Postnatal rehabilitation is an important step in recovery after birth, pregnancy being one of the first causes of pelvic floor weakening. But the more you age and the more your muscles lose their tonus, including pelvic floor muscles. The arrival of menopause later in life brings hormonal and physical imbalance, which can worsen a pelvic floor already weak and lead to women’s health issues such as urinary incontinence, prolapse or sexual problems.
This is why pelvic floor and urinary rehabilitation will be useful not only after having a child, but also at all stage of a woman’s life.
What is menopause?
Menopause is due to a decreased production of oestrogen and progesterone in your ovaries, which results in the change of your hormonal balance and affects your body in general (physically but also sometimes psychologically, due to the consequences of these changes).
When does menopause usually start?
Menopause occurs often between 49 and 52 years old, resulting in hormonal and physical changes.
What are the physical consequences that menopause can potentially have on my body?
- Pelvic floor weakening
- Urinary incontinence
- Vaginal dryness
- Muscle weakening
- Bone weakening (osteoporosis)
- Back pain
- Lack of sexual sensations, or pain during intercourse
- Hot flushes
Will I present the same symptoms as my mother or sister?
Menopause can bring different changes to your body. The symptoms that the women in your family experience won’t necessarily be identical to what you have.
Why is my pelvic floor affected by menopause?
As any of your muscles in general, menopause and aging can cause your pelvic floor muscles to weaken, and this is principally due to the hormonal unbalance. This issue can be increased if you had children in the past and never took the time to do your pelvic floor rehabilitation. Gaining weight during menopause can also be a reason for the loss of pelvic floor muscle function, or the bladder losing elasticity.
But it is never too late to fix a weak pelvic floor. With correct pelvic floor exercises and specialised women’s health physiotherapy, only a few sessions and some exercises to do at home can fix the problem.
As your pelvic floor muscles are the main support to pelvic organs, having them losing strength often leads to pelvic floor issues (leakage, urinary incontinence and prolapse).
Be aware that pelvic floor muscles in women are also the foundation to a healthy and pain-free back, and weakened pelvic floor muscles during menopause can also bring back pain and unbalance.
How can I reduce the risk of pelvic floor weakening and avoid the symptoms linked to menopause?
There is no secret! Do your pelvic floor exercises regularly as soon as you have your first child or your first symptoms! Have an assessment done by a women’s health physio. From this assessment, she will determine which part of your pelvic floor is weak and create a strengthening program with exercises to do with the physio and at home. It is very simple and will save you many issues related to menopause.
I didn’t do my pelvic floor rehabilitation after having my children and I start having leakage and urgencies, is it too late to reinforce my pelvic floor?
Lucky you! It is never too late to do good!
Pelvic floor rehabilitation can be done at any stage of your life, better late than never. Even if you haven’t done your pelvic floor rehab before, you can start doing it at any age. The women’s health physio will help you be aware of your pelvic floor muscles and will teach you how to train them properly.
Can menopause reduce my sexual sensations with my partner?
Yes, it can and once again, this is due to your pelvic floor being weaken.
If you had children or are experiencing menopause, it is not rare that your sexual sensations diminish over time. This is not due to the pleasure receptors having an issue but mainly to the fact that you cannot contract your pelvic floor muscles like before. The sensations with your partner(s) are then less intense.
What can I do to increase my sexual sensations during menopause?
It’s very simple, start exercising your pelvic floor to give it back its tonus. Have an assessment with a women’s health physio who will determine which part of your pelvic floor is weak. She will then be able to teach you pelvic floor awareness and exercises that will strengthen your muscles tone and increase the frictions as well as your pleasure and your partner’s.
For more information about menopause and pelvic floor rehabilitation: Click here
If you wish for more information on menopause or wish to book an appointment at home or in our women’s health practices in London (Moorgate, Belgravia, Clapham): 0207 125 0262 / 0782 455 3765
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