Physical Changes and Options for Women Over 50
When we think about the physical changes women over 50 experience, menopause, hot flashes, wrinkles and bulging bellies come to mind. Those are all part of the story but the physical impact of aging does not end there. Here are symptoms some women experience that might require an individualized treatment program: Urinary or Bowel Issues: - urinary leakage due to sneezing, coughing, exercising or lifting - unable to wait more than 2 hours before urinating or can’t fully empty bladder - loss of bowel control or constant constipation - pain before or after bowel movements 2. Pelvic Pain Issues: - pelvic or vaginal heaviness or pressure that may be painful - pain, pressure or discomfort in the hips, buttocks, abdomen, rectum or coccyx 3. Vulvar/vaginal Issues: - vaginal stenosis or pain/sensitivity around the vaginal opening - throbbing or deep pain in the vulvar area - itching/burning in the vulvar area - pain or irritation inserting a tampon, gynecological visit or during sex Women are often embarrassed to discuss these challenges with their family doctor. Some physicians provide minimal insight and simply tell them to do kegel exercises or nothing can be done to reverse these natural changes that occur with age. Marci Marshall, Pelvic, Rehabilitation Practitioner Certified, (PRPC) and Women’s Wellness Works therapist, has an expertise in treating pelvic floor dysfunction, bladder, gynecological, orthopedic, and sexual challenges. She believes in treating women holistically by taking into consideration both the mental and physical well-being of her patients. When addressing the physical impact, Marci emphasizes that options should be made available so an informed decision can be made when choosing a path forward. She encourages women to take the following into consideration when researching available treatments: Women can choose to do nothing: Some women decide the symptoms are not at a point where intervention is necessary and they chose to delay or not intervene at all. Instruments: The MonaLisa Touch is a minimally invasive laser treatment for vaginal wellbeing and the Leva Pelvic Health System helps with training and strengthening weakened pelvic muscles. Physical therapy: Marci Marshall offers a whole host of physical therapy options such as Connective Tissue Mobilization, Myofascial Release, Muscle Energy, Scar Mobilization, Strain-CounterStrain, Manual Traction and several other options. Each physical therapy and rehabilitation service will address the specific symptom from alleviating pain, minimizing inflammation, restoring movement, improving nerve conduction, and reviving bladder control. Surgery: If a woman and her doctor determine surgery is best for her, bladder prolapse surgery pulls together loose or torn tissue. There are also vaginal sling procedures which help control stress urinary incontinence and other surgical options available. If you are experiencing symptoms, do your research, talk with your doctor and know your options. You do not have to accept that vaginal and bladder changes are inevitable with no available recourse. If your daily routine and physical relationship is impacted, consider one of the these procedures so you can resume your active life. Thank you to Marci Marshall, PRPC, Women's Wellness Works for contributing her expertise.