The benefits of women’s health physiotherapy in the treatment of menopause
The senior pelvic health physiotherapist at Fitzwilliam and Boston West Hospitals, Raquel Read, offers an individualised and holistic physiotherapy approach to support women in perimenopause and menopause.
Raquel says: “It’s important for the menopause to be talked about more. Very few women seek advice for menopausal symptoms. Yet, personal tips and tricks can be transformative to their quality of life.
“I see many women who have had bladder, bowel or vaginal dryness problems for some time. They think it’s just part of getting older or they are too embarrassed to look for help and try to manage these menopausal symptoms on their own. Many women may have had lesser problems in the past and the menopause has made them bigger.”
“Often patients come to me about something else. During an in-depth hour-long assessment, we look at their body as a whole and gain a good understanding of what’s happening. “
“In the initial assessment we talk about a woman’s medical history including her periods, bladder and bowel function, and whether she has pain during intercourse. I explain and educate women about how their body works and why and problems are occurring.”
“Then we plan what to focus on. It might be strength, stretching or relaxation of their pelvic floor muscles, personal guidance on abdominal and core strengthening exercises or a general exercise programme. Looking at the body as a whole, I may also recommend advice on lifestyle modifications including nutrition, weight, sleep and anxiety.”
“After the initial assessment, I arrange 30-minute follow-up sessions to see how my patients are getting on. Some women have just one follow-up appointment. Others may have up to six. Every woman’s health is treated on a very individual level. I am available to give as much support as needed.”
“My aim is to relieve any discomfort, empower women to better manage their menopausal symptoms, and improve their overall quality of life. “
The menopause and hormonal changes
Hormonal changes during perimenopause lead to a loss of oestrogen. This can weaken your pelvic floor muscles and lead to urinary and faecal incontinence, a pelvic organ prolapse, and vaginal dryness and painful intercourse.
Other side effects include physical aches and pains, reduction in bone density, weight gain, hot flushes, insomnia and mood swings. These can have a negative impact on women's health and their overall quality of life.
Through an individualised assessment and providing appropriate management strategies, such as exercise and pain management, Raquel helps women to manage their menopausal symptoms. She also works closely with other healthcare professionals such as GP’s, Gynaecologists, personal trainers and nutritionists when needed.
Focus on pelvic floor
Pelvic floor muscles are responsible for bladder and bowel control, better sex, and managing and preventing prolapse. They need to be maintained to work properly.
During the menopause many women experience increased incontinence. Raquel, our pelvic health physiotherapist, can assess your pelvic floor. She can then give you an appropriate exercise programme, advice and tools to manage your symptoms better. She may also discuss fluid management and bladder training.
Changing hormone levels during the menopause can lead to an increase in bowel problems. These include constipation, faecal incontinence, incomplete emptying, wind problems, haemorrhoids, anal fissures and rectal prolapse. Sometimes women have a few of these symptoms at the same time.
Raquel will assess your bowel function and diet. She will offer advice on your fluid and fibre intake as well as pelvic floor exercises to support you.
Dealing with vaginal dryness
Many menopausal women suffer from vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. As you approach and pass through the menopause, your oestrogen levels fall. This causes dryness and thinning of vaginal tissue. It can lead to uncomfortable penetration and intercourse ranging from a feeling of dryness to vaginal tightness to severe pain during sex.
Raquel offers advice on ways you can manage these symptoms.
Improve your quality of life
Raquel also offers support to improve your overall quality of life during the menopause. She provides advice on nutrition, weight management, how to improve your sleep quality, and strategies to manage your stress and anxiety levels.
Don’t suffer in silence, get in touch
You can arrange to see Raquel Read our Senior Pelvic Health Physiotherapist at Fitzwilliam Hospital in Peterborough or our sister hospital Boston West Hospital in Boston. You can choose where to see her based on what is most convenient to you.
Raquel sees self-paying, NHS and insured patients. An initial one-hour appointment costs £60 and all follow-up appointments are £44.
Appointments can be made by calling Raquel on 01733 842308 or emailing her at
Fitzwilliam : rhc.fitzwilliam.physiotherapyreferrals@nhs and
Boston West: email@example.com