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Exercise can be an intimidating routine to pick back up after having pelvic pain or dysfunction. Fear of urinary incontinence (both urge and stress), increased pelvic pain or re-injury, or just feeling like you are so out of shape that you can’t even start a routine up again, can all be reasons women avoid exercise or returning to the workouts they used to love.Read More
A Women’s Health Tech Innovator Shares Her Personal Story & What Drives Her to Improve Conversations about Women’s Sexual Health
Hi readers — Erin Jackson here! I’m so thrilled to share this guest blog post from Estrella. She’s been a friend for the past couple years, and we’ve bonded over our shared passion for improving women’s pelvic health. I’m honored that she’s shared her story with us here. Please give it a read, and then head over to B-wom’s website to learn more about her app.
I never wanted children until I decided I did. As I emerge a healthy, functioning human after being disabled by pelvic pain for years, my biological clock has begun blaring at me. It's an obnoxious take-no-prisoners alarm. There doesn’t seem to be an “off” switch, so I've been hitting "snooze" for the past two years.Read More
For those who don't know, THINX are a period underwear that can substitute for (or give back-up to) tampons or pads. They're reusable (so they scratched my environmentalist itch), they're made by a woman-owned company (scratching my feminist itch), and they're utterly natural (scratching my itch to have transparency for those things I put in or on my body).Read More
I’ve connected with many women around Chicago, holding hands across the table with them at Starbucks while we shed tears of sheer gratitude for the unique empathy and understanding we can offer to each other. I’ve giggled with them through mascara-stained cheeks as we wonder what nearby customers think of all this emotional vulva talk.Read More
I think we as patients would often be better off with no medical intervention. Because not all "intervention" counts as healthcare. And yesterday, while I saw a doctor and received an exam and had some tests run, I wasn't cared for. And it felt like shit.Read More
Exercise feels good, it’s empowering, and it’s taught me to be in-tune with my strengths in a way I didn’t realize possible. I’ve formed friendships, gained confidence, and found community. And, had I listened to those providers who long ago told me I should live more gently, I would’ve missed out on the entire experience.Read More
Missy Lavender, CEO of Below Your Belt, has shared with us this primer on plane travel with a stressed-out bladder. Enjoy, and #flydry!
As a bladder health patient - part urge/part stress - I am on a constant 'bladder alert'. Yes, I know all the "to do's" and "not to do's" and, in general, I feel like I am winning the battle of the bladder. But then there is THE PLANE RIDE......(cue Star Wars theme, "dum de Dum, dum de Dum....")! How do you handle a one, two or in my case this morning, a three hour teeny tiny cylinder in the air, plane ride?Read More
Today, as I ran from my physical therapist's clinic to my yoga studio, I was reminded of something that I can't afford to moderate: my courage. At one point, as I've shared, going to my PT's clinic ("my PT") for tune-ups was a challenge. I wanted to be "better," and I thought that meant "having no need for any medical intervention." As I've grown these past two years, becoming an athlete, a yogi, a 40-pounds-heavier, living, breathing woman, I've changed my mind. My PT is vital to my enjoyment of life, because she allows me to continue to be courageous. She'll be there if I fall (as she's demonstrated oh-so-many times before).Read More
If you’re a provider who treats those who hurt, I urge you to stay above the chaos of pain’s wrecking ball. You need to remain logical, focused on the end-goal and the pain science and the sensitivity of the patient’s nervous system. You need to be willing to refer patients to other providers. Be careful not to attempt treatments that are likely to worsen the patient’s suffering, simply because you’ve exhausted all other treatment modalities.Read More
For years, my pelvic pain prevented me from having the fun, spontaneous, gloriously cliché 20-something sex that my friends were enjoying. You know – the kind of sex that they gushed about at brunch. Sex that was breaking their hearts and exhilarating their sense of liberated womanhood and adulthood. Sex that their doctors were lecturing them about. I couldn’t have that kind of sex because my vagina (and vulva and back and thighs) were excruciatingly painful. That was my dirty little secret.Read More
When I stopped seeing my PT regularly, I tried to avoid coming back in for visits. I wanted to feel like I was actually healthy, and not relying so heavily on her help. This sounds silly now, but at the time, I hadn’t gone more than a couple of weeks without PT for years. But after seeing my health through this goofy construct for a few months, I began to understand that a much better goal is a state of “supported independence.”Read More
These are my favorite lady products of 2016, but that doesn't mean they were all born in 2016. They're the sweet little nothings that made an arduous year (all those POTUS debates, amiright?) just a bit better or comfier or happier. So, without further adieu, enjoy!Read More
So you have pain with sex, or you leak urine when you sneeze, or you feel a bulge in your vagina, or you have chronic constipation or any other “down there” health concern. Where do you begin? Having suffered from pelvic pain and an assortment of related health issues for years, these are my suggestions for finding the right provider, getting the help you need, and speaking candidly about tough issues.Read More
My first period was dreadful from the first drop. I grabbed several pads and headed to my room with a tear-stained face. For the next few hours, until my mother returned home, I checked my underwear every few moments. Each time that I saw blood, I changed the pad. I think I probably changed it every 20 minutes until she came home. I had no idea what I was supposed to do and was woefully unprepared for this moment.Read More
Sex after pelvic pain is f*#&ing scary (no pun intended). Nevertheless, I somehow DID find the courage to hop back in the sack, and I’m really glad that I did. This time, it didn’t feel like my PT’s voice was in my head the whole time, narrating where my knee should go, whether my pillow was at the right height, and whether I should reapply my Lidocaine.Read More
I didn’t “recover” from pelvic pain spontaneously. Rather, I gradually felt better, I had more “good days” than “bad days,” and I slowly reincorporated physical activity (things as simple as walking) into my life. It took time, and it took the persistent encouragement of my physical therapist for me to take the plunge.Read More
Coming off years of chronic pelvic pain including surgeries, medications, excruciating pain, fear, and endless medical appointments, I’m understandably skeptical about what pregnancy would mean for my body. My providers have, over the years, offered advice that ranges from horrifying to reassuring.Read More
My illness and weekly out-of-state travel for care had worn me down. I looked like a ghost, spent most of my time in bed, missed classes frequently, and was probably starting or withdrawing from some new horrible medication. We realized that if we married, I would lose my insurance -- my only access to care. And to be frank, I was a wreck. We held hands, I cried, and we decided to indefinitely postpone our wedding. Notifying our family and friends was heart-wrenching.Read More