What is the Menopause?

Menopause is a completely natural process that happens around the age of 50. Medically speaking, menopause is said to start when your menstrual cycles has ended for a year. The reason for this change is a decrease in the production of your reproductive hormones: oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Effectively your ovaries go into retirement. Some other parts of your body will continue to produce smaller amounts of those hormones (as long as you are not too much in your fight and flight mode as your stress hormone cortisol has a tendency to nibble away on the reproductive hormones) This is partly why some extreme self-care and taking stock is such an important aspect of a positive menopause.

Working together with GP’s, Physios, Gynaecologists, Nutritionists and information resources like Positive Pause & Pelvic Roar, we have developed a pick and mix of menopause solutions to help you navigate around this phase of your life in the most optimal way for you. There is no silver bullet, we cannot provide you with an easy 3 step plan. Everybody’s menopause is different and it is for you to plan yours.

What can you do?

Common symptoms women’s health physio’s can help you with during the peri-menopause and post-menopausal:

  • Painful sex & vaginal dryness or itchiness, Vulvae & vaginal Atrophy
  • Bowel leakage and urgency
  • Reduced control over wind
  • Vaginal flatulence (otherwise referred to as ‘fanny farts’)
  • Urinary leakage, bladder urgency
  • Urinary track infections
  • Prolapse symtoms: vaginal heaviness, dragging and/or bulging

If you have any of the symptoms above, we would recommend booking Menopause MOT with one of our practitioners.

For many of us, perimenopause & menopause is a time to take stock, and benefit from an MOT. Get your ducks in a row in preparation for the next phase of your life. We recommend all women at this stage to have a pelvic health check. We introduced this service in 2016, the feedback from women has been very positive. 

A Menopause MOT will involve the following:

  • A medical history check to discuss your general and hormonal health. We will ask you detailed questions about your pelvic floor, bladder and bowel function as well as any issues with sex.
  • An assessment of your weekly exercise routine and guidance to make sure you are on track, muscles are your best friend during and beyond the menopause. Taking into consideration bone, hormonal and cardiac health.
  • An assessment of your core, abdominals as well as an internal assessment to evaluate your internal pelvic health and measure the strength and control your pelvic floor muscles.
  • We will also discuss sleep, decompression from stress and nutrition

What else can you do?

Exercise

Exercise is a non-negotiable during and after the menopause as it benefits all aspects of your life. It is important for cognition, bone health and to stop you from losing too much muscle, which is a natural part of the ageing process

Recommendations from research are that women in their menopause benefit from exercising 300 mins a week to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. A few key ingredients:

  • Work your way into a sweat (mix moderate & vigorous activity at least 3 times per week)
  • Don’t over do it, rest & recover, work on a female template considering fluctuating hormones. If you are not feeling it, listen to your body.
  • Make sure exercise helps you to decompress from stress, not add to the stress.
  • Try to include resistance work to keep your bones healthy and reduce the risk of osteoporosis (loading either using your own body weight, high impact activity, stretch bands or actual weights.) This also will help to keep your testosterone levels balanced; it is all about vitality and quality of life.
  • As part of your aerobic exercise, include some high intensity interval training to build muscle and boost your metabolism.

Focus on your Pelvic Floor 

Pay some extra attention to your pelvic floor. They are the muscle group that are responsible for some pretty important functions like, bowel & bladder control, better sex as well as managing and preventing prolapse.

A study showed that women with continence issues, which often increases during the menopause, will wait for 6 years before they seek help; and only then will they mention it to their doctor if she is female, looks interested and is old enough.

We would recommend downloading the Squeezy App today and start your pelvic floor muscles exercises. If you are still not sure, make sure you book an appointment with a specialist women’s health physiotherapist.

 

For more information regarding the Menopause and to watch some helpful videos read our menopause blog here.

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