Common Health Problems with Aging 129
The following pages describe some of the most common
health problems of older women. For other problems, like
gallbladder problems, heart trouble, stroke, thyroid gland
problems, sores on the legs from poor blood flow, and difficulty
sleeping, see Where There Is No Doctor or another general
medical book. For information on diabetes, see page 174.
Weak blood (anemia)
Although many people think that anemia is a problem only
of young women, it also affects many older women—most
often because of poor nutrition or heavy monthly bleeding.
Heavy monthly bleeding or bleeding
in the middle of the month
Between the ages of 40 and 50, many women
have changes in their monthly bleeding. Some
have heavier bleeding, or bleeding that lasts
longer. Heavy bleeding that goes on for months
or years can cause anemia.
The most common causes of heavy monthly
bleeding and bleeding that lasts longer are:
• hormone changes
• growths in the womb (fibroids or polyps)
• Eat foods every day that are rich in iron, or take iron pills.
• Take 10 mg medoxyprogesterone acetate once a day
for 10 days. If bleeding has not stopped at the end of
10 days, take the medicine for another 10 days. If you are
still bleeding, see a health worker.
• Try to see a health worker for heavy bleeding that has
lasted for more than 3 months, for bleeding in the middle
of the month, or for bleeding that starts 12 months or
more after menopause. A trained health worker will need
to scrape out the inside of the womb (D and C) or do a
biopsy and send the tissue to a laboratory to be checked
If you have had pain and heavy monthly bleeding for years,
see the chapter on “Cancer and Growths.”
Older women often find lumps in their breasts. Most breast
lumps are not dangerous, but some may be a sign of cancer
(see page 382). The best way to find lumps in your breasts is to
examine your breasts yourself (see page 162).
heavy bleeding, 360
foods with iron, 167
iron pills, 73
cancer of the womb,
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012