Long-Term Health Risks

Low estrogen levels after menopause can take a toll on your heart, bones, brain, and urinary/sexual/vaginal health (known as Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause). While many menopausal symptoms eventually dissipate, and often disappear, there can be significant long-term, postmenopause health risks to know about and address. It’s important to understand your particular risks, to make lifestyle changes that may improve your postmenopause health, and to seek treatment for existing symptoms and conditions.

illustration of woman checking heart rate
illustration of woman checking heart rate again


Estrogen helps keep blood vessels open and flexible, and balances good and bad cholesterol. When estrogen production declines after menopause, a woman’s risk of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke multiply. While much attention has rightfully been focused on breast cancer, which affects one in eight women, more attention needs to be paid to women’s cardiovascular health, as more than one in three women will develop heart disease.

# 1

Heart disease is the number-one cause of death for women in America.


Nearly 1 in 2 women over 50 will die of heart disease.

Risk Doubles

A woman’s risk of stroke doubles every decade after age 55.

Early Risk Factor

Women who reach menopause at 45 years or  younger have more cardiovascular health issues later in life than those whose menopause begins closer to the average age of 51.
illustration of woman experiencing joint pain


Because estrogen keeps bones strong and healthy, women are at an increased risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis after menopause, especially in the first three to five years after their last period. For many women, the bone loss is rapid and extreme. A DEXA body scan, which measures bone-mineral density, can indicate whether someone is at risk for developing osteoporosis or experiencing a fracture. If you have a family history of osteoporosis or if you break a bone after 50, talk to your doctor.

1 in 2

postmenopausal women will have an osteoporosis-linked fracture.

8 of the 10 Million

Americans who suffer from osteoporosis are women.


of white and Asian women over 50 are estimated to have osteoporosis. The rate is lower among Latinas and Black women, at 10 percent and 5 percent, respectively. 

A Woman's Risk

of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers.
illustration of woman experiencing UTI

Vaginal/Sexual/Urinary Symptoms
Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM)

Many postmenopausal women—up to 84% according to a NAMS study—struggle with chronic genital, sexual, and urinary discomfort that rarely resolves on its own. Few, however, have heard of Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM), the umbrella term for these conditions.

Even fewer associate these symptoms with menopause and lower estrogen levels and seek the treatment they need. GSM symptoms are caused by a decline in estrogen that leads to a thinning of the vulva-vaginal wall, including the urethra and bladder. GSM can have a profoundly negative impact on a person’s quality of life.

Genital symptoms range from dryness to burning, irritation, and/or discharge. Sexual symptoms include decreased vaginal lubrication, low libido, bleeding after intercourse, and painful/uncomfortable sex. Urinary symptoms include urinary tract infections (UTIs), urinary frequency and urgency, increased urinary leaks, and incontinence.

1 in 2

postmenopausal women experiences GSM symptoms, but less than 25 percent of them seek help.

Nearly 1 in 3

women in the U.S. experiences decreased libido during menopause.

It's Chronic

Unlike vasomotor symptoms, which lessen over time, GSM is a chronic disorder that can worsen over time if not treated.

More than 50%

of postmenopausal women are affected by urinary incontinence.

Fill out our symptoms checklist!

Please answer the questions to complete the symptoms checklist. While not a diagnostic tool, it is a printable resource to share with your povider to have an informed discussion about perimenopause.

illustration of symptoms checklist