A diagnosis of breast cancer can have a profound impact on a person’s life, both physically and emotionally. In addition to undergoing treatment and managing the side effects, many women are also faced with the challenge of maintaining their pelvic health. Pelvic floor disorders, such as incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, are common in women who have had breast cancer, due to the damage caused by chemotherapy, injections, surgery, and radiation therapy. These disorders can be both embarrassing and debilitating, making it difficult for women to live their lives to the fullest. While there is no cure for menopause (medical or not), there are ways to manage the symptoms.
The Relationship Between Medical Menopause and Pelvic Health
Menopause is a significant life event for women that is characterized by the cessation of menstrual periods. While menopause can bring many positive changes, such as improved mood and increased pelvic health, it can also cause some unwanted side effects, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum. During menopause, the loss of estrogen can cause these muscles and tissues to weaken.
As a woman approaches the menopausal medically or naturally, she may experience a wide range of symptoms and side effects due to hormonal changes. These symptoms can include hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbance, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and pelvic floor prolapse.
This can lead to painful intercourse or a loss of interest in sex. In addition, anxiety and depression are common side effects of surgical menopause, which can also affect sexual function. While medical menopause can have a significant impact on a woman's life, it is important to remember that there are treatments available to help manage the side effects and preserve sexual function.
In addition, lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, stress reduction, and a healthy diet can also help to alleviate menopausal symptoms. If these measures are not effective, there are also a variety of medical treatments that can be used to manage the symptoms of medical menopause.
As every woman experiences menopause differently, it is important to work with a healthcare provider to find the best approach for managing your symptoms.
Tips for Maintaining Pelvic Health During Medical Menopause
Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help women manage their pelvic health after a breast cancer diagnosis. By working with a pelvic health specialist, physiotherapist/physical therapist, women can develop a customized plan that includes exercises, dietary changes, and other lifestyle modifications.
For more serious cases, while controversial, estrogen therapy may be recommended as a final line of treatment. With the right care plan in place, women can maintain their pelvic health and quality of life after a breast cancer diagnosis.
The Importance of Maintaining Pelvic Health
Pelvic health is important for all women, especially those who are going through medically induced menopause due to breast cancer treatment. There are a number of things that women can do to help maintain pelvic health during this time.
First, it is important to maintain a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight can put strain on the pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to prolapse and other problems.
Second, women should avoid smoking. Smoking increases the risk of pelvic floor damage and can also contribute to cancers of the reproductive organs.
Third, regular exercise is crucial for pelvic health. Strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor can help to support the organs and prevent prolapse.
Finally, it is important to see a doctor for regular checkups. Early detection and treatment of problems are essential for maintaining pelvic health.
With proper management, women with medical menopause can live full and healthy lives.