Getting all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs is essential for your health and feeling your best. That’s why it’s important to discuss your whole health with our women’s health care team. We can help you identify vitamin deficiencies and find personalized ways to treat them. One common vitamin deficiency you might experience as you reach menopause is vitamin D deficiency. This is a serious issue because low vitamin D levels can seriously endanger your overall health and quality of life. Read on to learn about how you can get enough vitamin D during menopause.
Vitamin D deficiency is a common but treatable condition that many women experience. Unfortunately, many go without treatment and face serious consequences. We’ll get into some of the health risks of low vitamin D later in this article, but it’s important to note that vitamin D plays an important role in many parts of your body, including your bones, muscles, cardiovascular system, and immune system. Therefore, if you do have vitamin D deficiency, working with our women’s health care providers to get enough of this vitamin can help you protect yourself from many health risks.
Experts estimate anywhere between 20% and 80% of women have a vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, your risk for low vitamin D levels is quite high when you look at that statistic. What’s worse is that many people don’t realize they have low vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiencies may be increasing due to many factors. One is that people on average are spending less time outside in the sun than they did before. Sunlight helps your body produce its own vitamin D from cholesterol. Additionally, more widespread sunscreen use can actually block the sun rays needed for vitamin D production. Another potential contributing factor would be poorer overall diets, which means most of us get less vitamin D from the things we eat than our ancestors did.
Menopausal women in particular may have a higher risk for vitamin D deficiency. This is because our bodies don’t absorb as much vitamin D as we get older. Therefore, as you reach your 50s and 60s, when most people experience menopause, your risk for low vitamin D increases. Along with menopause comes many other health risks, like for cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to further or worse health risks as well. Therefore, it’s important to discuss your health with our women’s health care providers and see what you can do to stay healthy during and after menopause.
If you have untreated vitamin D deficiency, there are many potential health risks you might experience. Our women’s health care team can help you determine if you have low vitamin D levels and create a treatment plan to help you get enough vitamin D to reduce these risks. Here are some of the potential health effects of vitamin D deficiency:
Many people are surprised to learn that vitamin D deficiencies are associated with a higher risk for pelvic floor disorders. Remember, vitamin D is important for keeping your muscles strong, and since the pelvic floor relies on strong muscles to support your organs, it makes sense that vitamin D can play a role in pelvic floor health. This is especially important for menopausal women to understand, as around this time your risk for both pelvic floor disorders and vitamin D deficiency increases.
Pelvic floor disorders can cause a lot of different issues for your health and everyday life. Yet, many women don’t seek women’s health care treatment for them. Pelvic floor disorders commonly lead to pelvic pain and painful sex. In addition, weak pelvic floor muscles may increase your risk for urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse. Some studies suggest that getting enough vitamin D can reduce your risk for these common but life-altering conditions. There may also be other things you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor to reduce these risks, so talk to your women’s health care providers about your individual circumstances.
Vitamin D is also necessary for keeping your bones strong and healthy and reducing the risk for osteoporosis. As we reach menopause, our risk for osteoporosis increases due to low hormone levels like estrogen and progesterone. However, making sure you get enough vitamins and nutrients can help protect your bones despite these risks. Vitamin D is a key vitamin for bone health because it helps your body absorb calcium. Additionally, vitamin D can help maintain muscle strength to reduce the risks for falls which can cause fractures if you have low bone mineral density or osteoporosis. Therefore, if you have vitamin D deficiency, talk to our team about how to get enough vitamin D.
Of course, there are many other potential risks of vitamin D deficiency. For instance, vitamin D may play an important role in your immune system, so you may be more likely to get sick or experience slow healing.
Low vitamin D levels can also increase your risk for cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to higher blood pressure and increased risk for heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.
Some studies have even found that low vitamin D can increase your risk of developing depression symptoms. In some cases, treating your vitamin D deficiency can improve your symptoms.
Often, vitamin deficiencies are undetectable without help from your women’s health care provider because they don’t cause symptoms. However, there are some symptoms that low vitamin D may cause.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency to look out for include:
If you notice these symptoms, visit our women’s health clinic for diagnosis and treatment for vitamin D deficiency.
Treating vitamin D deficiency involves increasing the amount of vitamin D in your body. There are several ways to do this, so our women’s health care providers will recommend a treatment based on your specific circumstances and lifestyle. Some ways to increase vitamin D include:
In other cases, you may need a supplement to increase vitamin D levels in your body to healthy ranges. Our team can use a simple blood test to look at your vitamin D levels and suggest the right dose for you.
Our team at HerKare is dedicated to helping you improve your health as a whole. We make healthcare easy and affordable so you can take care of yourself and feel your best. Whether you want to learn how you can prevent common health risks as you reach menopause or are experiencing symptoms that interfere with your everyday life, we have solutions to help. Make an appointment today at a location near you to learn how we can help you feel better.