Although large parts of physiotherapy apply to both men and women, there are of course a number of areas that are more common in or exclusive to one of the sexes. Differences in everything from our bodies to our role in society change the health problems faced by men and women, so in this blog, we'll look at some of the specific issues that a women's health physiotherapist would address. The problems are often categorised based on which of three life stages a woman is at. These stages are the childbearing years, middle age and retirement.
It is estimated that about one in six Irish couples struggle with infertility problems, which affect men and women at an equal rate. In term's of women's health, physiotherapy has been shown to be beneficial in increasing fertility rates. Although there is a wide range of reasons that fertility can be an issue, physiotherapy has been shown to improve success rates with certain conditions, such as blocked fallopian tubes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and endometriosis. It can even improve success rates for IVF treatment.
In terms of pregnancy, we are all aware of the vast physical changes a women goes through. Back pain, loss of bladder control, fatigue and sickness are just a few of the problems that pregnant women have to put up with. Physical therapy can teach women how to keep their energy levels up and make sure that they stay strong throughout their pregnancies. Ante and post natal classes fall into this description, while another major part is strengthening your core muscles, which will help prevent numerous problems during and after pregnancy.
Middle age is when women undergo the third major physical change in their lifetime, after adolescence and pregnancy. In addition to being a time when the body goes through such drastic physical changes, it is also a famously emotional time for many women. This can lead a lot of women to ignore the issues with their bodies, which can have long-term effects. Weight change, bladder control problems and weakening bones & muscles are all common problems that affect women during menopause, and they are all problems that can be alleviated with the use of proper physiotherapy. As well as adjusting dietary habits, going through physiotherapy at this time can help make sure the body doesn't change too drastically, and can prevent a huge amount of problems in the future.
This is usually the stage in any woman's life where she is least active. Because of this, physiotherapy can play an important role in ensuring that women do not allow their health to decline, but maintain it at a level that will allow them to live a higher quality of life. Osteoporosis is one of the most common problems that older women face, but muscle mass, strength, joint mobility and energy levels are all very common as well. These are all issues that can be treated with good physiotherapy, which can also have benefits in areas such as balancing and fall prevention. These are problems that can have very serious and sudden effects on someone's quality of life, and they're problems that are not typically addressed in advance. This highlights another advantage of physiotherapy, in that it can help prepare for issues that have not yet arisen, but are possible or likely to arise down the line.
Although the techniques may change, physiotherapy is done at all stages of life to ensure that women can be as healthy as possible in both the present, and moving forward.