Atlantic Physical Therapy Center
Hand Therapy Center NJ

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Atlantic Physical Therapy Center
Atlantic Hand Therapy Center

Menopause

Perimenopause can start as early as age 35.

Menopause is…

a natural transition in a women’s life that marks the end of her fertility.  This does not mean that you are official old, it just means that your body no longer able to reproduce.  Women are said to have increased energy because your body is no longer using portions of it to maintain the menstrual cycle.  Many women also experience a state of balance and calmness in this period of thier lives.  In the Chinese culture, the translation means “Second Spring.”  Women are now living 1/3 of their lives in post menopause.

Definitions to know…

Perimenopause

The years leading up to menopause where your estrogen levels begin to decrease and symptoms begin, can be 10-15 years prior to actual menopause.

Menopause Transition

The 12 months from your last menses to menopause.

 

Menopause

The instance in time that marks 12 months from last menstrual cycle.

Post Menopause

All the days, months and years following menopause.

HOT FLASH HELP!

This is one of the most common symptoms and complaints of the menopause transition.  They can be embarrassing, inconvenient, unrelenting and even debilitating to some women.  

Try paced breathing during a hot flash (taking a slow deep breath in through the nose, then out through the mouth – repeat 7 times).  

Getting enough rest and decreasing stress will also reduce hot flashes.  The changes in hormones during the menopause transition causes a fluctuation in your body’s homeostasis.  Adding additional factors (fatigue, stress) will further exacerbate these symptoms.

The incidence of hot flashes also increases in women who are overweight, have high blood pressure or are insulin resistant.  Reducing sugar intake and increasing exercise is a conservative method to reduce hot flashes.

Hot flash triggers: saunas, spicy food, caffeine, alcohol, stress, anxiety.  

Know your triggers by creating a symptoms tracker.  Write you have a hot flash write down: where you were/time of day, level of intensity, what you were eating/drinking, emotional well-being.  This can help you determine what makes yours worse, then plan accordingly.

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Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause: GSM

The decrease in estrogen leading up to and after menopause, can cause a multitude of conditions affecting the genital and urinary systems.  

Some of these include:

  • changes in vaginal tissues resulting in dryness, burning, discharge, itching
  • burning and urgency with urination
  • pelvic organ prolapse
  • frequent urination
  • incontinence changes
  • painful sex
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Post Menopause Concerns

Estrogen is known to be a bone and heart protector.  Decreased levels after menopause can result in increased risk for other health concerns:

Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones, and is most common in women, increasing in the years after menopause.  Staying active helps to load bones and increase their strength.  This combined with a healthy diet can decrease risk.  

Cardiovascular disease includes health conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels.  More common conditions include coronary artery disease, angina, and stroke – but there are many more.  It is important to stay healthy and active in post menopause years to maintain a healthy heart. 

There is an increase in tendinopathies (shoulder, hip, foot/ankle)  also seen post menopause.  This can be linked to decreased collagen turnover from declining estrogen levels.  It is important to keep muscles and joints balanced with both strength and flexibility, to avoid pain and maintain activity levels.

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Perimenopause/Menopause Transition

There are so many hormones in the human body, responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or a balanced resting state.  As the body begins to transition to menopause, the female sex hormones begin to fluctuate.  This can lead to imbalances in the resting state.  Depending on the overall state of your health and body going into this period, this change can cause a variety of symptoms, or sometimes none at all.  Severe symptoms related to these changes can be reduced with the right interventions, and many times conservative care can be extremely helpful.  

Early symptoms of perimenopause:

  • change in menstrual cycle
  • mood swings
  • difficulties sleeping
  • weight gain/changes
  • anxiety
  • brain fog
  • joint pain
  • bloating