Empowering Women through Menopause: Your Guide to Optimal Health!

Clarifying Menopause

Women are amazing beings.  We navigate our lives through changing, often raging cycles of hormones. We progress from the onset of menstruation, to perhaps including a journey of motherhood, and then to a finale of menopause.  Each one of these stages is a continuum with ongoing changes, some with obvious starts and stops. These changes are often described as “symptoms” and are so common that many women feel that they just need to ‘power through’ it without knowing that there are resources to help available. 

The term “Menopause” is an example of a hormone change that is a hard stop.  For most women, menopause is defined as 12 months since a woman’s last menstruation. For some women, menopause is defined as the onset of vasomotor symptoms due to an abrupt lack of estrogen due to medical reasons. In either case, menopause officially ends a woman’s reproductive years. Why is ONE DAY so hard and so challenging for many women?  Fluctuations in hormones that women experience leading up to (perimenopause) and following (post-menopause) can make the process life-changing.  Most women ride this rollercoaster from ages around 45 to 55 years of age.   

Women who are experiencing menopausal changes have access to many healthcare providers and resources which can provide knowledge and tools to allow women to take charge, leading to Your Path to Improved Health.  Physiotherapy plays a key role in managing many changes of menopause, however; women need to recognize that there are many other resources where evidence shows positive results for women during this period of their lives. 

Cardio Changes   • Musculoskeletal & Bone Health Pelvic Health   • Nutrition

Common Changes in Menopause

During this continuum of peri, post-menopause and the official one day of menopause, challenges for women include: 

  • Hot Flashes / Night Sweats (vasomotor changes) 

  • Brain Fog, Mood Swings, Increased feelings of anxiety or stress (cognitive changes and mental health changes) 

  • Sleep Disturbances 

  • Vaginal Dryness, Decreased sexual intimacy desire 

  • Increased or new incontinencePelvic painProlapse (pelvic floor functional decline) 

  • Bone Loss & Osteoporosis

  • Changes in Body weight/distribution

  • Changes in self-body images 

  • Heart Disease

Common Questions and Concerns

Are you carrying around handheld fans and a change of shirts to manage hot flashes? Does your focus change at work when you feel the “heat” come on? 

Are you simply and literally tired of not getting a good night’s sleep? Does this leave you irritable with your spouse, family or work colleagues?  Often many women report that their lack of sleep has lowered their ability to “think”, multitask, feel productive and to be capable of managing their typical day-to-day routines. 

Have you noticed a decrease in your sexual drive secondary to dryness, pain, poor body image and/or weight gain?  Are you avoiding activity because of increasing episodes of incontinence, pelvic pain or prolapse?  Is this leading to you just opting out of social events and becoming sedentary? 

Are you normally interested in preventative health but are unaware as to where to start to prevent diseases related to menopause, like Osteoporosis and Heart Disease? 

Treatment to support Menopause

We are here to help AND connect you to others that can support the challenges of Menopause through our Menopause collective. 

Women managing menopause can take advantage of their resourcefulness, they can dedicate time for themselves, and they can use their clarity and drive to achieve the end goal of simply feeling better and more like themselves! 

Our team of Registered Physiotherapists is a critical part of your team.  We work alongside many other providers like your Family Doctor or Specialist, Registered Social Workers and Psychotherapists, Registered Dieticians, Naturopathic Doctors, Occupational Therapists and Fitness Trainers to support women throughout the continuum of peri, menopause and post-menopause transition.   

EPA and GWHA have a history of developing programs from sound evidence-based research, reassuring our clients that the services and products that we recommend are expected to make positive change. 

Comprehensive care is delivered in our welcoming environment to support women, where we take the time to hear your whole story. We offer private individualized one one-on-one treatment so that you have the time with your health team members.  Our team works hard to offer convenient appointment times to work around your lifestyle. Our providers offer extended office hours including early mornings and evenings, as well as virtual care opportunities.    We continue to advocate for women and work together with their team of healthcare professionals which may include family doctors, specialists and other allied health. 

Occupational Therapy Support for Menopause

Embracing Change: Occupational Therapists and Menopause 

Let’s talk about a topic often overlooked but so important: Menopause! It’s a natural phase of life with physical and emotional changes. Guess what? Occupational Therapists are here to support you through this journey with grace. 

Hormone Havoc- OTs Can Help! Menopause brings hormone changes impacting mood, sleep, and well-being. Occupational Therapists provide coping strategies, stress relief, and relaxation techniques. From mindfulness to breathing exercises, they have holistic tools for balance.

Daily Activities- OTs Have Solutions!  Facing hot flashes at work or adapting to energy changes? OTs help you find solutions. They make tasks easier through home and work adjustments. Ergonomic setups and energy-saving tips make every day smoother.

Exercise and Wellness- Staying active is key, but exercise preferences change during menopause. OTs guide personalized plans considering abilities and joint concerns. Discover new ways to stay strong with their motivation.

Self-Care and Mental Health- Menopause brings complex emotions. OTs offer a safe space for coping strategies. Creative activities, journaling, and support groups nurture emotional well-being.

Remember, menopause varies for everyone. An OT can make a difference in embracing this transition with confidence and self-love. 

Let’s celebrate the incredible role Occupational Therapy plays in supporting us through the intricacies of menopause.

Book an appointment with GWHA OT Lara today! 

Nutrition support for Menopause

Women in midlife face a range of health challenges, including unwanted weight gain, loss of lean body mass, and concerns about bone health. These issues are often attributed to hormonal changes, particularly the decline of estrogen during perimenopause and menopause. This hormonal shift can lead to increased storage of visceral fat (internal fat around mid-section) and changes in insulin sensitivity, raising the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The good news is that many of these health risks can be mitigated with an emphasis on Nutrition and a healthy relationship with food.

Here are a few areas you can explore:

  • Mindful Eating: Practice listening to your body cues for hunger and fullness. Try eating slowly, savouring your food and becoming aware of emotions during eating. This type of intuitive eating has been shown to improve body satisfaction, reduce disordered eating and help achieve a healthy weight.
  • Nutrient intake: Nutrient needs fluctuate during menopause. It is important to monitor: Iron and B12 to match your blood losses if you are still menstruating. Calcium and Vitamin D are also key to maintaining healthy bones. Check with your Dietitian or Doctor if you have questions about your nutrient needs.
  • Calorie Needs: Calorie needs tend to reduce as we age and become less active. Rather than restricting calories, use your hunger as a guide. Try filling half your plate with vegetables and fruits to reduce calories and add nutrients.
  • Improved Digestion: Eat at regular intervals during the day. Increase fibre by choosing whole grains like oats, quinoa, barley and whole grain cereals and breads. Keep a food diary if you are experiencing gastrointestinal upset and look for the food combinations that work the best for you.
  • Protein needs: increase during menopause as muscle and bone mass tend to decline. Research suggests that about 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal is needed to stimulate muscle building. Choose plant-based proteins like legumes, beans, nuts and seeds more often and lean meats, fish, eggs and lower-fat dairy.
  • Anti-inflammatory foods: Choose healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, vegetable oil and the fat found in nuts and seeds and fatty fish like salmon and trout. Limit highly processed foods with added sugar and salt, like fast foods, desserts, commercial baked goods, candy, and ice cream.

Book an appointment with GWHA Dietitian Heidi today!