caused by low estrogen levels in the tissues of the urinary tract and the female genital tract.[i] Symptoms include vaginal dryness, painful sex, burning, urinary tract infections and general irritation of the genital area. In contrast to hot flashes and night sweats that usually improve over time, GSM generally gets worse without effective therapy. Despite the high prevalence of GSM and lack of improvement without treatment, only a minority of affected women seek help or are offered treatment by their healthcare providers. [ii]

“Although most women experience some changes in sexual function as they age, menopause and aging certainly do not signal the end of a woman’s sex life.” Quote from the North American Menopause Society’s online resource designed to help women understand what menopause might mean for their sex lives.

[i] Lim J, Uzelac A, Christakis M, Shirre­f L. The Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause. Gynaecology Quality Improvement Collaboration: v12.22.2021.
[ii]The 2020 genitourinary syndrome of menopause position statement of The North American Menopause Society. Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society Vol. 27, No. 9, pp. 976-992 DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001609.

“Does menopause increase diabetes risk? That hasn’t been an easy question for researchers to answer. It’s hard to separate the effects of menopause from the effects of age and weight. But it does look like hormones do have something to do with it. If you are a woman over age 50, you’re especially vulnerable, and women pay a heavy price for the disease.” Read more on Diabetes Hits Women Hard at Menopause: Beat it Back from the North American Menopause Society