Menopause refers to the date when you had your last period, determined after the fact, when you have not had a period/menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months. It is more accurate to describe yourself as being either perimenopausal (irregular periods or last period was less than 12 months ago) or postmenopausal (haven’t had a period in more than one year).
Perimenopause occurs when your hormones start fluctuating, your periods start to change or become irregular, and can be accompanied by symptoms of menopause that most women have heard about such as, hot flashes, fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, and mood changes. Menopause usually starts occurring between the ages of 40 and 55, and can last for up to 11 years.
We cannot change the natural aging process, but there is a lot we can do to support your health through menopause and the 30 years on average that women live after menopause!
Let’s take Katie, for example. Katie is 49 years old and has been experiencing symptoms of menopause for a couple of years. She has been seeing her female relatives aging and worries about her future. Katie came into Pelvic Physio when she began noticing bladder leaking with coughing and sneezing more regularly over the past couple of years, and she also wanted some guidance on exercises she should do for healthy aging.
Jenny went through a movement assessment with Katie. They talked about the importance of daily movement and moderate intensity cardiovascular activities for stress management and heart health. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women as they age, so cardiovascular exercise was an important piece for Katie’s goal of healthy aging. Katie mentioned she likes swimming and walking, so Jenny and Katie set new goals for Katie to reach; including at least 150mins/week incorporating these activities.
Jenny also performed an internal Pelvic Health assessment. Jenny and Katie reviewed pelvic floor coordination and strengthening exercises, and talked about options for using vaginal moisturizers for dryness in the vaginal tissues. Jenny also suggested Katie chat with her Doctor regarding local or systemic estrogen options that could help with vaginal moisture as well as discussing her distressing hot flashes.
At Katie’s follow up appointment two weeks later, Katie noticed her bladder control was improving. She was working on performing her cardio activities regularly, and was feeling good about her progress. Katie and Jenny talked about next steps, and they decided to add in strength training 2x/week. Strength training can help decrease hot flashes, and is important to maintain bone density and muscle mass with aging, as well as strength and balance to prevent falls down the road.
One month later, Katie followed up with Jenny. She was feeling pretty good with her exercises and bladder control. She mentioned she was feeling pretty stressed with work and her kids, who were now young adults. Jenny and Katie brainstormed some stress-management strategies, and explored the option for support from a counsellor, if needed. They also went through Katie’s exercise program and made changes to ensure it continued to work well for Katie in her day-to-day life.
As you can see, there are lots of ways you can support healthy aging through menopause. These strategies should always be tailored to your goals, your interests and should always fit with your lifestyle. These supports look different to everyone, so having a customized approach tends to help people better reach their goals.
Here at Defy, we’d love to help you reach your goals, no matter whether you are premenopausal, perimenopausal or well into post menopause.
PREMENOPAUSAL, PERIMENOPAUSAL OR MENOPAUSAL?
Jenny would love to answer your questions. Contact us and we can arrange for a Free Consultation with Jenny.
- We are able to help individuals of all ages and at all activity levels (recreational to competitive).
- We offer direct billing to most major insurance companies for the convenience of our clients.
- We have appointments as early as 7am and as late as 7:30pm to accommodate busy lifestyles.