Once a year has passed without a menstrual cycle, women are considered postmenopausal, wrote Livestrong.com. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, most women spend more than one-third of their lives after menopause.
During postmenopause, many of the bothersome symptoms women experienced prior to menopause gradually ease, said WebMD.
But due to several factors, including lower levels of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
Postmenopausal women should continue getting regular check-ups and preventive screening tests such as pelvic exams, Pap smears, breast exams, and mammograms, wrote WebMD. These are among the most important things women can do for themselves after menopause.
Everyday Health said that women should also have blood tests at a minimum of every five years until age 50, and then at regular intervals based on cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension or obesity.
Bone density screening should be performed every two years in all women older than 65 years, and begin sooner in women with additional risk factors for osteoporosis, wrote the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Postmenopausal women are particularly at risk for osteoporosis, said Everyday Health. Estrogen is one of the best stimulators of bone growth.
When it dips after menopause, the risk of osteoporosis increases and can result in fractured hips and problems related to bone density.
Everyday Health said that women ages 50 and up should consume at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily to maintain bone health.
Weight maintenance becomes particularly challenging for women during postmenopause, said ABC News. A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found -- after four years -- eating fewer desserts and drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages were linked significantly to weight loss in postmenopausal women.
A woman's risk of heart disease increases after menopause, reported More Magazine.
Many think of heart disease as a man’s disease.