I am so excited! In April I will be attending the “Stronger Together 2015” women’s conference in Raleigh. This year’s topic is “Midlife Matters: Menopause, Sexuality and Women’s Health”. Topics include pelvic floor disorder, menopause and diabetes, menopause management, midlife health planning and midlife sexuality. Did you know that women between the ages of 44 and 65 are the largest demographic group in the U.S.? We are the “sandwich generation”—wedged between children who are adults, but still may need our help from time-to-time, and our parents who are aging and relying on us more often. Another phase of our lives where we can forget that our own health and well-being is important. Strangely enough, we are also the most underrepresented study group in clinical trials involving health issues affecting adults. According to Kathy Kastan, Director of the Women’s Health Initiative at Duke Medicine, women are frequently diagnosed and treated with medications and devices that have been proven effective for men, but have not been studied in women. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration has a policy against this, yet it is not enforced for our demographic. The purpose of this conference is to educate women, open a dialogue among them, allow them to network and to empower them/us to be advocates in our own health care. I cannot wait to share this information with all of you. I wish it had been available to me and the important women in my life many years ago.
Our Goals–One Step Closer
It has always been a goal of Amy and me to empower women to care for their families in the most healthful way, but we have realized that in order to do this we must first take care of ourselves. Amy provides you information from the perspective of a young mom with her hands (very) full. She escorted you through her pregnancy and is now narrating the post-partum joys and challenges. I myself am at a very different stage of life: pre-menopause, approaching 50, soon to be an “empty nester”, and anticipating all of the changes that are about to take place, both physically and emotionally. Together, I hope Amy and I can encourage our followers of all ages to realize that self-care is our most important task in order that we may be our healthiest selves and have the strength and stamina to continue to care for the people we love. It is going to be our goal to address common issues that are often overlooked and incorrectly treated and hopefully provide you with information that will empower you to ask questions and seek treatments that will fully heal your body. Topics will be many and will include fitness and nutrition tips for a variety of issues we are facing.
Important Topics–Pelvic Floor Disorder
Amy has given us a lot of information regarding pelvic floor disorder and how vitally important it is for us to restore function in our pelvic and core muscles in order to alleviate or prevent symptoms. Not only is a strong pelvic floor important for a healthy pregnancy, but restoring function post-partum is critical for the aging process. The pelvic floor is a collection of muscles, connective tissues and nerves that support the bladder, uterus, vagina and rectum in order that they may function properly. The pelvic floor may not function properly if we have ever given birth, if we are overweight or obese, if we have had pelvic surgery or radiation treatments, or chronic UTIs. Causes can also be genetic or include repeated heavy lifting. [University of Chicago Medicine, http://www.uchospitals.edu]
A study by the National Institute of Health found that roughly 10% of women ages 20-39, 27% of women ages 40-59 and 37% of women ages 60-79 and nearly 50% of women age 80+ are affected by PFDs. Yet many who are suffering from symptoms of PFD suffer in silence believing they did something to cause it. The 3 main types of PFD are urinary incontinence, bowel incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, a condition in which the uterus, bladder and/or bowel may impede into the vagina causing a bulge through the vaginal canal. These disorders are not a normal, nor are they an acceptable part of the aging process. I know we often joke with our friends that when we laugh or sneeze we “pee a little”, but we don’t have to.
Amy is posting several helpful photos and video snippets for post-partum strengthening and pelvic floor recovery. She is our resident EXPERT and personal trainer in this journey. Eventually (later this year) we hope to be able to provide you with similar snippets for the aging body (by then I will be 50.) And hopefully, when you are cheering your kids on in their fall sports and you jump up and scream because your son/daughter just performed an awesome feat of physical greatness, you can do so with confidence! We are in this together, ladies, young and old(er)!