It is not a secret that many changes accompany menopause. From hot flashes, changes in sleep, metabolism and more – our bodies go through a lot as women. Some of the biggest changes we see are changes in our pelvic floors. Stress urinary incontinence (leaking urine), pelvic organ prolapse and sexual dysfunction are the top three complaints when it comes to women going through menopause. As always, here at PeakRx, we want to empower women to be able to thrive through life’s transitions and that includes having a game plan to address your pelvic floor changes. Today we will go over three ways you can adore your pelvic floor, decrease symptoms and thrive through this life change!
In order to fully love and care for someone, or something, we must know it well, right? Our pelvic floors can be a little ambiguous and we believe fully to have control and healing, you gotta know yours well. Take a little at our pelvic floor 101 video here!
We know that simply put, the actual pelvic floor is made up of both muscle tissue as well as fascia. That tells us that there is a strength component as well as a lot of passive support. Due to aging as well as the great shift in hormones during menopause, both of these components can be affected. Consequently, we can see things like urinary leakage and prolapse. So what can we do now in order to adore our pelvic floors the best?
Pelvic Floor Strength
If you don’t already have a pelvic floor strengthening program – get one!
Morkved and Bo (2000) did a study that showed that structured pelvic floor strengthening played a big role in decreasing women’s complaints of incontinence as well as prolapse during menopause. But before you start doing 100 kegels a day, hear us out. Over 60% of women perform pelvic floor strengthening inefficiently or even wrong. We highly suggest all women see a pelvic floor specialist in order to be guided on exactly how to perform as well as for a custom plan for them. Pelvic floor muscles need to be strong, act quickly and have good endurance! Get a plan specifically for you so you can be most efficient.
Menopause is defined with a gradual decline in your body’s ability to produce estrogen. Luckily, we know how that replacing hormones is safe and an integral part in our long term health post menopause. HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and more specifically vaginal estrogen use has been shown to help decrease vaginal atrophy, increase vaginal sensation and help with decrease of SUI. More holistically, having a good relationship with foods that we know help in happy hormones is a wonderful adjunct! Finding a nutritionist near you that specializes in hormone support is a wonderful way to adore your pelvic floor during menopause.
Having an overall body strengthening routine has also been shown to secondarily increase pelvic floor strength. If you don’t already take part in resistance training, please do! You can read more about the other benefits (other than increasing pelvic floor strength) that you get from resistance training during menopause here. If you currently do suffer from prolapse or incontinence, we do recommend a pelvic floor evaluation with direction on bracing prior to initiating strength program in order to do so safely. We know that addressing glute, low back, core and hip strength does many things like support your pelvic floor muscles and fascia and helps manage hormones and other neurotransmitters that aid in healthy living. If you were able to begin a full body resistance program that is geared towards your opportunity areas you are absolutely doing your part in adoring your pelvic floor!
We do not believe that menopause is something that happens to us – but something we can walk into prepared and armed to take advantage of the changes and pivot gracefully. Adoring your pelvic floor is a major part in this!