Let’s talk about women’s health
This Women’s Health Week, 5-11 September 2022, we asked women’s health experts why it’s time to start talking.
This year’s themes focus on health checks, menopause, mind health, pelvic health and getting active – topics centred on improving women's health and helping women make healthier choices.
Here we explore two topics and chat to experts about why it’s important to talk about women’s health, so that more women feel confident to seek out specialist advice and services.
Why is pelvic health important?
Pelvic floor health can be hard to talk about, though seeking help can make a real difference to helping women to live active, engaged and social lives, says Kerry O’Sullivan, Women’s Health Physiotherapist at the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Melbourne’s west.
This is because the muscles of the pelvic floor help maintain bladder and bowel control. These muscles also contribute to sexual enjoyment.
‘If you’re experiencing issues such as pelvic pain, painful sex, pelvic organ prolapse or incontinence, you should speak to your GP,’ recommends O’Sullivan.
‘We run an advanced practice Women’s Health Physiotherapy clinic, which means GPs can refer women directly to us – as can pelvic floor, gynaecology and maternity units within the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
‘Pelvic health physiotherapists assess and prescribe exercises and advice to improve symptoms. In most cases pelvic health conditions can be successfully treated or better managed,’ adds Sullivan.
Get informed with the Pelvic power section of the Jean Hailes Women’s Health Week website.
Or listen to The Jean Hailes podcast, where women’s health physiotherapist, Heba Shaheed explains why treatments like pelvic physiotherapy can be life-changing but are often overlooked or unknown to women.
Dealing with anxiety
Have you ever felt anxiety, battled brain fog, or had trouble sleeping when stressed?
If you’ve experienced any of these common symptoms, there are simple changes you can make to support improved mind health.
‘It’s important to start the conversation about mental health”, says Livia Cremona-Bellizia, Clinical Psychologist and Business and Service Improvement Lead at Joan Kirner Women's and Children's Hospital.
Livia Cremona-Bellizia, Clinical Psychologist and Business and Service Improvement Lead at Joan Kirner Women's and Children's Hospital
All women need to have avenues for support, and opportunities to feel heard and validated. If you think you need mental health support, reaching out to loved ones or professionals helps to normalise the challenges.
‘We know that the perinatal period is a high-risk time for women as it’s a stage of significant change and adjustment. It can trigger old wounds or open new ones.
‘This is all the more important when there’s a baby in the mix, because we want mothers to have the capacity to meet their baby’s practical and emotional needs, so be sure to ask for support if you need it.’
According to perinatal anxiety and depression not-for-profit organisation PANDA, up to one in five expecting mums will experience anxiety and depression during pregnancy and the first year of their baby’s life.
Learn how to spot the signs and get support with the Mind health section of the Women’s Health Week website.
About Women’s Health Week
Women's Health Week was launched in 2013 by Jean Hailes for Women's Health, a national not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving women’s health. Hailes established Australia’s first women's health clinic in 1971 – one of the inaugural menopause clinics in the world – dedicated to midlife and menopause.
Now in its 10th year, Women’s Health Week is a celebration of women from all walks of life and is recognised as the biggest week for women’s health and wellbeing in Australia.
For more information and resources, visit the Women’s Health Week website.
Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital
The $200 million Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital, on the Sunshine Hospital site, opened in May 2019 to meet the demand for world-class maternity and paediatric services in Melbourne’s west.
Learn more about the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital via our dedicated project page.
Last updated: 07 September 2022
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