The Benefits of Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy in Menopause

By Lakeview Physio
Julie Tschofen
MScPT, Acupuncture, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist
Pelvic Health
September 15, 2023

Menopause is a natural and transformative phase in a woman's life. While it can bring about various physical changes, pelvic floor issues don't have to be an inevitable part of the process.

Menopause is the time that mark the end of menses. It's diagnosed after you've gone 12 months without a period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51. Menopause is a natural biological process. A common but often overlooked aspect of menopause is its impact on pelvic health. Many women experience pelvic floor changes during this time, which can be uncomfortable and distressing, especially when treatment and education are unavailable. Pelvic floor physiotherapy offers targeted solutions to alleviate pelvic floor issues.

Understanding the Pelvic Floor:

Before delving into the benefits of pelvic floor physiotherapy, it's essential to understand the role of the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that form a supportive hammock-like structure at the base of the pelvis. It plays a crucial role in supporting the pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum, and is responsible for maintaining continence and sexual function. A pelvic floor physiotherapist can provide education on anatomy and function which can help women understand their bodies and where the problem lies.

Common Pelvic Floor Issues in Menopause:

During menopause, declining estrogen levels can lead to changes in the pelvic floor, resulting in various issues that women may face, such as:

  • Urinary Incontinence: There two types of incontinence which are classified as stress and urge incontinence. Weak and/or tight pelvic floor muscles may lead to stress urinary incontinence, where a woman may experience urine leakage while coughing, sneezing, laughing or during impact activities. Sometimes habits like frequent trips to the bathroom to empty the bladder as well as consuming bladder irritants, like caffeine, can contribute to urge incontinence, where urine leakage happens after a sudden urge to void.
  • Vaginal Dryness: Reduced estrogen levels can cause thinning and dryness of vaginal tissues, leading to discomfort during intercourse and an increased risk of vaginal infections. Sexual function and sensation can change. There are many products, lubricants, moisturizers, and devices that can be used to improve function.
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Menopause can contribute to pelvic organ prolapse, where the bladder, uterus, or rectum descend into the vaginal canal due to weakened pelvic floor support.

The Benefits of Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy:

Personalized Assessment: Pelvic floor physiotherapy begins with a comprehensive assessment of a woman's pelvic health. They will conduct a thorough evaluation of the pelvic floor muscles, identifying any weaknesses, tension, or dysfunction. This may involve in internal vaginal or rectal exam.

Targeted Exercises: Based on the assessment, a tailored exercise program is designed to strengthen, release, and rehabilitate the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises help improve muscle tone, support the pelvic organs, and address issues like urinary incontinence. Assessment and treatment many also involve other areas of the body like the feet, hips, pelvis, low back, and rib cage.

Education and Lifestyle Modifications: Pelvic floor physiotherapists educate women about their pelvic anatomy and the changes occurring during menopause. They also provide guidance on lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes and hydration, to improve pelvic health.

Menopause is a natural and transformative phase in a woman's life. While it can bring about various physical changes, pelvic floor issues don't have to be an inevitable part of the process. Pelvic floor physiotherapy is a powerful and non-invasive approach to addressing pelvic health concerns during menopause. By empowering women with knowledge, personalized exercises, and targeted therapies, pelvic floor physiotherapy can significantly improve the quality of life for women during this critical stage. Seeking the guidance of a skilled pelvic floor physiotherapist can be a crucial step in maintaining pelvic health and overall well-being during menopause and beyond.

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