Menopause is no joke and can affect the body drastically! It seems like that should be the time in your life that you are living it up and doing everything you enjoy. And most of you still are! But there are these pesty side effects of menopause that always seem to get in the way (you know I'm talking about those darn hot flashes)!
We just recently held our first "Your Body Without Estrogen" workshop last week where we covered these topics in much greater detail and gave solutions for these issues. It was a great group of women and they all learned a ton at the workshop. If you are interested in attending a menopause workshop, check out our upcoming events for the next scheduled workshop.
So as many of you may already know some of the changes that occur with menopause, we are going to talk a little more in depth about them. During menopause, estrogen levels drop and is a major factor for all of these symptoms. While having hormone replacement therapy is one solution, we will be focusing on more natural ways of alleviating symptoms including women's health physical therapy. Keep reading to learn how!
1. Hot Flashes & Insomnia
How annoying, hey?!? Both of these are caused primarily by the drop in estrogen that occurs in the body. Although there isn't a great solution, exercise can help alleviate both hot flashes and insomnia. Hot flashes can also be controlled by diet to some degree so avoiding triggers such as alcohol and coffee. Insomnia can also be influenced by stress in your life so trying to manage stress and unwind before bed can also help you get some extra ZZZ's.
Experiencing vaginal dryness is common as women age but it can lead to other issues such as painful intercourse and incontinence. It's caused by the loss of estrogen which ultimately slows down mucous production in those areas creating the dryness. Using a topical estrogen cream can help this by giving you just a little bit of the hormone to that specific location. It's also a good idea to make sure that painful intercourse is not stemming from trigger points in the pelvic floor by having it assessed by a physical therapist.
3. Weight Gain
As estrogen levels drop, it can contribute to increasing body fat and decreasing muscle and bone mass. A lot of women that come into our clinic want help to build up muscle again because of this. When you lose muscle mass, it slows your metabolism down which can make it much harder to keep excess weight off. Exercising will help increase your muscle mass and burn more fat. It will also keep your bones strong depending on the type of exercise you do which is important for long term health.
Nobody likes having to run to the bathroom, wear a pad, or worse, having to bring a change of clothes along in case of incontinence. We tend to see women coming into the office with this issue as they are getting closer to menopause but it is not due entirely to the decrease in estrogen. Often times it is multi-factorial which culminate for many years eventually leading to incontinence. Having dryness can exacerbate the incontinence as well so trying to resolve that can make incontinence a little better. Since it is often times complex, it is best to see a pelvic physical therapist that specializes in it to make sure you can fully resolve the incontinence. If you are in the Milwaukee area (we have locations in Hales Corners and Wauwatosa) and have questions, contact me to schedule a free consultation where we can talk more about these issues and how to resolve them.
Having a steady routine with exercise and a healthy diet will help you navigate the waters through menopause and if you want extra help, don't be afraid to ask for it. Life is too short to suffer on a daily basis! Have a great week everyone!