Forties is the pre-menopausal age and it comes with a different set of problems. The commonest problem is menstrual disturbances. Heavy and irregular menstruation is common. This may be due to fibroids or hormonal problems or even cancers. It is important not to neglect a single symptom, especially inter-menstrual bleeding, which could be a sign of cervical cancer.
In case you have any of the above symptoms, get a PAP smear test or a biopsy of the cervix done immediately. You should also get a good pelvic sonography done. Often, an internal (vaginal) sonography gives a clear view of the womb uterus and ovaries. It helps pick up uterine or ovarian tumors, swellings or even cancers.
Some cancers such as ovarian cancer have non specific symptoms like bloating of the stomach, gas, acidity, etc. The patient continues to take antacids without realizing the seriousness of the problem. I have seen my paternal aunt doing the same thing. She used to suffer from severe acidity problem and bloating of the tummy until she went to the doctor and found out that she was suffering from last stage of ovarian cancer. Hence it is important to have regular health check-ups, which can pick up early cancers.
Breast cancer is one of the commonest cancers in women over 40. Every woman after 40 must have regular mammographies. If there is a family history of breast cancer then mammographies should start even earlier.
Tackle excessive bleeding. The doctor may prescribe tablets to tackle heavy menses, due to hormonal problems. Check for fibroids and get rid of them immediately. Some women, in this age group, suffer from problems like arthritis. This could be immunological or a part of the ageing process and it requires specific diagnosis and treatment. Take good care of your health if you wish to hug your grand children. Take calcium supplements with a good balanced diet. Exercise regularly to reduce the chance of osteoporosis.