There’s been a great deal of coverage in the press recently about the menopause to help raise awareness of what women may be experiencing during this phase of their life. The BBC ran a whole series of daily features on the subject to help raise understanding of partners, family members and employers about the symptoms some women can suffer, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.
It’s something no woman can avoid or necessarily delay, some women may sail through it totally symptom free or at least, with few symptoms. For other women, they may have severe symptoms that last for years before the menopause finally settles. The usual age range for the menopause is between 45-55 though there are cases of women going through it much earlier in life.
The symptoms of the menopause are vast and varied, essentially due to hormonal changes in the levels of oestrogen, including:
- Hot flushes
- night sweats
- breast pain
- itchy skin
- irregular periods
- pelvic pain/ loss of strength in pelvic floor
- mood swings
- sleep disorders
- joint pain
- weight gain
- sudden onset of allergies
- hair loss
- stress, anxiety, depression
- Loss of bone density (osteoporosis)
How Can Physiotherapy Help During or After the Menopause?
There are many ways in which physiotherapy and/or massage therapy can help with your menopause symptoms. We may not be able to help with all symptoms but many of those that can have long term consequences can certainly be helped.
In cases of pelvic floor weakness, seeing a specialist Women’s Health physiotherapist* can help you with exercises to regain strength and control again. Women’s Health acupuncture could also help with pelvic pain too.
One of the other main symptoms that we can help with is bone density/osteoporosis. Brittle bones as it is sometimes referred to, can lead to bones breaking very easily, however, if this is addressed early enough in life or even during the menopause, this will be a huge help.
To help prevent osteoporosis no matter your age, the golden rules are as follows:
- Eating a balanced diet (you know the rules! no processed food, plenty of fresh fruit and veg) and keep your weight under control.
- Take a good quality vitamin D and calcium supplement (particularly important if you are taking a contraceptive pill).
- Stop Smoking.
- Drink sensibly and in moderation.
- Take regular exercise that involves resistance and balance exercises (Pilates and yoga are great for this as well as aqua aerobics).
- If you’re suffering with any menopause related joint or muscle pain, seek help from your physiotherapist for help in alleviating pain and maintaining range of movement and mobility.
You can also read our full blog about Osteoporosis here: http://elite-therapy.com/osteoporosis-what-you-need-to-know-and-do/
Your mental and emotional well being can be affected too, not just because of the physical symptoms but the change in hormones affects the brain function, leading to mood swings, depression and anxiety. This is where deep tissue massage can help to relax your mind and body as well as addressing any aches and pains.
The most important thing to remember during this phase of your life is that you’re not alone and help with your symptoms is out there. Thanks to the media bringing the subject in to the open, we should talk about it and not be afraid to ask for help. We can’t stop it or cure it, but we can help you combat some of the symptoms!
For more information, here’s some useful links:
- Women’s Health Physiotherapy is available by appointment only at Elite Therapy with Lorna Rollason.