Women’s Health Week, is encouraging women to not overlook their health and wellbeing, especially this year with the added stress that COVID-19 has placed on people’s lives. This is a sponsored post.
THE not-for-profit organisation, Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, through Women’s Health Week, is encouraging women to not overlook their health and wellbeing, especially this year with the added stress that COVID-19 has placed on people’s lives.
The week, from September 7-11, will be a reminder to take time out, check in on women’s health and to keep making positive changes that can last a lifetime.
Now in its eighth year, Women’s Health Week will be asking women to go online and sign up for five days of free online health information that will be sent via email. The emails will contain podcasts, quizzes, videos, recipes and practical articles on a range of health topics such as mental and emotional wellbeing and heart health.
People can also sign up to a step challenge to collectively travel 16,500 kms or 22 million steps – the distance is equal to the circumference of Australia!
The “virtual steps” challenge can be walked, run, danced, wheeled, skipped or cycled anytime and anywhere, even indoors on a treadmill.
More information via womenshealthweek.com.au
Diagnosis distress: Women wait longer for answers
NOT only are women more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases but they also tend to face longer wait times to receive answers from the medical system, when compared to men, says Arthritis ACT CEO Rebecca Davey.
“Men tend to get pushed through the drug and pathology system quicker than women,” she says.
“It’s a widespread issue that women’s complaints are not considered to be as important as men’s, creating a lot more social and emotional distress for women.”
In addition to living with chronic health conditions, Rebecca says women’s caring responsibilities can cause them to put their pain or health to the side while they look after family members.
“Women also tend to develop autoimmune diseases earlier in their life, which affects their child-bearing and rearing years as well as their careers,” she says.
“Many women have to drop out of work at a younger age which leads to social disadvantage.”
Arthritis ACT supports women dealing with these issues through a number of initiatives including hydrotherapy classes and support groups.
“We now provide a full suite of pain support services as well as being the main contact for the myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) society,” says Rebecca.
“We find that women depend on each other to give advice and support. By giving them a network it helps make life a little easier for them.”
Caring Vera helps with pelvic floor issues
VERA Chalneva is the newest physiotherapist of Manuka Woden Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic, having started at the practice two months ago.
She prides herself on being empathetic, building a connection with her patients and helping them with a range of problems from musculoskeletal injuries to incontinence.
She says women should not be afraid to seek help with pelvic floor issues.
“After childbirth or as we get older, women should seek help for incontinence as there is a lot that physiotherapy can do to help improve function and get women back to doing the activities they enjoy,” she says.
Vera has a background in gymnastics and dance and has coached a lot of women in these sports, seeing first hand the specific injuries and problems that dancers and gymnasts experience.
The practice is headed by Greg Nash who has 35 years’ experience. Greg’s special interest areas are in musculoskeletal physiotherapy, sports injuries and occupational health and safety.
He says Vera’s arrival provides a fresh outlook and insight to the practice.
“It’s great to be able to give our patients the option to choose to see a female physiotherapist. It provides a good balance,” he says.
Manuka Woden Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic. Call Manuka on 6295 6896 or Woden on 6281 1382 or visit manukawodenphysio.com.au
Physiotherapy helps with chronic pelvic pain
EVIDENCE shows that physiotherapy is a key part to managing chronic pelvic pain, says Dr Uche Menakaya of Junic Specialist Centre.
“We have a better understanding of the changes that happen when people have chronic pelvic pain, in relation to the pelvic floor muscles,” says Dr Menakaya.
Dr Menakaya and his clinical partner, adjunct associate Prof Elissa O’Keefe, offer an obstetrician/gynaecologist and nurse practitioner “combined practice” at their Coombs-based clinic. They work in conjunction with physiotherapist Tabitha Webb, who specialises in treating pelvic floor conditions. Together, they have more than 45 years’ experience in women’s health.
“I see a lot of patients with chronic pelvic conditions, including endometriosis,” says Tabitha, who is accepting new patients without the need for a referral.
“I focus on treating pelvic pain as well as bladder or bowel issues, sexual dysfunction and any pelvic problems relating to pregnancy and post pregnancy.”
Tabitha also works with patients who have pelvic organ prolapse and can fit pessaries.
Empathetic and compassionate about pain and problems that women encounter, Tabitha encourages women not to put off getting help for conditions that might be causing pain and affecting their quality of life.
Junic Specialist Centre, Molonglo Health Hub, 110 Woodberry Avenue, Coombs. Call 6178 0470 or visit junicimaging.com.au
Clinic works quickly to relieve pain
IT’S never too late for women to take care of their health, says Belconnen Physiotherapy Clinic’s senior women’s health physiotherapist, Shannon Mangin.
“Across the lifespan women may have challenges [and it’s] important to take good care of yourself because you are invaluable to so many others in your lifetime,” she says.
With 20 years’ experience in musculoskeletal physiotherapy, 15 of those years at Belconnen Physiotherapy Clinic, Shannon says the team strives to provide a continuum of care.
“Using our ‘pain to performance’ model, we work to quickly relieve pain and get people back to doing what they love – moving,” says Shannon.
“We offer many different classes such as small physiotherapy exercise groups, hydrotherapy, stability and mobility pilates, and functional strength and conditioning classes.
“People may attend for a period of time to gain confidence in moving again or enjoy it so much they stay in classes long term.”
She says she sees women for a number of reasons including stress and urge incontinence, overactive bladder, prenatal and postnatal care, ultrasound for mastitis, pelvic floor pain disorders and pelvic girdle pain and Sacroiliac (SIJ) dysfunction.
“Most women are unaware of the treatment we provide,” she says.
“They are pleasantly surprised by how quickly they improve when they follow the exercise programs. There is often a sense of relief when they discover they may not need surgery.”
Belconnen Physiotherapy Clinic, unit 1/20 Purdue Street, Belconnen. Call 6251 3487 or visit belconnen.physio
Kristen’s fun, affordable way of getting fit
MANY of the women who come to Capital Nordic Walking love the social side of exercising and going for a walk with a friend, says fitness instructor Kristen Pratt.
Kristen says Nordic Walking is one of the most convenient, affordable and fun ways to get and stay fit.
“We have found a lot of younger women have come to us when the gyms and pools were closed and they love the total body workout Nordic Walking gives them,” says Kirsten.
She says Nordic Walking strengthens the arms, shoulders and core muscles, while working the pelvic floor muscles, too.
“The firmer you push the pole, the more you activate the upper body and increase your heart rate,” says Kristen, who discovered Nordic Walking in 2011 when she was living in Switzerland.
“People can use the length of their pole to ensure they remain socially distant and walk ‘poles apart’ from others. The only item you have contact with is your own Nordic Walking poles and exercising in the fresh air is a safe place to be.”
Nordic Walking, Kristen says, is suitable for women at all fitness levels and ages and the community of Capital Nordic Walking is a supportive one, especially of those who are older or have mobility or health challenges.
Initiative to reduce high rates of gestational diabetes
GESTATIONAL diabetes is more common in Canberra than any other state or territory, with one in seven pregnant women in the ACT having gestational diabetes, according to Rebecca McPhee from Diabetes NSW and ACT.
“On top of this, 50 per cent of the women who have gestational diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes within the next 10 to 20 years,” says Rebecca.
To reduce the incidence of gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases, Diabetes ACT and ACT Health have launched Capital Chicks CANberra – an online health initiative empowering women in the ACT to make healthy living easier.
It’s a non-judgemental, supportive environment where women of any age can sign up for free. Featuring podcasts, recipes, stories and workouts, users can select their life-stage and then access the information that is relevant to them, says Rebecca.
She says Capital Chicks aims to be a credible source of information and inspiration for local women.
“While the statistics are scary, there is good news. While there are some non-modifiable risk factors such as genetics and age, in many cases gestational diabetes can be prevented through lifestyle choices,” Rebecca says.
Natalie Smith, general manager of Diabetes ACT says they’re here to support 18,500 people in the community living with diabetes and want to raise awareness of diabetes by increasing early screening and detection as well as education about living a healthy lifestyle.
Diabetes ACT, 19-23 Moore Street, Turner. Call 6248 4500. For Capital Chicks CANberra, visit capitalchickscanberra.com.au
Doctor says remaining active is key
A KEY message for women during Women’s Health Week is to maintain bone and joint health and remain active, says orthopaedic surgeon Dr Phil Aubin, pictured, from Orthopaedics ACT.
“Both osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are the main conditions affecting women’s health,” he says.
“It’s important to promote awareness of the importance of bone and joint health. This, together with a healthy diet and weight-bearing exercises are important to enable women in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
He says women often come to the practice with osteoporosis-related fractures, requiring surgical fixation and guided recovery plans by the experienced team, as well as joint arthritis.
“We offer education, non-surgical treatment plans as well as surgery for joint replacements,” says Dr Aubin.
The team at Orthopaedics ACT includes seven orthopaedic surgeons, each with their own sub-specialties, a sport and exercise medicine physician, a full time nurse-run clinic as well as two paediatric orthopaedic surgeons.
“We provide comprehensive care by integrating allied health care and non-surgical and surgical treatment,” says Dr Aubin.
“We hear positive feedback from a great variety of patients, whether it is about our caring and professional approach to each individual and their needs or simply about our great Woden location.”
Orthopaedics ACT, Woden Specialist Medical Centre, Level 2, 90 Corinna Street, Phillip. Call 6221 9320 or visit orthoact.com.au
The convenience of online Pilates classes
PILATES can be done any time and from anywhere, with the support of expert online instructors, says Pilates Canberra owner Lanette Gavran.
Once COVID-19 hit, Lanette acted fast and within four days had adapted classes to an online format.
Pilates Canberra at Hale Health Spa is now open again to restricted numbers, private or duet classes, though Lanette says they will continue with online instruction as it has been so popular.
“We had to completely close all our in-person classes and instead offered one-on-one support in real time, Zoom classes for groups and pre-recorded classes that people could do in their own time,” she says.
“We’ve found that it’s more convenient for many people, who are busy with work and families, or immunocompromised, and prefer to be able to do their class from home.”
With experienced instructors, who are able to watch students very closely and correct them online, Lanette says it’s been successful and she intends to continue.
“It was in the back of my mind to offer classes online at some point but it all happened sooner than I thought it would,” she says. “We do general strength and conditioning, as well as injury rehabilitation, and while some people have complex needs and specific conditions, it’s working out really well.”
Pilates training can also help improve flexibility and balance, and Lanette says mat work classes are just as worthy as using the equipment, for people who aren’t able to return to the studio yet.
“We have always had a significant focus on a high standard of hygiene and are following all protocols to create a covid-safe and spotlessly clean space,” she says.