40 Things That Happen After You Turn 40
Welcome to being a middle-aged woman!
You've probably started to notice a few changes, physically, mentally, emotionally… So this is it, ladies, this is THE CHANGE!
But being in our 40's and 50's are undoubtedly our prime years. We are fit, healthy, energetic, appreciative, confident and experienced. We are wearing activewear and couldn't care less about being seen with no make-up on. We know our bodies and have newfound confidence only lived experiences can provide.
We've gone through childhood, adolescence (a time not many of us would care to revisit), and some of us have become wives or partners, mothers or grandmothers. Now, as we are enjoying our prime years, our bodies are starting to embark on a new journey, entering a new stage in life.
At Natures Help, we are here to walk with you through those life changes to keep your body as fit and healthy and as nourished, it can be. It can be a long path, so let's travel together.
As women, we represent 50% of the world's population, and so as a group, we have all the knowledge to share and help guide each other on our journey.
This is why we've put together a list titled
40 THINGS THAT HAPPEN AFTER YOU TURN FORTY!
1. Greying Hair
By the time you reach 40, you've probably already noticed grey hairs here and there. Hair starts to turn grey/white when the pigmentation cells responsible for colour (melanin) stop being produced. For most, this is around our mid to late 30's meaning, but the time you hit forty, your greys will become significantly more noticeable.
2. Thinning Hair
Nearly everyone will experience some hair loss as they get older due to age-related hormonal changes, which alter the regrowth rate of hair. While adults over 40 continue to lose hair at an average rate—around 50 to 100 strands per day— it takes longer for these strands to grow back.
3. Impaired Vision
If you've started to hold things further away to read them, don't worry, you're not alone. After you pass the milestone age of 40, you'll notice it's more challenging to focus on objects up close. This is because the lens inside the eye begins to lose its ability to change shape — a process called presbyopia. As a result, after 40, our eyes become more easily strained when reading or using screens.
4. Hearing Loss
Hearing reduction and loss can be hereditary, linked to disease, or due to environmental factors. However, most people over the age of 40 will start to notice a reduction in their hearing abilities, especially in noisy or crowded places.
5. Voice Changes
As you get older, your larynx—or voice box—change. These changes can affect the strength and pitch of your voice. For example, as the vocal cords, or folds, lose their flexibility and elasticity, women's voices generally become lower.
6. Swallowing Difficulties
This one may be a little surprising, but our pharyngeal—or throat—muscles begin to weaken as we age. This is caused by some neurosensory changes that can affect the coordination between the oral phase of swallowing and the pharyngeal phase of swallowing.
7. Damn Backpain
That's right; the old body starts to ache a little more, especially in the lower back area. Most people start noticing back pain between the ages of 40 and 60. However, there isn't necessarily cause for concern if it starts younger—some people begin to feel the effects of an aging spine as young as 30. While a little bit of spine pain is perfectly normal, there are several signs that back or neck pain is due to something more sinister, like a tumour or infection.
8. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Although you can develop carpal tunnel syndrome at any point in your life, the chance of getting carpal tunnel syndrome increases with age. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve, causing numbness and tingling in the hand and arm.
9. Gum Health
Oral hygiene is often something that is overlooked when we think about aging. However, when we age, our bone density decreases, leading to receding gum lines in the mouth, which leave the roots of your teeth more vulnerable to decay.
10. Teeth Sensitivity
In this case, we're talking about tooth sensitivity and not becoming more sensitive but less sensitive. This is because, over time, the nerves in your teeth get smaller and are therefore less reactive to stimulants. This might make it easier to bite into an ice block, but beware: It also makes you less likely to notice any cavities.
11. Shrinking Stature
Everybody shrinks as they age. Due to loss of bone density as well as muscle mass, it's inevitable. However, the rate at which people get shorter varies depending on factors like gender and lifestyle. You can control the rate at which you shrink by maintaining good posture, limiting alcohol and caffeine intake, and eating a balanced diet.
12. Bone Breaks
As you age, your bones lose calcium and minerals, which, in turn, makes them more brittle and prone to breakage. Maintaining a well-balanced diet full of calcium and vitamin D can help prevent excessive bone deterioration.
13. Muscle Mass
Muscle loss is natural and unavoidable for all adults—and believe it or not; it actually begins at 30. However, as this deterioration process is called, sarcopenia is slow-moving, so it typically doesn't manifest until you're in your 40's or 50's.
14. Muscle Recovery
Sports injuries and pulled muscles aren't as easy to get over once you reach a certain age. Due to a complex interaction of hormonal, biochemical, and physiological processes, the aging body requires more time to heal muscle wounds.
15. Decreased Senses
Smell and taste are highly connected senses—so when one deteriorates, the other does as well. And sadly, age can play a factor here. Taste buds naturally die off slowly over time, making you less keen to pick up certain flavours and taste profiles.
16. Joint Pain
Suppose your joints are feeling more rickety these days. In that case, it could be a sign of osteoarthritis, a typical (and unfortunate) part of aging that involves the deterioration of the cartilage between bones. However, though this cartilage naturally wears down over time, it can also be aggravated by certain factors like hormonal imbalance, obesity, and chronic inflammation.
17. Colds & Flus
One exciting bonus about getting older is your immunity to the common cold. By the time you reach middle age, your body will have been exposed to the common cold and other similar viruses enough to have become naturally immune.
18. Liver Power
Once you hit 40, don't expect to keep up with the 20-year-olds when it comes to drinking. In your later years, you'll find that not only do fewer drinks get you drunk, but your hangovers are distinctly worse. These are both primarily because of your liver's weakening ability to metabolize alcohol combined with the decreased amount of water in your body.
19. Sleepless Nights
Changes in sleep patterns are a normal part of aging. However, older adults tend to be less satisfied with their sleep quality and report waking more frequently in the night. Sleep troubles and insomnia can be indicative of underlying health problems associated with age as well.
20. Brain Fog
If you're having trouble thinking clearly, staying on track, or remembering even the tiniest things, you're probably experiencing brain fog. Though this sort of mental fuzziness can occur at any time from stress, fatigue, depression, and blood sugar imbalances, it is more commonly seen in people over 40 as the result of age-related hormonal changes.
21. Confused Reasoning
The brain actually begins deteriorating disturbingly early, but the changes in the brain are hardly noticeable until you reach your mid-40's when reasoning skills begin to slow down. Similarly to brain fog, you may notice your recall and problem-solving skills decreasing.
22. Less Sweating
As you age, your sweat glands change. The physiological sweat responses of postmenopausal women are significantly lower than younger women. This is because of a diminished response of the sweat glands due to structural alteration in the glands and skin cells.
23. Digestion Issues
The muscle deterioration caused by aging weakens the muscles of the digestive tract, which can cause digestive issues like heartburn, peptic ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome.
24. Lactose Intolerance
Now that you're in your 40's, you're going to have to decide whether that ice cream is worth the bloating, cramping, and diarrhea it might give you. But why does this happen? Well, a surprising number of people develop lactose intolerance as they age.
25. Hot Flushes
There's no denying that middle age hits women hardest, as this is when women first begin experiencing pre-menopause or perimenopause. The shifting hormones we experience wreak havoc on our bodies at this stage, causing hot flashes, among other sometimes confusing psychically responses.
26. Breast Cancer Risks
For women, the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. For example, if your current age is 40, the probability of developing invasive breast cancer in the next ten years is 1.45% or 1 in 69, which is a scary statistic.
27. Vaginal Dryness
Not only does middle age bring on menopause and an increased risk of breast cancer, but it also complicates sex. With age, the body slows its production of estrogen—the hormone responsible for creating vaginal lubrication—and as a result, many older women experience painful vaginal dryness.
28. Testosterone Levels
Our hormones are volatile, especially in middle age. However, no hormone is more finicky than testosterone. The hormone is typically less prevalent in older males—and this can be a problem, seeing as it's responsible for sex drive, sperm production, muscle mass, and energy.
29. Prostate Enlargement
Older men experience an increase in the size of their prostate. The primary symptoms of an enlarged prostate are urinary troubles and pain when climaxing.
30. Sex Drive
Your decreased sex drive once you hit 40 is just as psychological as it is hormonal. Our bodies begin to change at middle age, and social norms shift our focus toward slowing down instead of revving things up (i.e. retiring instead of chasing that promotion). These changes can lead to issues in self-perception, which can lower the libidos of men and women alike.
31. Arousal Issues
Age really affects our sex lives, including our ability to become aroused. Men and women experience this; however, Men are 15% more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction in their forties.
32. Fertility & Virility
Unlike women whose fertility begins decreasing around age 35, men remain fertile well into their later years. Still, the chances of conceiving in middle age are not great for anyone. Men over 40 are generally less fertile than their younger counterparts, as sperm motility and semen volume decrease with age.
33. More Wrinkles
Around 40, men and women alike begin experiencing changes in their skin, particularly in the face. As testosterone levels slowly drop, older men often notice their facial skin drying out and thinning, making wrinkles more apparent. The same goes for aging women, whose skin produces less oil due to lower estrogen levels.
34. Sagging Skin
As the body undergoes its natural aging process, the skin on the face appears less taut over time. With age, fat loses volume and shifts downward, making previously round and tight features look loose and saggy. Along with wrinkles, sagging skin on the face is most apparent on the ears, near the jawline, below the eyes, and at the tip of the nose.
Once you hit 40, you become more likely to develop small spots in places often exposed to the sun, such as the face or hands. So-called age spots or liver spots are believed to be the result of extensive UV exposure over time.
36. Age Growths
We start to see a typical lesion develop on people over 40 called seborrheic keratoses. These rough "wart-like growths" are scaly and dry, and they're most often found on the chest, on the back, on legs, and arms.
37. Saggy Bottoms
Sedentary jobs and hormonal changes during the aging process can shift fat storage from the rear end to the stomach; the result, unfortunately, can be a flat derrière that doesn't fill out clothing quite like it used to.
38. Bladder Control
Some of the more unfortunate muscles that weaken with age are the urinary tract muscles. That's why most postmenopausal women and men over 40 experience urinary incontinence.
Unfortunately for women, agonizing urinary tract infections can become a common occurrence both during and after menopause. Changes in vaginal architecture decreased estrogen, and urinary incontinence all play a role in this problem.
40. Weight Gain
If you're feeling a bit rounder in the midsection than you're used to now that you're in your 40's, you're not alone. Hormonal and lifestyle changes can lead to weight gain, especially in your 30's and 40's.
The Natures Help range is designed to walk with you through some of your most common complaints of "the change".
Why are we different: Working with experienced Naturopaths and researchers, we have embraced cultural medicines and practices of the last 1000 years and some modern years to formulate therapeutic products with validated evidence. As the old saying goes, "it does what it says on the box".
Written by Mona Hecke
Mona Hecke is a degree qualified Naturopath, nutrition specialist and health and wellness writer.
With over 20 years in the health industry, beginning with a focus on children and families, and a bestselling book ‘The Lunchbox Revolution’, Mona is now empowering women through education and conversation to take action and embrace change. Gut health, mindfulness, nutrition, hormones, and menopause are the topics that women want and need to know to create their healthy future.
Mona holds certifications in Lifestyle Coaching, Kinesiology, holistic herbal medicine, and nutrition.
A recognised leader in the health industry, Mona’s strong social media presence and passion for influencing change will continue to be a catalyst for health reform for the benefit of every Australian.