By Stephanie Prendergast, MPT, Cofounder, PHRC Los Angeles
Perimenopause and menopause are finally getting more attention & we’re grateful this is finally happening because people in these phases of life are struggling with TREATABLE symptoms.
People think of perimenopause as a time marked by irregular periods but much more than that is happening. It can begin as early as in the 30s from some, and almost all vulva owners will be in perimenopause by their 40s. Menses may be regular or irregular, & four other symptoms of perimenopause are common regardless of the status of the menstrual cycle itself.
Estrogen decline begins in perimenopause and is linked to difficulty falling and staying asleep. It’s suggested that decreasing testosterone and progesterone levels may play a factor, however, more research is needed.
Menstrually-related mood disorders are real syndromes affecting quality of life. Studies show the depression/anxiety associated with hormone fluctuations have different presentations than other anxiety and depression disorders. Most people have heard of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and postpartum depression.
Declining hormones cause changes in our desire and our ability to become aroused. Vulvovaginal and pelvic floor changes are occurring during perimenopause and cause sexual pain and diminished or inability to orgasm.
Urinary urgency, frequency, leaking
The vulvovaginal area, PF muscles, and the urethra/bladder have estrogen and testosterone receptors. Age related changes, previous pregnancies and childbirth and hormonal decline can result in pelvic floor dysfunction. Every vulva owner entering perimenopause can benefit from an evaluation with a pelvic floor PT to help optimize their pelvic health during this transition and reduce irritative bladder symptoms.
Solutions are available but before we can get to that point people need to understand what is happening and why.
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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