5 ways your body changes after 40.

Turning 40 is considered a milestone in a woman’s life. I remember how excited I was on my 40th birthday as if some life-changing phenomenon was about to take place! Nothing phenomenal really happened, but as days passed and months, I began noticing subtle, yet, significant, changes taking place within me — my body and my mind.

The significant changes being the onset of perimenopause – a period of physiological changes that indicate what lies ahead.

Perimenopause refers to the menstrual irregularities in a woman’s body due to hormonal changes which eventually lead to menopause — the end of menstruation.

The changes, when they begin appearing, can be quite disturbing. And confusing, too. Heck, at 45, I still get baffled by stuff that happens!

However, you also begin feeling quite ‘sorted’ as a person. Life takes a new meaning and you start realizing and understanding Life. At least, I have. I might as well walk with a halo around my head! πŸ˜›

Of course, I know I still have a lot more maturing to do. But, Life does make sense nowadays, as do the ups and downs and the madness and the chaos, too. The chaos within, and the chaos outside.

So, today I am sharing the physical and physiological changes I began noticing after celebrating my fortieth birthday. Changes that are still taking place within. And, driving me insane!

Symptoms of perimenopause:

Irregular periods:

Estrogen plays a huge part in body weight, moods, sex drive, blood flow and memory, and that’s why the decrease in its levels affect the above to a great extent. Thus, during perimenopause, the changes in the production of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone cause the periods to become irregular.

One finds a change in the flow, as well. Either the flow is heavy, or light, giving enough reason to distress over the unmanageable changes.

In short, it’s a major irritant that’s so not in our control. All we can really do is just go with the flow! Pun unintended.

Vaginal dryness:

The vagina loses its elasticity. The dryness caused during this period puts the vagina at a greater risk of urinary tract infections.

Dryness of the skin and hair loss:

The skin also loses its moisture and feels dry, as does the scalp. Wrinkles begin to appear as do dark spots, which along with the itchiness can cause a lot of distress. Hair starts thinning and some women experience scanty hair growth and eventually, baldness.

Mood swings:

One really can’t discuss mood swings enough, isn’t it? The volatile nature of our moods in this period can cause a lot of headaches, as well as heartache! Joy, sorrow, anxiety, fear, anger — the moods become so unpredictable, you never know what can trigger a foul mood and what can result in euphoria.

Anxiety hits the roof at the drop of a hat, and the tears come rolling down your cheeks at the mere mention of, well, anything! Dealing with these frequent mood changes can get very difficult, and one does wonder whom to confide it all in.

Forgetfulness:

The memory also gets affected because of these hormonal changes. Forgetfulness becomes a new companion, and it leads to many an embarrassing moment. Retaining the littlest of information can seem like the toughest of jobs, at times.

Words fail me while writing as well as while speaking. I forget the keys of certain letters like U, V, A, E on the keyboard while typing. I also forget things hubby asks me to remember (and then receive an earful for the same!). Once, I forgot the breed of a friend’s dog! Can you believe it? At times, I fear I might lose my way home!

The first thought that comes to mind is, “Am I heading towards dementia?

No, you are not. It’s all because of the fluctuating hormones. So, chill.

Changes in sleep cycle:

Perhaps, this is the second worst part of perimenopause! You start feeling drowsy so you lie down to sleep. But the moment you hit the bed, the sleep vanishes. Or, you wake up sometime in the middle of the night to visit the loo, and then it takes hours to go back to sleep again. And, then you wake up either late or feeling cranky and miserable.

Weight gain:

As you near your 40s, your metabolism begins to slow down resulting in gradual weight gain. You fail to notice any major difference, initially, but slowly and steadily, you feel the love handles appearing, and the cellulite, too.

Dieting doesn’t help and you only keep piling the pounds, bit by bit.

Treatment of these symptoms, however, lies in our hands.

First of all, accepting this phase and embracing the changes makes it less painful as It’s all part of aging. Of course, it’s easier said than done! But, sharing your troubles with close friends helps a lot. You realize you are all sailing in the same boat. So, gather your women around you. They are the ones who will be by your side.

Taking care of your diet is paramount. Increase water intake to combat the dryness. Include fresh green vegetables through salads, as well as fruits, nuts and whole grains. Include enough dairy products to keep the bones healthy.

Following an exercise regimen becomes a necessity after a certain age (if one hasn’t been giving it the deserved attention). Yoga, walking, or any other form of exercise that one can carry out comfortably helps considerably. Exercise helps keep the joints supple, the muscles toned, the skin glowing and the internal organs in a good working condition.

Enjoying this phase, accepting the changes and appreciating oneself is, I believe, the best way to deal with this phase. Moreover, with menopause, the body gets attuned to the above changes and Life, as we knew it, gets back to normal!

So, what have you experienced in your 40s? And, how have you tackled the changes?

Do share with us all. We all know how much we need the advice and the help. Oh, and also a shoulder to cry on!

Love,

SHILPA.

P.S.

I will be doing a detailed post on health care in the 40s in June. So, stay tuned.

❀

5 ways your body changes after 40
Life in your 40s

43 Replies to “5 ways your body changes after 40.”

  1. You are such an amazing writer Shilpa to write on issues facing women as they near or reach this golden age πŸ™‚ I understand that it’s about women but starting to dread the 40s which I am sure will come since cannot go back to being 10 years younger. It got me into thinking mode and feelings that cannot be controlled on how to wish for doing things differently if I was 5 years younger.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are the issues I faced, and still do, as I age. It’s all a part of life, but can often get unbearable and difficult. I, too,wish I was some years younger so I could work on how to face Life as I aged! πŸ™‚

      Thank you so much, Vishal! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank You for sharing these, Shilpa.
    I think personal experiences are such treasures and very few women actually come forward to share especially when it has to do with age, even remotely.
    I will definitely keep these in mind and share!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nabanita, certain experiences can get rather embarrassing to share with others and so we often keep mum about them. Rarely do we consider how much we women have in common as far as health and health woes are concerned!
      It will be helpful for others if we shared our experiences for we all are sailing in the same boat!

      Like

  3. This is such a lovely post. Why didnt you write this few years back as I touched the 40s? With so many questions on my mind then, but as you said, I am quite sorted now and speak my mind as often as I can. The hair loss is one of the worst ones. Even the eyebrows start to thin out. Not fair while the guys are still going great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahah!
      Lata, I could muster up the courage to write this post as I gained some enlightenment now, after all these years! It’s been few years since I too have been wondering about all these weird things I have been going through. it feels like I have hit puberty, what with all the hormonal fluctuations!

      Yeah, the hair loss can be distressing, but I feel there are worse things we ‘lose’ apart from hair, that can get quite disturbing! πŸ™‚

      Thank you so much! ❀

      Liked by 2 people

  4. A much needed post and perfect for me who’s just turned 40. I’ve heard the horror stories around perimenopause and I am not looking forward to it one bit.

    But this has definitely made one change in me. The need to eat healthy, stay fit and also stay content is paramount. Every day is a conscious choice and I truly believe that.

    Excellent post, Shilpa. And one every woman should read whether she is below or above 40. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have learned over the past few years how I changed and what helps me face these changes. Although, as you said, it’s a conscious choice one needs to make on a daily basis. There are days when I falter, days when all the good sense flies out of the window and I am a complete mess, but with time and some self-motivation, I gather myself back and get on with Life.
      it can be really difficult, at times, so I am just waiting for this phase to end (if there’s such a thing!) and for Life to get back to ‘normal’!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Why does it feel like hitting the puberty phase once again? Body changes started then and once again it will start happening. Your post tells me to read more about turning 40 in the coming years. There are still a few more years for me to be 40 but in spirit I have been 40 for a long time, or may be 50 or 60 too. I am a young old woman 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Puberty is the only thing that comes to mind during this phase, Anamika! All those hormones playing havoc in our system, making us do crazy things and act weird. Frankly, I hate it! But, is there anything we can do about it, except grin and bear?
      Keep reading stuff, Anamika, and stay in touch with your girlfriends. They are the only ones who will understand what you are going through and will support you throughout. Spouses care a damn! Believe me! Okay, mine does put up with my mood swings but needs to be told it’s all coz of this phase. Still, they aren’t as sensitive as you want them to be!

      Like

  6. I think you and I have shared my thoughts on this phase. Like you I was happy when I became 40. I even wrote a love letter to myself. πŸ˜› But perimenopause is the toughest phase in my life. I’ve struggled the past 3 years. I wrote a part on it as well. I agree with everything you’ve written. Just one thing to add – – slow down and meditate along with exercise and taking care of diet. Pushing attention to mental health is paramount at this phase. Well written post that every woman will relate with.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yes yes yes, Rachna! Mental health suffers the most! The way it affects our mental health is the worst. For me, more than meditating, I find it helpful reading fiction that takes my mind off this issue or drawing, or writing. But, you are right, we need to slow down. All the mad rush to do it all and try to handle it all at the same time is really fruitless!

      Thank you so much, my dear!

      Like

  7. Ooof as I was reading this, my past few years started flashing before my eyes for this is how it started for me too. That forgetfulness bit is scary and I didnt know its part of the perimenopause. Sometimes while driving I just blank out for 2 secs and then I wonder where I am – that is scary! And yes the thought of forgeting my way home is top of my list too πŸ™‚
    Yoga and meditation have been my saviour as haave been dietary changes.
    Very well analysed and summed up Shilpz – I wish I had read this a few years ago- would have saved myself a lot of heartache.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. God! You better be careful, girl! Drive carefully, I mean.
      Yeah, the forgetfulness is the worst part. Even now, as I type this comment, I get lost…wondering about which letter is where on the keyboard, and I wonder how the hell do I manage to blog/write so much!!

      I, too, wish I had read this post a few years ago! πŸ™‚

      Like

  8. Thanks for this post, Shilpa. Although I’m not in the main target demographic, I think this is also instructive for men. We all have women our lives – spouses or partners, siblings, friends, colleagues – and can gain from this. I have often wondered if midlife hormonal changes are one factor in our forgetfulness. My wonder stems from the complexities of life, multi-tasking and divided attention, time constraints, and so on. There are moments where we struggle to be fully present and attend to people and events, let alone recall and remember them later on. This post is also special to the 40+ women in my country of Australia this particular weekend, for we celebrate Mother’s Day. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yes, Simon! Forgetfulness is all a part of this phase, as much as I would like to believe. And, it’s the worst part. Yeah, multi-tasking and time constraints are factors that affect memory (like I see in my hubby), but for me, it’s all a part of aging, I am in that age group where memory plays hide-n-seek with you! πŸ™‚

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts, Simon! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the way you’ve managed to pare down changes to your body to just 5. Indeed you are lucky that you have such a practical approach to life. It will help you cope with even more changes to come as you age. Keep smiling dear Shilpa….always

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I have heard horror stories about the pre-menopause phase, and have even witnessed some of my older cousins struggling through it, so I am clearly not looking forward to it, even though I realize it is inevitable.

    That being said, some of the things you mentioned, I am struggling with now itself. For instance a slowing metabolism has made my life super difficult. However on the plus side, it has finally made me pay more attention to my health and fitness. Silver linings. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m stunned, Shilpa! To know that you’re above 40. Thanks to my infancy in the blogosphere, And that’s such an insightful post. I’ve always heard about very unpleasant experiences with perimenopause & menopause from mom, aunts & the elderly acquaintances. And the aftermath of the physical & sexual dusk is, at times, equally intimidating. I’ve often seen some women complaining of perennial crankiness through the day following menopause. At the same time, for various reasons, cases of hysterectomy are becoming quite a norm for women following mid-forties.

    Your thoughts about midlife, though, breathe so much positivity into us. Moreover, I firmly believe that reserving every single day of life with a fraction of fitness time is really very important. Perhaps, our grandmothers descended into their later years better, because they lived a very active & stress-free life. They socialized better with their neighbor buddies & worried little. I’d be wrong if I don’t say that most of the women, specially in India, backburn their own health toiling hard for that of their family’s.

    Hence, self-care & discipline towards one’s health & diet can really work like an armor!

    Loved your post so much. And kudos to you for deceiving me about your age! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ashvini, you are so right! My mother, too, sailed through this phase, if I remember well. She often says that a busy life kept her mind free of all the stress perimenopause can bring along with it. It will be helpful if we all took a leaf out of our mothers’ and grandmothers’ books and learned to deal with this phase better.

      Apologies for the late reply! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Indeed we are in it together. πŸ™‚ I am turning 47 in June. My changes – the weight gain (and now I make sure I exercise – but need to be mindful of adding more water/fruit/veggies) and moodiness and some other physical things mentioned above. I definitely like the feeling of maturity and how people treat you as one who is mature. I often here the word “Ma’am” when folks are trying to get my attention. I sense people approach me as a mom figure now or someone who knows a thing or two. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! I liked the way you focus on all the positive things that age brings along — people looking up to you, treating you as a matured, sensible person who knows Life a bit better! I guess, if we all focus on the positives, the negatives won’t torture us as much! πŸ™‚
      Thank you for sharing your experiences! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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