As we’ve all heard in the peri-menopausal and menopausal age our hormones fluctuate and oestrogen levels decline. Dietary changes and exercise are important to help manage your menopause symptoms and maintain your cardiac and bone health, but what about your pelvic health?
1 in 3 women will have pelvic floor dysfunction at some point in their lifetime.
Changing hormones could cause reduced integrity of the pelvic floor muscles and pelvic fascia leading to symptoms such as:
- Intercourse pain
- Low back and hip pain
Many of these pelvic health issues are easy to recognise, but how would you know if you had a pelvic organ prolapse?
A prolapse is a down and out movement through the vaginal walls of one or more than one of the pelvic organs. It could be the bladder, the bowel or the uterus.
You may notice the following symptoms:
- Low back pain or
- A dragging, heavy, achy feeling that worsens as the day goes on
- Which is relieved by sitting/lying down
- Pain during intercourse
- Difficulty with passing urine or opening your bowels
But don’t panic. Help is out there.
Many of these symptoms can be relieved or eased completely by doing the right kind of exercises and preventing further downward pressure into the pelvis.
I’m sure you have all heard or vaguely remember being told to do your pelvic floor exercises?
Research has shown that with the correct pelvic floor muscle activation and co-ordination these symptoms will ease.
What could be making your pelvic symptoms worse?
- Constipation and bearing down to open your bowels
- Exercises that increase the pressure inside your abdomen and cause a downward pressure on the pelvis
- Holding your breath and bearing down on the toilet, to lift or even to get up from a chair
How you can help yourself:
- Do correct pelvic floor safe exercises
- Stop holding your breath when you lift
- Avoid constipation
- Massage your own abdomen to increase gut mobility
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Eat a mixture of fruit, veg and fibre
- Use a vaginal lubricant
How to strengthen your Pelvic floor:
- Contract from the back passage on the out breath as if stopping wind
- Imagine you are closing your openings
- And pulling them up inside you
- Remember to relax the muscles and let go afterwards
If you are unsure how to do the exercises or even unsure if you need to, you may need to see a specialist Women’s Health physiotherapist who can assess pelvic floor muscle function and advise on your pelvic health. The pelvic floor muscle are not always weak, sometimes they can be overactive and tight.
These symptoms can be improved, don’t put up with it any longer.
Bally Lidder, www.liddertherapies.co.uk