Oct 26, 2021

Menopause and Women's Health - expert help from our specialists

World Menopause Day is a global awareness day takes place each year on the 18th of October and this year’s theme is on Bone Health.  The campaign aims to raise awareness about the effects of menopause on health and well-being around the world, encouraging early diagnosis and treatment of related conditions such as osteoporosis which often affect postmenopausal woman more than others in the population due to lower bone density levels after years without periods.

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Did you know there are 34 recognised symptoms of the menopause? Most people would recognise hot flushes, night sweats and changes to their periods as symptoms of the menopause but there are many more, which are often attributed to other things. The hormone oestrogen has over 400 functions in our bodies so it's no wonder that many body systems are influenced by the hormonal fluctuations that we experience in the peri-menopausal and menopausal years. Symptoms can include muscle stiffness, joint pain, urinary frequency/urgency, incontinence, vaginal dryness, dry skin, itching, weight gain, breast pain, pain with intimacy, memory problems and poor concentration to name a few. Many ladies don't even recognise these symptoms as features of hormonal change.

Our role as specialists in Women's Health Physiotherapy is broad and we have much to offer. We might even be the first healthcare professional to consider if the range of symptoms you are experiencing could be the menopause, when you visit us for something seemingly unrelated. We can provide advice and education on the management of numerous symptoms of the menopause and signpost to relevant health providers and useful resources. We will also liaise with our medical colleagues on your behalf where we feel prescription medication would be recommended.

Our specialist field focuses on the assessment and treatment of pelvic health symptoms of the menopause; specifically, urinary urgency/frequency, incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, vaginal dryness and pelvic pain. Our experts use a wide range of treatment strategies encompassing bladder training to relieve urgency, pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation to improve leaking and internal muscle release to treat tight, painful pelvic muscles.

An assessment with us will initially involve taking a detailed history to establish the nature of your symptoms and to understand your past medical history for example past surgeries, gynaecological concerns and overall general health. We will usually recommend an internal vaginal examination which will guide our treatment strategies; this also provides an opportunity to assess your ability to contract and release the pelvic muscles. This is a discreet, brief examination but quite unlike what your GP or Gynaecologist may do. In addition to looking for signs of prolapse and checking skin condition, we test muscle function and provide you with a bespoke exercise prescription based on our findings. We may recommend strategies to release tight muscles rather than a strength programme - not all leaking or prolapses are caused by muscles weakness! We are also well positioned to guide you in managing hormonal fluctuations through stress management techniques, exercise and improving sleep habits.

An individualised assessment is key and is the first step to effectively treating these symptoms. The evidence for our intervention is strong - the vast majority of women who leak urine will improve with supervised pelvic floor rehabilitation. Ladies do not need to tolerate these uncomfortable, distressing symptoms which can have a big impact on quality of life.

On average it takes women in the UK seven years to seek help for these symptoms - why not book an assessment with our women's health specialists, Jo and Moira, now to find out how they can help you through this life phase? Book your appointment now: Tel: 01525 377751 or feel free to email Moira or Jo at St Judes on: