#PTonICE Daily Show – Monday, March 11th, 2024 – Menopausal women deserve better

In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, #ICEPelvic faculty member Rachel Moore discusses a story of usual patient care when experiencing menopause in the American healthcare system.

Take a listen to learn how to better serve this population of patients & athletes or check out the full show notes on our blog at www.ptonice.com/blog.

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Alright up and running on Instagram and YouTube. What is up guys? My name is Dr. Rachel Moore I am on faculty with the pelvic division here at ice Pollen has been wild in my area of Houston and I have a sinus infection. So I Sorry about the congestion that you’re likely going to hear throughout this episode. This morning we are here to talk about menopausal women and how they deserve better and how they have been kind of set aside and really isolated in the type of pelvic care that we are starting to see normalized. I really want to kick this off this morning with a story that inspired me to even pick this topic. So Last weekend I was teaching in California with Alexis for our pelvic live course and on the plane I ended up sitting next to this older couple. It was a husband and a wife and they were having a hard time like connecting to the Wi-Fi. I didn’t really know how to get the United app up and running so I leaned over and I helped him kind of figure that out and I had my iPad with all my slides next to it because I was going to prep for my lectures on the plane. So I always like to work on the plane on the way there. And the lady leaned over and she was like, oh, like, thanks so much for your help. And just kind of started making small talk. Asked what I was traveling to California for. And I told her that I was actually going to work. I was going to go teach other physical therapists because I was a physical therapist. And so this kind of kick started a whole conversation where she was telling me she was flying out to California to run a marathon and she had been rehabbing a hamstring injury for like two years and she had gone to in-network PT and then she had gone to out-of-network PT and all along the way like her hamstring would get better and then it would come back and it would get better and it would come back and so we kind of chit-chatted about that a little bit talked about her running volume and things like that and then I kind of alluded or something I said I don’t even remember exactly what it was but told her like I’m actually a pelvic floor PT and that’s a big part of what I treat And she was like, oh my goodness, I can’t believe this. Like I just had a pelvic floor evaluation and her husband leaned over and he was like, oh boy, you have no idea the can of worms you just opened. And we, she really just dove into her story. And so she had had surgery or not surgery. She’d had a bladder pacemaker put in because she was struggling with urgency and frequency of urination. So she had been at this point to a gynecologist, to a urogynecologist, to an orthopedic doctor for her hamstring, and on the MRI that was done for her hamstring, the report also said that she’d had some issues with her bladder, and she asked her ortho doctor about it, and he was like, I don’t know, all I know is about the hamstring, I’m not here to treat your bladder. and she was really feeling hopeless about her pelvic floor and about whether or not she could get help for her pelvic floor. She’d gone to a pelvic floor evaluation and she said it was really helpful and she learned a lot but it was an out-of-network provider and she’d already spent a lot of money on out-of-network care for her hamstring and she didn’t want to dive into this area at that point. And so in this conversation we really kind of got into the weeds a little bit. So through this conversation, it’s like those conversations on the plane, you never know where they’re gonna go. We ended up chatting about cycles and menopause, and she was menopausal at this point. And ever since she had been in menopause, that’s when her hamstring symptoms started. That’s when she started noticing issues with the pain in her hamstring, and we started talking about fueling especially with her running volume and we started talking about how there’s estrogen receptors in other parts of your body aside from in your ovaries and all of the ways that being in menopause can potentially set you up for issues with your musculoskeletal system And in this conversation, she was shocked because nobody had ever really talked to her about what menopause consists of, all of the different ways that menopause can cause issues aside from just you don’t have a period anymore, you may have hot flashes, and it was really upsetting to her. And we kind of continued talking over the course of the flight, it was a four, three and a half, four hour flight, and it kind of dawned on me in that in this moment in this conversation because she had a son and we were talking about how when she had her son pelvic floor pt was not done nobody talked about it nobody uh it was just normal that you pee on yourself and i know these days we like to feel like that is still a thing but if we think about perspective shifts like 20 30 years ago It was even less common than it is now, right? Like it was not a thing that was really prescribed at all. So many women were getting surgeries right out the gate after having had their kids. And so this group of women that are now going through menopause were really kind of, I don’t want to say shafted, but shafted in their prenatal and postpartum pelvic floor care. And I think that that means that we as pelvic floor PTs need to put it out there that we can help them because they have lived their entire lives up until this point, believing that it’s normal to pee when they sneeze, believing that it’s normal to leak when they exercise, maybe not exercising at all because this has been something that they’ve dealt with since they delivered their kids 20 or 30 years ago. And now is the time that their symptoms are potentially flaring back up. We see an increase in pelvic symptoms as we transition into this stage of life. And so if we are not addressing these issues and we’re not putting it out there that we can address these issues, women aren’t getting the care that they deserve. And not only did they not get the care that they deserve initially, when they first got into this pelvic floor space after having had a baby, they’re not getting it now. I think as pelvic floor PTs some of us may really lean into the prenatal and postpartum space and it makes sense because a lot of us are maybe in that time stage of life where either we are having kiddos or people that we know are having kiddos or maybe thinking about it in the future. And so it really feels like this easy transition as we’re entering into the pelvic space to lean into the prenatal and postpartum space. And it is needed. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do that, but I think as pelvic PTs, we really need to get comfortable with explaining menopause and explaining the changes that happen in menopause. And more importantly, talking to women and talking to providers like, gynecologists like urogynecologists getting together with these people and letting them know like we can help mitigate these symptoms. We can help be an adjunct to care on top of things like HRT or hormone replacement therapy which absolutely should be talked about especially now that we’re seeing the shift away from like absolutely don’t do HRT because it can increase your breast cancer risk We’re seeing that language changing. And so it’s exciting to see these women start getting the care that they need in the realm of HRT. But as pelvic PTs, we can step up to the plate and help layer on even more in terms of helping them manage their pelvic floor symptoms, the genitourinary syndromes that they’re experiencing. We can really talk to them about building up strength and building up muscular support for their bones as everything changes with their bone mineral density. We can maybe teach them how to exercise for the first time if they’re people that have been avoiding exercise for the majority of their life because of symptoms that they have been experiencing since they first had their babies. So really, my whole point of this episode this morning is if you are not in this menopausal space, If you’re a pelvic PT and you’re not comfortable talking to people about menopause, or you really don’t feel like you know enough about menopause to really truly serve this population, I truly feel like it’s time for us to step up to the plate and get comfortable with it. We have a lot of resources out there. A few resources, I’m just going to list a couple because otherwise it kind of sounds like a rambly list. The North American Menopause Society actually has like a provider list that you can go in and search for menopause-informed urogynecologists and providers. Letstalkmenopause.org is a website that you can take a peek at, you can also direct your patients to, has resources for patients, really kind of breaks things down into patient-friendly language. The Menopause Manifesto by Dr. Jen Gunter. And then in our live course, we actually dive into menopause in week five. And we talk in more depth about how, sorry, our online course, not live course. We talk in depth about how we can help as PTs serve this group of women. I really feel like it is time for us to do this y’all. I think that this group of women and maybe it’s my heart going out because I’m thinking about like moms and grandmothers and all of all of these women in our lives that have just been told that this is something they have to deal with. And now they’re being told this again. It’s time for us to help change this. It’s time for us to bring fitness forward PT to this group of women, especially this group of women. They deserve it. I don’t want to say more than anybody else because absolutely we all deserve it, but they deserve to get this quality of care.

If you’re interested in jumping into our online course to learn about menopause in that week five, our next cohort opens up April 29th. We have two live courses coming up, April 6th and 7th in Windsor, Colorado, April 13th and 14th in Spring, Texas. That’s where you can catch us on the road in April. We’ve got some more courses coming up in May as well, so if you’re looking into summer, hop on the website, sign up for a live course, and catch us on the road. Thanks for tuning in this morning. If you guys have any questions about menopause, reach out to all of us on the ice pelvic faculty and we’d be happy to answer. Thanks. Have a great Monday.

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