If knowledge is power, then we have a lot to learn and a long way to go.
There are some things I want to share with you today (with the help of some other writers). I feel very passionately about the state of women’s healthcare and want to highlight a few areas in which women are in need of more information, more funding, more access, and just plain more.
Endometriosis is a condition that affects approximately 10% of women, where tissue grows outside of the uterine cavity and often adheres to other organs in the body. This blog post should upset you and make you want to become an excision specialist. Megan details her journey with painfully debilitating endometriosis and how many doctors failed her along the way. Nobody should live with this much pain when it is treatable! And nobody should have to go to such great lengths to get the proper care.
PMS, Hormones, and The Pill
Here is a blog on the Couple to Couple League website which contains an excerpt from Marilyn M. Shannon’s book, Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition. The Pill interferes with optimal hormone imbalance and its users often have vitamin deficiencies, so if you want to come off the Pill, it’s important to take proper supplements to restore hormone balance.
Even if you have never taken the Pill, like myself, you will find these nutrition and vitamin guidelines useful for regulating your hormones. Changing my diet and using better multivitamins has shortened my way-too-long cycles, given me a longer Phase 3, and also clearer fertile signs.
I don’t hear enough women and medical professionals talking about the role of nutrition and vitamins in hormone balance. While there is some research out there, I think there could be more and it should be information that every women has in their hands to establish healthy fertility.
At-Home Fertility Monitoring
Here is a blog at www.naturalwomanhood.com that should upset you enough to write to the FDA. A new at-home hormone blood test is being developed so that women can draw their blood at home and an app can track the results. Among other reasons, it would greatly help women struggling with subfertility to detect low hormone levels and know when to take progesterone. The problem? FDA denied funding, saying that monitoring their fertility at home will cause women too much anxiety. Their statement assumed women will misinterpret the results and cannot handle that responsibility. Is everyone in the FDA male? This well-written argument should make you want to demand better treatment and better funding for women’s healthcare. It’s not ok to push The Pill to solve all reproductive problems, because it doesn’t solve any of them, it just masks the problems.
A final category that I have personal experience with is postpartum care. I go to a clinic that has “natural care” in their name. And yet, at my 6-week postpartum check up, they pressed on my uterus and asked if I wanted to harm myself or my baby, and then gave me the all clear. When I brought up some of my other symptoms, the nurse simply said, “Your body went through a lot these last 9 months, and it’ll take another 9 months to get back to normal.” Well, it took 3 more visits to the doctor to finally get a prescription estrogen cream for vaginal dryness. It took even more hours of internet research and talks with friends to realize I had diastasis recti and pelvic floor problems, as well as mild post-partum depression. My PPD didn’t look like baby blues but more like anger, exhaustion, crippling anxiety, and a feeling of disconnect with my baby. This blog by Jenny Uebbing at Mama Needs Coffee has a great compilation of posts related to post partum depression:
If you have had a baby and have peed your pants while exercising (or jumping on a trampoline), if you feel like something is going to fall out down there when running, or if you are having painful sex, then you probably need to see a pelvic floor specialist. None of this is normal; most of it can be corrected with the proper exercises and should not need surgery.
If you lay on your back and lift your head up and can feel a separation in your abs, you have diastasis recti and should not do intense exercising until you have closed up that separation through targeted exercises. I kept going to the chiropractor for the same pain until I realized I needed to stretch and strengthen my hip flexors, glutes, and pelvic floor. It’s my experience that sometimes your body doesn’t go back to normal 9 months after birth, but needs some specific help. I found this physical therapist’s information to be helpful:
I hope some of these topics spark discussion among mom friends and spouses, doctors and nurses, and that these conditions will get more of the research, funding, and attention they need. Women deserve better.