Pelvic Physiotherapy for Menopause

Experience the empowering benefits of InvigoPhysio’s pelvic floor physiotherapy for menopause today and reclaim control over your well-being. Don’t let menopausal discomfort hold you back – take the first step towards holistic wellness and thrive through menopause with confidence.

Menopause marks a significant milestone in a woman’s life, ushering in a range of physical and emotional adjustments. This hormonal shift not only affects mood and well-being but also impacts pelvic floor function and overall bodily health. Pelvic physiotherapy offers a holistic approach to address the diverse challenges of menopause.

At InvigoPhysio, we hold the belief that menopause need not be synonymous with overwhelming stress. Through pelvic physiotherapy, relief from these challenges becomes achievable. Below, we’ll explore how pelvic physiotherapy can guide individuals through the complexities of menopause, providing tailored solutions to ease this transformative journey.

What is Menopause?

Menopause is part of the natural biological process that marks the end of your menstrual cycle. It occurs when the ovaries stop making reproductive hormones, like estrogen, and start to run low on eggs.
These changes lead to no monthly menstrual periods and other physical changes. If you have not had a period for twelve consecutive months, you are considered menopausal. While menopause typically occurs in the 40s or 50s, the average age in Canada is 51.5 years.
Menopause has three distinct phases that cover the change in hormone levels and come with unique characteristics.

The Stages of Menopause

Perimenopause is a transitional period that marks the early stages of menopause and can last for years, sometimes even a decade. During this time, you may start to have menopause-like symptoms. These include changes in cycle length. They also include the worsening of PMS symptoms, hot flushes, night sweats, sleep problems, dryness, UTIs, and bladder issues.

Menopause is the natural stage that occurs in women when they have gone a whole year without having a menstrual period. (Provided no other medical condition or medication affects their periods.) While perimenopause can last between 8 – 10 years, menopause, on the other hand, is a single day in time. It is officially diagnosed when a woman has not had a period for an entire year. After this milestone, she enters the postmenopausal stage. At this stage, the ovaries stop releasing eggs, and estrogen levels are now at their lowest.

Postmenopause is the stage that follows the day after you reach menopause. Many women continue to experience menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. These symptoms can last for several years. It is crucial to start cardiovascular disease (CVD) screening at the age of 40, as the risk of CVD continues to increase beyond menopause. Additionally, during the menopause transition, there is an increased risk of osteoporosis and CVD due to rapid bone loss. This typically begins 1 year before the last period.

Premature menopause, also known as early menopause, is a less common stage that often goes undiscussed. It is also often misdiagnosed. It can occur naturally or result from conditions such as premature ovarian insufficiency (due to ovary removal, hysterectomy, pelvic radiotherapy, or autoimmune disease) or other hereditary factors. Early menopause may manifest with the signs and symptoms typically associated with menopause occurring before the usual age range, often between 40 and 45 years old.

Navigating through the challenges of menopause can be overwhelming for many women. What’s often overlooked is how this transition can bring about sudden onset or worsening of pelvic floor symptoms, including pelvic organ prolapse and pelvic pain. Surprisingly, many are unaware of the connection between menopause and these issues. However, research indicates that exercises and pelvic physiotherapy can effectively manage various menopausal symptoms, such as mood changes, weight gain, joint and muscle pain, hot flushes, and memory problems. This underscores the importance of seeking assistance from a pelvic physiotherapist with a background in movement, capable of providing holistic treatment while addressing both the physical and emotional aspects of menopause.

Signs and Symptoms of Menopause

During the months or years leading up to menopause (perimenopause), you might experience various signs and symptoms, including:

  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal dryness, itching, or soreness, changes in sex drive
  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain
  • Thinning hair
  • Dry skin

While the signs and symptoms leading up to menopause can vary in intensity and duration, and not every woman would experience all the outlined issues, it is important to work with healthcare professionals who understand this transition. Collaborating with a diverse team of healthcare professionals, including a knowledgeable gynecologist, a specialized naturopath, a pelvic health physiotherapist, and possibly a mental health professional, ensures a comprehensive approach tailored to individual needs during the menopausal transition. As the pelvic floor undergoes significant changes during this period, potentially causing distressing issues, pelvic physiotherapy emerges as a valuable tool in addressing these concerns, promoting overall well-being, and enhancing the quality of life during this transformative phase.

Common Pelvic Floor Issues during Menopause

Navigating menopause brings numerous physical and emotional changes due to hormonal fluctuations. Understanding and recognizing the pelvic floor dysfunctions that can occur during this time is crucial for women’s health.

Stress urinary incontinence: This occurs when urine leaks during activities that generate pressure on the bladder, such as coughing, sneezing, running, jumping, or vigorous exercise. The weakening of pelvic floor muscles can contribute to stress incontinence.

Overactive bladder (urge incontinence): You may experience frequent urges to pass urine, often described as the “key in the door syndrome.” It results from an overactive bladder and can lead to urge incontinence.

Bowel incontinence: Involves the inability to control bowel movements, leading to unintentional stool leakage.

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP): During menopause, hormonal shifts cause changes in the vulva and vagina such as dryness and atrophy, known as genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GUSM). Reduced estrogen and blood flow can weaken tissue strength and elasticity, leading to the descent or dropping of pelvic organs. Some women may feel a sensation of heaviness in the vagina, almost like sitting on an egg or experiencing newfound weight. This feeling could indicate pelvic organ prolapse, where organs like the bladder, uterus, or rectum descend from their usual positions.

Pain during sex: Vaginal dryness from GUSM can lead to fragile, thin tissues with reduced elasticity, along with vaginal shrinkage. This contributes to discomfort and pain during intercourse.

Vulvar skin issues: Additionally, women experiencing menopause are more prone to developing autoimmune skin conditions such as lichen sclerosis and lichen planus

Thriving through Menopause with Pelvic Physiotherapy

At InvigoPhysio, we employ a diverse range of techniques, including neurofunctional acupuncture, visceral mobilization, hypopressive exercises, Pilates, and Yoga, to provide a holistic and comprehensive treatment approach addressing the physical discomforts associated with menopause. Pelvic physiotherapy during menopause offers numerous benefits:

Improve deep core strength and stability: Targeted abdominal exercises activate and enhance deep abdominal muscle strength and stability, promoting better support for pelvic organs and overall posture, while also relieving lower back and hip pain.

Increase pelvic floor muscle tone and strength: Specific pelvic floor exercises strengthen pelvic floor muscles, alleviating pressure, heaviness, and the sensation of pelvic organ prolapse. At InvigoPhysio, we also incorporate the hypopressive method to further reduce distressing symptoms of pelvic prolapse. Curious about the benefits of hypopressive? Learn more here.

Enhance bladder and bowel control: Strong pelvic floor muscles lead to improved control over bladder and bowel movements. When combined with bladder and bowel retraining, optimal results can be achieved.

Improve pleasures: Contracting the pelvic floor muscles enhances blood flow, potentially intensifying or improving orgasms and positively impacting sexual health.

Provide relief for painful intercourse: A pelvic health physiotherapist can recommend strategies to improve vulvar skin health and pelvic floor elasticity, reducing pelvic pain during sexual activities.

Improve joint mobility and flexibility: Despite menopause-related decreases in bone density, muscle strength, and joint comfort, targeted exercises maintain bone strength, muscle tone, and promote better posture. Engaging in physical activities enhances sleep, cognitive function, and mood. Studies indicate modest weight loss reduces incontinence, emphasizing the need for personalized physiotherapy guidance considering individual health and injuries.

The InvigoPhysio Approach to Pelvic Physiotherapy

Whether you’re navigating perimenopause or aiming to improve your quality of life postmenopause, our goal is to collaborate with you in developing a personalized treatment plan tailored to your unique needs and preferences.

Assessment and Initial Consultation

We conduct a comprehensive assessment to grasp your symptoms, medical background, and concerns regarding pelvic health during menopause.

This initial evaluation may encompass various tests, including assessments of posture, body alignment, functional movements, diastasis recti, and the activation and strength of core abdominals and surrounding pelvic muscles.

During the external pelvic floor examination, we evaluate the quality of the vulvar skin and tissue. With your consent, the internal examination assesses the mobility, strength, and coordination of your pelvic floor muscles.

Curious about what to anticipate during your first pelvic physiotherapy assessment? Learn more here.

Treatment Plan Tailored to Your Needs

Following your assessment and thorough consultation, we collaborate with you to design a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs, activity goals, and overall health.

Recognizing the uniqueness of each individual’s menopause journey, our approach is to customize interventions accordingly. Your treatment plan may incorporate a variety of therapies, including pelvic floor exercises, manual therapy techniques, acupuncture, K-taping, and a combination of yoga, Pilates, hypopressive, and conditioning exercises carefully selected to address your concerns and optimize pelvic health.

Our priority is to empower you with education and guidance, ensuring you possess the knowledge and tools to actively participate and thrive during your menopause transition.

Whether you aim to alleviate discomfort, resolve bladder leakage, enhance sexual pleasure, or safely continue exercising with prolapse, our comprehensive treatment plan is designed to support you in achieving your pelvic health goals.

Therapies Offered

Our individualized pelvic floor exercise program is meticulously crafted to strengthen and restore optimal function to the pelvic floor muscles, specifically targeting issues such as urinary or bowel leakage and pelvic organ prolapse.

Additionally, our manual therapy techniques aim to alleviate pain and discomfort while improving blood flow and optimizing muscle function in the pelvic area.

Supplementary therapies, tailored to individual needs, may include neurofunctional acupuncture to release muscle tension and promote healing, as well as K-taping to support and stabilize affected areas, ultimately restoring optimal biomechanics and functionality.

Education and guidance are integral components of our approach, empowering individuals with knowledge and resources to better understand their condition and make informed decisions about their recovery journey. Our team provides personalized advice and strategies to support ongoing pelvic health and managing pain associated with joint and muscle stiffness.

Furthermore, our unique exercise program integrates Pilates, yoga, hypopressive, and conditioning exercises. These exercises complement therapeutic interventions to improve overall mobility and strength in the pelvic region while also enhancing bone density and cardiovascular health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pelvic physiotherapy for menopause encompasses a range of techniques and therapies aimed at addressing the multitude of symptoms associated with this stage of life. It involves a combination of exercise, manual therapy, education, and lifestyle adjustments to enhance overall well-being during menopause and its transitions.

The primary goal of pelvic physiotherapy is to alleviate common issues like urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, vaginal dryness, and sexual dysfunction. By focusing on strengthening pelvic floor muscles, improving bladder control, enhancing sexual function, and fostering overall pelvic health, this therapy seeks to provide relief and support throughout the menopausal journey.

Pelvic physiotherapy offers an effective means of managing the varied symptoms of menopause. It tackles common issues like muscle stiffness, joint pain, decreased bone density, urinary incontinence, and changes in posture and balance through personalized therapies and exercises. With its individualized approach, pelvic physiotherapy provides a comforting avenue for addressing discomfort and improving overall well-being during this significant stage of life.

There are typically no age restrictions for undergoing pelvic physiotherapy for menopause. Physio interventions can be tailored to women of all ages experiencing symptoms related to menopause and its transitions. However, starting treatment early can lead to a better and faster recovery period if you’re experiencing pelvic floor dysfunctions related to menopause.

At InvigoPhysio, we incorporate a variety of exercises and techniques in pelvic physiotherapy to tackle symptoms of menopause. Our approach may involve treatment modalities like tissue release and neurofunctional acupuncture, tailored to address specific concerns. We also integrate targeted exercises focusing on pelvic floor muscles.

Furthermore, we often incorporate yoga and Pilates-based routines, along with hypopressive techniques, to effectively manage pelvic floor symptoms related to menopause. This comprehensive approach aims to optimize pelvic health and enhance overall well-being during this stage of life.

The time it takes to observe improvements varies for each individual’s response to therapy. Factors such as the severity of symptoms, adherence to treatment, and overall health influence the effectiveness of physiotherapy in managing menopausal symptoms. Typically, noticeable improvements may begin within a few weeks to months after starting physiotherapy.

For optimal results, the frequency of your physiotherapy sessions may vary depending on your individual needs, treatment goals, and the severity of symptoms. Following your initial appointment, we will customize a treatment schedule plan tailored to your specific situation. Typically, follow-up sessions are scheduled bi-weekly initially and spaced further apart as progress is made. Consistent attendance and adherence to your treatment plan are crucial for achieving the best outcomes.

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