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pelvic floor physical therapy for menopause

September is Healthy Aging Month!

Curious about pelvic floor physical therapy for menopause? Read on.

You’ve probably already considered a visit to your primary care doctor and your gynecologist. But what about pelvic floor physical therapy for menopause?

About 6,000 women enter menopause every day in the US, usually between the ages of 45 and 55; and as life expectancy increases, so does the number of years most women will spend on the other side of it. Approximately half of all women can expect to live 40% of their lives in the post-menopausal stage. It makes sense to develop a solid strategy for optimal health, the earlier the better – and regular physical therapy can be an important component of that plan.

Many people tend to think of physical therapy in terms of injury recovery; but there’s a lot more to the specialty than that. A qualified women’s health physical therapist can fast track postpartum recovery, maximize strength training, even help transform your sex life… and ease women through ‘the change’ in ways most never consider.

Screening And Assessment Tools

Physical therapy is a very proactive specialty; and women’s health physical therapists are especially attuned to the importance of screenings, diagnostic and progress assessments, and patient education. A physical therapist can recommend or perform assessments your primary care doctor or gynecologist don’t generally offer, like the Menopause Rating Scale or the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool. And they can work with your doctor(s) to create personalized services based on that data.

Pelvic Floor Therapy

Hormones affect more than your mood or body temperature; they can cause profound changes in your pelvic floor, especially just before and during menopause. Pelvic floor therapy is the cornerstone of women’s health physical therapy; and pelvic floor physical therapy for menopause can relieve or even prevent common concerns, from painful sex and urinary incontinence, to more serious conditions like pelvic organ prolapse. In addition to promoting good pelvic floor health and sexual function through menopause and beyond, it is often an overlooked alternative to surgeries, and it can reduce the need for - or at least lessen duration of - hormone replacement in women.

Strength Training

Musculoskeletal problems are another major concern in menopause. Although a variety of factors contribute to bone density loss and osteoporosis, a physical therapy regimen can help lower risks by building muscle, correcting postural problems, and maintaining a healthy weight. Many women’s health physical therapists incorporate pilates, yoga, or aquatic exercise into treatment as well.

Despite its challenges, menopause can be the beginning of a whole new phase of healthy, active living; and pelvic floor physical therapy for menopause can help ensure that your best years are still ahead of you. If you’re experiencing or approaching menopause, schedule an assessment with Femina PT to find out what we can offer you. And if you’re not quite there yet? Give us a call anyway – it’s never too early to experience the difference physical therapy can make in your quest for a lifetime of wellness.

 

Citation

Bullen Love D. Menopause: PTs Help to Ease ‘The Change’. Sept 2019. PT In Motion. 18-25.

What Our Patients Have to Say

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Testimonial by A.W., age 32

I wanted to let you know that my pelvic floor held strong and gave me no trouble whatsoever in my trail race this morning (12 miles)! In a way, I felt like I ran better than ever because my core feels so rock solid from all the exercises you have me doing. That was especially valuable on the technical downhill - I just flew down the trail because I had confidence in my balance and form. Thank you for helping me get back to doing what I love.

-- A.W., age 32
(completed Post-partum Renewal Program using the InTone biofeedback/stim unit)

Testimonial by R.H.

No one could tell me why I was having pain during sex--sharp pain, not just uncomfortable, pain. I was referred to Heather Jeffcoat after researching several different options. I had seen a specialist who told me physical therapy would not help and my only option was surgery. I really didn't want to go that route, so when we got a referral, I decided to try it--it can't hurt, I thought. I am so glad I did. She diagnosed the problem right away, which was a relief in itself.

To know why I was having pain eased my mind immensely. And to hear that she could fix it without surgery was another relief. She said she could fix the problem in 6 weeks. I think it was actually 4 for me. She was very methodical, and treated me as an intelligent human being capable of participating in my own recovery. I would absolutely recommend her to anyone. She did not try to prolong my session numbers, she worked hard to accommodate my schedule (and the fact that I had to bring a baby to sessions), and she was completely honest the entire time. It is so hard to find someone with these characteristics, much less a professional who is so good at what she does. She has my highest respect.

-- R.H.

Testimonial by J.H.

My last appointment with Heather was over 6 years ago but I still think of her every day. I don’t take for granted that I can easily get out of bed, care for my two active and busy young boys, run, play tennis, clean my house, or sit at a desk for several hours at a time. None of these tasks were easy for me before meeting Heather. Eight years ago my car was struck from behind by a tractor trailer that was estimated to have been speeding. I spent 3 years working with different PTs and Drs trying to heal and move on with my life. When I became pregnant and the hormone relaxin that “relaxes” all the joints of the body and the additional weight gain erased all my progress and I was suddenly in a lot of pain again. My OB sent me to Heather for one last try.

Read more: Testimonial by J.H.

Testimonial by M.N., age 28

A personal journey and testimonial from one of my patients:

I was diagnosed with vaginismus 4 years ago. I never heard of such medical condition until after I got married. At first my husband and I didn't know what to do, we didn't know what the issues were or how to overcome it. Being born and raised in Armenia and being Christian I wasn't that open about talking to sex with others and so it wasn't easy to seek help. But eventually I went to an Ob-Gyn and luckily she knew about the medical condition (not many doctors know). She referred me to a physical therapist and I couldn't believe it and thought it's something I can handle myself. I ordered a kit from vaginismus.com and started practicing with dilators. There was some small progress but wasn't much helpful.

Read more: Testimonial by M.N., age 28

Testimonial by A.M.

Months after giving birth, it was difficult for me to go from a sitting or lying position up to a full standing position without feeling that I had to remain hunched over until a bit of time had passed to get fully upright. However, after taking Heather’s course, I learned exercises to get my body back to normal. She also showed me correct ways to lift and carry my son as well as put him in/take him out of the carseat and stroller. This class was really beneficial and Heather is a wonderful teacher who made me feel very comfortable.

-- A.M.

Testimonial by M.N., age 28

A personal journey and testimonial from one of my patients:

I was diagnosed with vaginismus 4 years ago. I never heard of such medical condition until after I got married. At first my husband and I didn't know what to do, we didn't know what the issues were or how to overcome it. Being born and raised in Armenia and being Christian I wasn't that open about talking to sex with others and so it wasn't easy to seek help. But eventually I went to an Ob-Gyn and luckily she knew about the medical condition (not many doctors know). She referred me to a physical therapist and I couldn't believe it and thought it's something I can handle myself. I ordered a kit from vaginismus.com and started practicing with dilators. There was some small progress but wasn't much helpful.

Read more: Testimonial by M.N., age 28

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