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Empowering Perimenopausal and Menopausal Women: Understanding and Addressing Genito Urinary Syndrome of Menopause

Are you experiencing vaginal discomfort, dryness, burning, itching, or pain during intercourse? Do UTIs and recurrent thrush seem to be more frequent visitors than before? If so, you might be among the up to 84% of perimenopausal and menopausal women affected by Genito Urinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). Despite its prevalence, less than 10% of women receive specific treatment for this condition, leaving many suffering in silence.

GSM, often overlooked or misunderstood, encompasses a wide range of symptoms that can significantly impact a woman's quality of life during this stage of hormonal transition. At the heart of GSM lies the hormonal changes associated with menopause, particularly the decline in oestrogen levels. Reduced oestrogen can affect pelvic organs such as the vagina, bladder, and urethra, leading to changes in tissue integrity, lubrication, and muscle tone.

It's essential to consult with healthcare professionals, who can provide guidance and support tailored to your individual needs. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one option that may be recommended to alleviate GSM symptoms by replenishing oestrogen levels. Local HRT, especially, can make a significant difference to your symptoms.

Symptoms of GSM extend beyond vaginal discomfort and pain during intercourse. UTIs, recurrent thrush, incontinence, and various other issues can all be part of the GSM spectrum. Recognizing these symptoms and understanding their connection to hormonal changes is the first step toward seeking help and finding relief.

Pelvic health physiotherapy emerges as a valuable resource in managing GSM symptoms. Through a comprehensive approach that includes advice, lifestyle modifications, pelvic floor rehabilitation, and specialist referrals when necessary, pelvic health physiotherapists provide tailored support to address the specific needs of each individual.

By spotting the symptoms, understanding how hormonal changes affect our bodies, and seeking the appropriate help, women can navigate the menopausal journey with greater confidence and comfort. Education and empowerment are key in breaking the silence surrounding GSM and ensuring that women receive the support and treatment they deserve.

So, to all perimenopausal and menopausal women out there, know that you are not alone. Take charge of your health, educate yourself about GSM, and don't hesitate to seek professional help if you're struggling. Together, let's empower ourselves and others to embrace a healthier, happier menopausal journey.

Chantal Lowry


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