Updated: Nov 10, 2021
If you're like me, the minute I hit 40 I was anticipating that next big milestone...the one whispered about in dark circles and cauldrons, living room couches and long lady lunches...the big “CHANGE”...the looming of Menopause sometime in the not too distant future. I felt a mix of trepidation and disbelief that I was coming to “that age” already. How is that possible when I was literally still wearing my Converse low-tops from when I was 27??
As my 40s wore on I continued to be very regular in my periods yet I was experiencing some of the symptoms I normally associated with menopause...fatigue, brain fog (worse than my usual fog 😉), irritability (again, worse than my normal irritability!), waking up at night ( I am normally a VERY good sleeper) …. I had not heard of the word “perimenopause” until I started doing some research and I found that This. Is. A. THING!
Although there continues to be a need for A LOT more research on it since studies specific to this population are sparse and often poorly constructed with very small sample sizes. * (more on that in a later post) what we do know is perimenopause can start anywhere from 35-50 and lasts up through the diagnosis of menopause. Menopause is defined as the moment in time when after a woman has experienced 12 full months without menstruation. Perimenopause is the entire time leading up to that moment which can be anywhere from 6 months to 15 years!
Perimenopause and its Symptoms
Hot flashes and sleep problems
Vaginal and bladder problems
Changes in sexual function
Loss of bone
Changing cholesterol levels
Bloating and weight gain
Research has shown that the hormonal changes associated with menopause and perimenopause lead to an increased risk of :
High Blood Pressure
Osteoporosis (bone loss leading to increase risk of fractures)
This is all caused by the uneven rise and fall of estrogen during this time.
YAY!! (insert snarky face)
Physical Therapy and Wellness: A way to ease unwanted changes
So as a Physical Therapist, why have I chosen to specialize in this area? Well, I have always approached my work from a “wholeness” perspective knowing that a person is not just their pain or their injury but instead there are many, many components, visible and non-visible, that make up how a person, and their body, deal with stress (pain and injury is a stress!).
Additionally, having worked with patients across the lifespan, I am fascinated by the physiology of aging and what is considered "normal" and "acceptable". I’ve seen a lot of people accept pain, loss of mobility leading to loss of leisure and pleasurable activity as a normal and acceptable part of aging and it just doesn't have to be this way.
As I have mentioned earlier, research has shown that hormonal changes associated with menopause and perimenopause can lead to an increased risk of many diseases.
But, what the research also shows is, we are not just passive bystanders in this process! We can take control of our health, wellness, and vitality by addressing things such as stress reduction, reducing inflammation in the body through informed food choices, developing healthy exercise habits, etc. in order to live our mid and later years in the ways we WANT to with health, energy and vitality.
I am your helping hand
Since graduating PT school (many, many years ago ), I have sought out additional education that has included Functional Nutrition, Women's Health, Yoga, and Yoga Therapy in order to help me help my clients achieve their best potential in the most comprehensive and sustainable way.
I promise to do the research many of us don't have time, training or the wherewithal to do. I mean, seriously, who enjoys deciphering a 10 page paper on the biochemistry of Omega-3 acids?? My recommendations will be as evidence-based as possible and/or I will fully inform you of when they are not (Research is often vague, tricky, and inconclusive).
I promise not to use fear-based language and scare tactics to convince you to work with me. I am straightforward and goal-driven and expect my clients to be as well.
I promise to work hard for you just as much as you will work hard for yourself. This is a collaboration, not a dictatorship.
I will be one of your biggest cheerleaders 💙 (and also, at times, a likely thorn in your side 😉)
You do not have to be suffering from an acute injury or chronic pain condition to work with me (although if you are then we definitely should be working together!). If you are trying to improve your overall health and wellness, get back on track after a period of shall we say being “off the wagon” then....
Check out My PeriPlans at: www.elainemele.com
I offer a free 20 min consultation which you can schedule here
Let Vitality Reign!!
Elaine has been a Physical Therapist for 25 years. Along the way, she has supplemented her education with certifications that include: Professional Yoga Therapist, 500 hour Yoga Teacher, Functional Nutrition for Chronic Pain and she is currently pursuing a Women's Health PT Certification. Pheww.. No grass grows under her feet! Elaine has a driving force for education and for making that education and experience accessible, empowering her clients along their health and wellness journey. She feels equally as strongly about accessing our inner worlds through meditation, mindfulness, and breathwork, for we cannot have complete health without it.