Menopause and the importance of excellent care
Updated: May 2
It's May and Women's Health is our focus this month. For this blog we look at the menopause, the importance of the hormone oestrogen and if you're struggling with menopausal symptoms how a Women's Health physio can help you.
Oestrogen affects almost every cell in a woman's body - our muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, heart and even our brain tissues have oestrogen receptors. As hormone levels reduce and we approach menopause, we can feel the effects on our tissues with a variety of symptoms.
Menopause is famous for causing hot flushes and low mood but did you know changing oestrogen levels can also cause:
Joint pain and stiffness
Pelvic floor weakness, bladder urgency and/or leakage
Anxiety (among other things!).
The perimenopause is the 5-15 years leading up to the menopause when hormone levels fluctuate and fall. Menopause itself takes just one day and is the day that marks one year since having a menstrual period. The average age for menopause is 51, but symptoms can persist after this time as oestrogen levels remain low.
During peri-menopausal and post-menopausal years women, including those on HRT, may need to adapt their lifestyle to help manage any bothersome symptoms.
What to avoid:
Avoiding or cutting down on caffeine and alcohol can help with hot flushes, sleep problems and bladder urgency.
What to add:
A nutritious balanced diet rich in whole foods, Omega 3 and B vitamins can help to improve brain function and weight management.
What to find time for:
Meditation, mindfulness and guided relaxation to reduce anxiety, depression and improve sleep quality.
Regular exercise can be like a magic drug which helps improve muscle strength, bone density, tissue flexibility, sleep quality, weight management, pelvic floor strength, heart health and even brain function.
What type of exercise?
Yoga or Pilates can be a great way to build balance, strength and pelvic floor function
Walking or running can improve cardiovascular fitness and bone density
Strength training are important to build muscle mass, improve bone health and some evidence shows it can even help with hot flushes and brain function.
Further resources - it's important to seek out quality, professional advice. We'd recommend:
Following Dr Louise Newson is a GP and Menopause specialist, she has an Instagram page @menopause_doctor
Browsing www.womens-health-concern.org with lots of really good information and resources.
Reading Davina McCall's Menopausing The positive roadmap to your second spring.
If you are struggling with menopause symptoms your first step should be to consult your GP. If you would like help with any of the issues raised above, such as returning to exercise or pelvic floor symptoms like bladder weakness or prolapse book an appointment with Charlotte our specialist Women's Health physiotherapist. Charlotte will help you work on your strength and co-ordination in this area so you can start feeling like YOU again!
Click here to take you to our online booking or send a booking enquiry regarding Women's Health physiotherapy or our Pilates classes to firstname.lastname@example.org.