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Changes to the body during menopause

At Total Physiotherapy Manly Vale, we are strong believers in a preventative approach to health. Menopause is a time of change in a woman’s body including in her pelvic health. We are introducing a menopausal pelvic health check to help identify any symptoms you may have, assess pelvic floor muscle strength and advise on any steps you should take to prevent future problems.

The transition to menopause

Talk to any woman experiencing the transition to menopause about their symptoms and they’ll likely mention hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia and irritability. Just as common and troublesome are the changes to your pelvic and musculoskeletal health. With regard to the pelvic floor, this can include vulvovaginal dryness or pain, urinary urgency and/or incontinence, awareness of pelvic organ prolapse or constipation. Tendons, particularly in the wrist, shoulder, elbow and hip,  become less robust and are therefore more susceptible to tendinopathy (previously called tendonitis). There is also a significant reduction in bone density at the time of menopause.

So why does this happen?

Changes to the body during menopause 1

The main reason is the reduction in oestrogen levels that begins at the time of perimenopause. Perimenopause refers to the time from the start of symptoms associated with menopause including changes to the regularity/heaviness of periods. A woman is considered to have reached menopause once she has not had a period for 12 months.

Changes to the body during menopause 2

This picture above shows the changes that occur in the vaginal walls due to a lack of oestrogen. This can lead to dryness and discomfort. Similar changes occur to the bladder wall and urethra and can contribute to urinary urgency and incontinence. Your doctor can help with medical management of these symptoms and there is good evidence to show that pelvic floor exercises can help with all these symptoms.

Pelvic health symptoms and success of physiotherapy

symptoms and physiotherapy

Bone density and menopause

Menopause is also a time to consider your bone density and make changes to maximise it now so that you are less likely to develop osteoporosis in the future. Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake as well as exercise that includes resistance training are the key factors.

Changes to the body during menopause 3

Graph from www.rcn.org.uk/clinical-topics/womens-health/osteoporosis

Whether you have current symptoms or are looking to prevent future problems, book in to see one of our Women’s Health physiotherapists today. Contact us on 02 9907 0321 or find out more about our Women's health service offering here.

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