Women often tend to put the needs of others before their own and set their sights on being a good mother, stepmother, sister, daughter, or friend. During the 16th annual National Women’s Health Week, which begins on Mother’s Day and continues through May 16th, let’s remember that one of the best ways to take care of loved ones is to encourage them to take good care of themselves.
National Women’s Health week was established to empower women to make health a top priority. Women are encouraged to schedule their annual well-visit on National Women’s Check-up Day, May 11th. It becomes increasingly vital to be aware of health issues since risk factors for many conditions progress as women age.
A widespread condition that many women face, during pregnancy or when peri-menopausal to post-menopausal, is pelvic floor dysfunction. There are two types of pelvic floor dysfunction. The first condition is caused by the weakening muscles, tissue, and ligaments that support the pelvic organs. This may lead to urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse, a condition in which the uterus, bladder, and bowel may descend into the vaginal canal. The second type of pelvic floor dysfunction is related to muscle imbalance and tension issues. Pelvic pain, including vaginal or rectal symptoms, pain with intercourse or voiding dysfunction are symptoms of this.
The National Institutes of Health report that nearly 24% of women in America are affected with one or more pelvic floor disorders, which increases to 40% between the ages of 60 and 79. It’s no surprise that many women don’t seek medical help when dealing with the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, due to its sensitive nature. However, it’s a common condition that can be treated with the assistance of medical professionals and the specialized pelvic floor therapists at South County Physical Therapy, Inc. (SCPT). Exercises can be customized to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, relieve tension and reduce the severity of symptoms.
Deteriorating bone tissue, referred to as osteoporosis, is another condition in which risk increases with age. Women are most susceptible to osteoporosis because of lower bone mass and menopause, which can cause increased loss of bone. An inactive lifestyle tends to make bones weaker, while exercise is shown to have a positive impact on bone, which is a living tissue. Engaging in consistent physical activity, including strengthening exercises, can help keep bones strong.
Combating the effects and progression of decreased bone health requires a thorough understanding of bone structure and composition, DXA analysis, and risk factors that lead to diagnoses of osteoporosis and osteopenia. SCPT recommends the MEEKS Method, a comprehensive approach for the treatment of osteoporosis and osteopenia. This method of treatment helps patients to improve posture and balance, improve strength and flexibility, decrease back and neck pain, and decrease the risk of falls and fractures.
Menopause typically occurs around the age of 51 and is the natural reduction of reproductive hormones. Although this is an expected life event for all women, the side effects can still be problematic. According to the North American Menopause Society, the most commonly reported symptoms include hot flashes, difficulty sleeping and mood disturbances. For detailed information on menopause, visit: http://www.menopause.org/.
While many of the above conditions come with increased age, one factor that you can control is your lifestyle. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that all women visit a doctor for checkups and preventative screenings as they age. Additionally, maintaining an active lifestyle, eating a nutritious diet, and paying attention to mental health are important factors in preserving optimal health.
In a recent study reported by Psychological Science, overall well-being and satisfaction with life actually may increase with age. Older adults often feel more self-confident, secure, and proud of the lives they have built. Enjoying life to the fullest, laughing with friends, engaging in pleasurable activities, and staying socially active can be done at any age and benefit long-term health and quality-of-life. Remembering, always, that your needs matter will help you remain healthy, strong, wonderful, and the one-and-only you!
For over 30 years, SCPT has proudly specialized in the treatment of many conditions affecting women. Through their Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Program and their Osteoporosis program, SCPT therapists have customized countless treatment plans to help patients deal with these conditions that affect their everyday lives and improve the quality of each day. SCPT also offers physical therapy for Oncology Rehabilitation and Lymphedema, with the goal of enabling patients to overcome the effects of cancer treatment. For more information, please contact SCPT at 508-832-2628.