Posts in aging
Pelvic Health

I recently gave a talk to a group of women about the Pelvic Floor: what is is, what affects it, who is affected, and what to do about it. This was the 2nd time I’ve given this talk (for a monthly series) because it was so well-received the 1st time.

The first talk was a huge success.  There were several people that came to the talk AGAIN the second time around.

The first talk was a huge success. There were several people that came to the talk AGAIN the second time around.

In my talk, we dive right into the hormonal aspects of pelvic floor health, the personal history contributions, and the physical/mechanical factors at play.

I have long taken for granted the fact that people do not know their internal anatomy. I fell in love, head-over-heels-passionate-sleepless-nights-in-love with human anatomy when I was 19. I am visual. I locked in on where every organ, muscle, bone and ligament lived in the human body. Now, I’m teaching people in their 40’s where their bladder is relative to their uterus (or prostate!) and their colon and rectum. it feels like I have always known.

It is now believed to be true that 70-80% of the general population has some degree of pelvic floor dysfunction serious enough to warrant a doctor’s visit. The median age for females is 41. Let that sink in. That is why we decided the time had come for us to do a pelvic floor talk. My bootcamp leader at Wy’east Sisterhood and I were involved in a discussion with women who had never been pregnant, talking about incontinence.

Hold the phone.

People that had never been pregnant had pelvic floor issues? That’s when a light came on for me. I had treated tons of people for pelvic floor issues, but most of them were postpartum. I even said, “Every body that has a pregnancy needs pelvic floor work afterward”.

I had bought into the misunderstanding. People who had not been pregnant would not come to see me for things like constipation, low back pain, prostatitis, erectile dysfunction, or recurrent UTIs because those things haven’t been connected to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction in the mainstream. They didn’t know to come, and I hadn’t told them.

Well, I am telling them (and you) now. We are at a time when the importance of the pelvic floor muscles and organs is being realized. It’s about more than Kegels.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21160318

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26926816

You Start Dying Slowly
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Bear with me, this is a message of hope.

Birthdays roll around once a year.  How do you feel on your birthday?  This poem, by Pablo Neruda is close to the thoughts I have.

You start dying slowly...

if you do not travel,

if you do not read,

If you do not listen to the sounds of life,

If you do not appreciate yourself.

 

You start dying slowly...

When you kill your self-esteem;

When you do not let others help you.

 

You start dying slowly...

If you become a slave of your habits,

Walking everyday on the same paths…

If you do not change your routine,

If you do not wear different colors

Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.

 

You start dying slowly...

If you avoid to feel passion

And their turbulent emotions;

Those which make your eyes glisten

And your heart beat fast.

 

You start dying slowly...

If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,

If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,

If you do not go after a dream,

If you do not allow yourself,

At least once in your lifetime,

To run away from sensible advice…

 

~~ BY: Pablo Neruda, Spanish poet who won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971

Modern medicine as art.

I like to read the Health sections of several newspapers in the morning to see what's out there.  I generally try to discuss naturopathic medicine on this blog each week, but today I want to share with you one of the most creative, fascinating uses of modern medicine I've ever seen.  It's not even primarily about health, but about pursuing our passion in life and quenching that innate curiosity we are all born with. I have watched this curiosity bloom in my own daughter each day.  It's natural to want to know about the world around us.  It's when we stop asking questions and become complacent that we start to deteriorate mentally, physically, and emotionally.  So it is about well-being.

I challenge you this week to find what stokes that child-like inquisitiveness in you.  Pursue it a bit, and see if you don't discover something amazing.  Like this guy, Satre Stuelke, an artist turned med student.ctscan_480jpg

Vitamin D and you!

Winter in the Pacific NW generally means very little opportunity for sun exposure.  When you're talking about a nutrient that is made in the body when skin gets exposed to UV light, the lack of rays can be a problemo grande. I've been checking my patients' Vitamin D levels this winter with surprising results.  I have yet to get a normal result back.  The normal range isn't even all that high.  People still have symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency at the "normal" level.  Symptoms like: lethargy, decreased mood, body aches, soreness, headaches, decreased libido.  Any of this sound familiar?

When I was in medical school, a family member called me with what sounded like a classic case of fibromyalgia.  She was having difficulty sleeping, had lots of pain in her body, and was tired all the time.  One of my mentors at the time suggested Vitamin D.  She got her levels checked and they were extremely LOW.  She started taking 1000 IU/day.  Her levels have been in the optimum range now for years AND she doesn't feel like she has fibromyalgia.

Aside from feeling good in the winter, Vitamin D is important for long-term health issues.  Check out this article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  It talks about how Vitamin D appears to delay aging and diseases of aging by slowing the turnover rate of white blood cells.

Taking a high quality Vitamin D supplement daily is a good idea if you live somewhere gray.  It's also a good idea to get your nutrients from food sources whenever possible.  The best sources of Vitamin D are:

  • Herring, 85 g (3 ounces (oz)) provides 1383 IU
  • Catfish, 85 g (3 oz) provides 425 IU
  • Salmon, cooked, 100 g (3.5 oz]) provides 360 IU
  • Mackerel, cooked, 100 g (3.5 oz]), 345 IU
  • Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 50 g (1.75 oz), 250 IU
  • Tuna, canned in oil, 85 g (3 oz), 200 IU
  • Eel, cooked, 100 g (3.5 oz), 200 IU
  • One whole egg, provides 20 IU

images*amounts provided by Wikipedia.*

Women of childbearing age and children should not eat mackerel  or more than 6oz of tuna per week due to mercury content.

There are rare cases of people overdosing on Vitamin D.  You should always consult with your doctor before adding anything new to your daily intake of nutrients.  It is advisable to have your Vitamin D levels checked to assess the proper dosage for your body.

Knitting with purpose.

Check out this article from the BBC today: It turns out that knitting, amongst other things, can actually prevent you from developing dementia.  I love to knit, try to do the crossword puzzle at least once a week, and we play a lot of Scrabble at home too.  Keeping your brain active keeps you protected from early-onset memory loss.   So grab those needles, pens, or puzzles, and stay healthy!

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