Women’s Wellness: Menopause, Cardiovascular Health, and Pelvic Care
Menopause, cardiovascular health and pelvic health physiotherapy.
Although physiotherapy may not be your first port of call for help with menopause, there are many things in our physio toolbox which can be beneficial in managing menopausal symptoms enabling the support of good cardiovascular health as we age. Women often say they are unsure about recognizing early menopausal symptoms.
What is menopause and perimenopause?
- Menopause is a natural part of the course of life. It is the point in time at which the periods stop. It occurs between 45-55 yrs but maybe earlier too.
- There are over 40 symptoms of menopause. They will affect each woman differently. 80% of women experience ongoing menopausal symptoms for some time after the menopause.
- Menopausal symptoms are caused by deficiencies in oestrogen and progesterone hormone levels.
- Perimenopause are the years preceding the menopause where we are still having periods but we are starting to experience menopausal symptoms due to fluctuating hormone levels. Perimenopause will often start in the forties but for some women it will start in the thirties.
Recognizing Early Perimenopausal Changes
The perimenopause is a window of opportunity for your health as the decisions that you make around managing your symptoms can subtly impact your health in the decades that follow. Early recognition is key for symptom management. The Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation has published a list of very early perimenopausal changes. The presence of any three may define the start of perimenopause for women with regular menstrual cycles.
The list includes a recent onset of:
- Heavy and /or longer menstrual flow
- Shorter menstrual cycle lengths </= 25 days
- Sore, swollen or lumpy breasts
- New / Increased menstrual cramps
- Mid-sleep awakening
- Onset of night sweats especially around flow
- New / markedly increased migraine headaches
- New / increased premenstrual mood swings
- Notable unexplained weight gain.
Reductions in oestrogen impact the anatomy and function of the pelvic floor. 1/3 women develop Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI); and this often emerges during the perimenopausal years. Of these women, it is estimated, 1/2 will give up exercise in an attempt to avoid SUI episodes. Strengthening of pelvic floor muscle exercises through individualised and supervised pelvic floor muscles exercises will improve the support and control of the bladder, ultimately empowering women to maintain a healthy active lifestyle.
Maintaining Cardiovascular Health
Oestrogen is a known cardio protector and so the importance of maintaining cardiovascular fitness during and beyond the perimenopause is further underlined. Pelvic health physiotherapists are well positioned to individually advise you on safe and effective exercise programs which take into consideration your past medical history, your exercise preference and goals thereby keeping some of the other side effects of menopause such as stress vulnerability, tendency to soft tissue injuries, reduced bone density and tendency to weight gain in check.
PMC Physio Recommendation
At PMC Physiotherapy, we understand the unique challenges that the perimenopausal phase can bring to women’s health. Our expert pelvic health physiotherapists are here to support you on your journey towards better cardiovascular health and improved pelvic well-being. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our specialised team for personalised guidance, tailored exercise programs, and comprehensive assessments. Take charge of your health today and embrace the menopausal transition with confidence. Contact us to schedule your consultation and let us help you thrive during this transformative phase of life.
PMC Physiotherapy Clinic, Unit 36, Dunboyne Business Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath
01 8253 997