Menopause is a natural part of life for women, but can take its toll on the body. In this article we outline how women can manage the symptoms of menopause, both medically and through simple lifestyle changes.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 & 55 years of age, as a woman’s oestrogen levels decline. In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach menopause is 51, although some women may prematurely go through menopause before the age of 40. Biologically, menopause occurs when a woman stops menstruating and is no longer able to become pregnant naturally.
What Are The Symptoms Of Menopause
Early signs of menopause typically reveal themselves as changes to the normal pattern of a woman’s periods; they may start having either unusually light or unusually heavy periods. Throughout these early states of menopause, periods may continue to have an irregular pattern up until the point where they will stop occurring altogether.
The symptoms of menopause generally last for around 4 years after a woman’s last period with common symptoms including:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Low mood
- Vaginal dryness
- Reduced libido
However, as with most things in life, everyone experiences the symptoms of menopause differently. Most women will experience some menopausal symptoms, but they will vary depending on the individual in question. The more severe the symptoms are, the more significant impact menopause will have on your daily life.
How Is Menopause Managed?
Menopause and its symptoms can be managed medically with hormone replacement therapy. This involves introducing artificial oestrogen into a woman’s body to replace the natural decline of their oestrogen levels as a result of menopause.
As with most treatments, there are various risks and benefits to using hormone replacement therapy. Those considering the treatment should consult their GP to learn more about these risks and benefits, and to be assessed for suitability based upon their individual medical history.
There are also various lifestyle changes and self-management techniques that may aid in alleviating the symptoms of menopause, to which a Women’s Health Physiotherapist or Pelvic Health Specialist may be able to assist with.
How Can a Women’s Health Physiotherapist Help?
In addition to the medical treatment of hormone replacement therapy, there are also a wide range of lifestyle and self-management techniques that can be applied to daily life to aid in the management of menopausal symptoms. For example, if hot flushes and night sweats occur, these simple measures may help:
- Trying to reduce your stress levels
- Avoiding potential triggers such as spicy food, caffeine, smoking and alcohol
- Losing weight if you’re overweight
- Regular exercise
A further symptom of menopause is an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition where the bones gradually become weak and fragile. This can increase risk of injury and fractures, which can have devastating effects on your mobility and general health.
Our Women’s Health Specialist Physiotherapist at Katie Bell Physiotherapy is equipped to provide you with expert advice and management strategies to ensure that menopause has as little impact on your daily life and activities as possible. We can also recommend relevant lifestyle changes and exercise plans to manage the symptoms of menopause and aid in the strengthening of the bones to help combat osteoporosis.
Women’s Health Physiotherapy with Katie Bell Physiotherapy
If you’re currently experiencing symptoms of menopause, and would like to make changes to your lifestyle to help manage the condition, speak with one of our Women’s Health Physiotherapists today. We’ll book you in for an appointment to assess your experience with menopause, and can recommend a suitable course of action. Email us, or call us on 0114 327 2080 for more information.