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Sometimes overlooked, physical therapy can be highly beneficial in helping women through and beyond this phase of life.

Menopause

"We need to educate people to change the perception. It can be a time of opportunity," says Karen Snowden, PT, DPT, a physical therapist (PT) who is board-certified in women's health physical therapy and practices at the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania.

She is speaking about menopause.

Every woman who lives long enough will experience this life transition. Yet many PTs are unaware that their skills as movement experts can help prepare women for menopause, ease some of its side effects, and contribute to a longer, healthier life. Physical therapy for women prior to, during, and beyond menopause is a largely untapped niche for women's health providers and an opportunity to reach patients across the lifespan, say the PTs interviewed for this article.

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  1. Women's Health Stats & Facts. American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians; 2011:33. https://www.acog.org/~/media/NewsRoom/MediaKit.pdf. Accessed February 14, 2019.
  2. Menopause FAQs: Understanding the Symptoms. North American Menopause Society; 2019. http://www.menopause.org/for-women/expert-answers-to-frequently-asked-questions-about-menopause/menopause-faqs-understanding-the-symptoms. Accessed February 14, 2019.
  3. The Menopause Rating Scale. The Berlin Center for Epidemiology and Health Research. http://www.menopause-rating-scale.info/. Accessed June 5, 2019.
  4. FRAX, A Tool for Estimating Your Fracture Risk. The North American Menopause Society. https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/bone-health-and-heart-health/frax-sup-sup-a-tool-for-estimating-your-fracture-risk. Accessed June 5, 2019.
  5. Yang M, Hu X, Xie L, et al. SARC-F for sarcopenia screening in community-dwelling older adults. Medicine. 2018;97(30):1-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6078742/pdf/medi-97-e11726.pdf. Accessed June 5, 2019.
  6. Incontinence: Treatment by a Physical Therapist (video). American Physical Therapy Association. https://youtu.be/zxaZYZedBX4.
  7. Simon JA, Nappi RE, Kingsberg SA, et al. Clarifying Vaginal Atrophy's Impact on Sex and Relationships (CLOSER) survey: emotional and physical impact of vaginal discomfort on North American postmenopausal women and their partners. Menopause. 2014 Feb;21(2):137-42.
  8. Osteoporosis Fast Facts. National Osteoporosis Foundation; 2015: https://cdn.nof.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Osteoporosis-Fast-Facts.pdf. Accessed February 14, 2019.
  9. Section on Women's Health. CSM 2019 Sessions Sponsored by Section on Women's Health. https://www.womenshealthapta.org/2019csm-sessions/. Accessed February 14, 2019.
  10. Gale CR, Cooper C, Sayer AA. Prevalence and risk factors for falls in older men and women. The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Age Aging. 2016:45(6):789-794. https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afw129. Accessed June 5, 2019.
  11. Rich NC. Menopause is not a disease. J Women's Health Phys Ther. 2006;30(3):4-5.

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