By Stephanie A. Prendergast, MPT, Cofounder, PHRC Los Angeles
As people age, circulating hormones decline and pelvic floor dysfunction rises. The combination of these changes can cause unnecessary suffering and distress. The unfortunate news is that most people do not realize their symptoms may be related to hormonal deficiencies & musculoskeletal issues. However, the good news is both scenarios are treatable!
Perimenopause begins in the 40s for most people. Symptoms of the Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM) can start around this time period, before hot flashes and other common systemic menopause symptoms. For others, symptoms may start later but if left untreated most menopausal people will experience GSM.
Experts recommend local hormone therapy directly to the vulva and vagina to reduce vaginal dryness, painful sex, diminished orgasm, irritative bladder symptoms and recurrent UTIs. Systemic hormone therapy is different from vaginal hormone therapy + we recommend speaking with providers that follow the North American Menopause Society Guidelines to help people manage their genitourinary symptoms.
The symptoms of PFD mimic GSM symptoms. When pelvic floor muscles become tight they cause painful sex, urinary urgency/frequency and pain. If the PF muscles are weak people may experience urinary/fecal leaking, pelvic and bladder pressure, and pelvic organ prolapse.
Many people may have muscles that are tight in some areas and weak in others, both are problematic situations because the pelvic floor needs to function as part of our core. Without proper neuromuscular function people can also experience hip, low back and pelvic girdle pain. We recommend all entering perimenopause and menopause undergo a pelvic floor evaluation to best optimize their pelvic health!
The combination of proper HT and PFPT can be a game changer for people during this phase of life!
We are excited to announce our physical therapist, Molly, is now located in our 11th location in Columbus, OH. Now scheduling new patients- call (510) 922-9836 to book!
Are you unable to come see us in person in the Bay Area, Southern California or New England? We offer virtual physical therapy appointments too!
Virtual sessions are available with PHRC pelvic floor physical therapists via our video platform, Zoom, or via phone. For more information and to schedule, please visit our digital healthcare page.
Melissa Patrick is a certified yoga instructor and meditation teacher and is also available virtually to help, for more information please visit our therapeutic yoga page.
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