Women and Body Image (cont.)
Learning about the physical and emotional changes with menopause is a good first step in having a positive body image. Hot flashes, while giving you really low heating bills, can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Other symptoms include sleep problems, anxiety, depression, vaginal dryness (which can cause painful sex), having to urinate a lot, memory loss, weight gain, thinning hair, and changes in sex drive. Not every woman gets all these symptoms and each woman's experience is different. But when a woman starts to have any of these symptoms, it can be a surprise to her and can change how she sees herself. Simple changes in diet and exercise can help to ease the symptoms, along with hormone therapy (HT).
A woman's body image can be affected by her oral health. Oral lesions, such as cold sores and canker sores, may happen more often due to changing hormones during a woman's period, pregnancy, and menopause. Dry mouth, common in adults, can make it hard to eat and speak, and can be hard to cope with. Bad breath can happen when teeth and dentures (false teeth) are not properly cleaned and can be embarrassing. Tooth loss can occur as a result of gum disease or tooth decay. People over 40 years old are more at risk for mouth cancer, which often is not noticed in its early stages because people do not have regular visits with their health care provider. It can be hard for some women to get used to dentures.
Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOD)
PCOD and infertility can affect a woman's body image. Not being able to get pregnant can be very frustrating and can change how a woman views herself. Symptoms of PCOD, such as weight gain, excess hair growth (particularly on the face), thinning hair, and acne, can be upsetting and affect a woman's confidence. Losing a pregnancy can cause feelings of loss and guilt. Coping with PCOD can be stressful and women can experience depression and mood swings. Taking care of yourself, reducing stress, and getting support from family and friends is important.
A woman's body image can change during pregnancy. Skin changes such as acne or spider veins on the face and varicose veins on the legs can occur. Some women feel more emotional because of changing hormones. Sleep loss can add stress to already stressed lives. Women can worry about their changing roles, from being in the workplace, a wife, a single person, to becoming a mother and a caregiver. Women may have concerns about how a new baby will affect their other children. Relationships with partners can change, which can affect how women feel about themselves. It is important to talk to your partner, family, and friends about your feelings and concerns throughout your pregnancy. For more, please visit the Pregnancy Planning Center.
Skin Disorders and Scarring
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