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Can menopause be better managed with physiotherapy? An expert weighs in

Published on:23 November 2021, 09:47am IST
Menopause is a transitional phase in a woman’s life, and can bring with it a host of challenges, both physical and emotional. In order to better manage menopause better, physiotherapy can help.
Dr Sagar Pathare
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menopause
Turn to physiotherapy to manage menopausal symptoms effectively. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Women have many distinctive health concerns — menstrual cycles, pregnancy, birth control, menopause — and that’s just the beginning. Menopause is a transition period in a woman’s life. This natural biological process happens around the age of 50 (on average), wherein menstrual cycles come to a halt (for a minimum period of 12 months).

Apart from the absence of menstruation, menopause also shows up in other ways. Some effects such as hot flashes can be uncomfortable, while others may go unnoticed.

Many women are unaware about these changes and hesitate seeking professional help to manage their condition better. Menopause requires a multidisciplinary approach depending on the kind of problems. From consultation with a gynaecologist, to sessions with physiotherapists for women’s health, seeking professional help can play an important role in navigating through this transitional phase.

What are the symptoms associated with menopause?

There might be physical symptoms such as body aches, joint pain, bloating, headaches/ migraines, hot flushes, increasing tiredness, night sweats, sore breasts, vaginal dryness, wakefulness and weight gain. Some women may also experience mood swings and difficulty in sleeping. It’s important to be mindful of these symptoms and seek help regularly.

menopause
Keep your emotional health in check around menopause. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Physiotherapy can play a significant role in managing the varied symptoms associated with menopause. We have noticed that most women are unable to give adequate time to attend to themselves and manage the effects of menopause. This is where a home-based physiotherapy consultation with an expert is a convenient and an easily accessible option. A physiotherapist can address the symptoms holistically and educate the patient on the nature and causes of symptoms.

A physiotherapist can help with these common issues associated with menopause:
  • Helps to improve bone density, strength and balance: The therapeutic exercises can help to strengthen muscles and maintain bone density, balance and flexibility to reduce the risk of falls and occurrence of serious fractures, if you do fall.
  • Helps to improve insomnia, reduce frequency of hot flashes and control weight gain: These issues occur due to reduced hormone levels; a study indicates that regular cardiovascular exercises can help majorly in the conditioning.
  • Helps to reduce episodes of painful intercourse: It is one of the common issues that affects many women, and most of them are hesitant to come forward and share the same with the medical expert. The cause lies with pelvic tissues and muscles that need to be relaxed and/or strengthened.

    menopause
    The symptoms look different for everyone. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Several months of pelvic floor physical therapy can make a significant difference. Physiotherapists work on giving the biofeedback, teaching specific exercises.
  • Helps with incontinence: Many women also experience incontinence during menopause. Urinary incontinence, also known as overactive bladder, is the inability to control urine flow. This mostly occurs due to the weakening of pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor exercises can help in managing incontinence.

We recommend avoiding any kind of hesitance to get specialised help. Early mediation is the key to keeping everything under control, and to comfortably manage this phase.

Dr Sagar Pathare Dr Sagar Pathare

 

Dr Sagar Pathare, Lead Rehabilitation, Nightingales Home Health Services, Mumbai