With Jean Hailes women’s health week this week, now is the opportunity for women all over Australia to start talking about health. We as women are notoriously good talkers, however when it comes to health, many of us don’t take the time to find out credible information to many of our burning questions. Jean Hailes women’s health week aims to get rid of the elephant in the room and shed some light on our health.
This year’s theme is focusing on the question asked by many women around the world, “am I normal?” The online free webinars, run by experts in women’s health are structured around the concerns of real Australian women, as determined by the results of this year’s women’s health survey. This year’s survey found that the number one health topic that Australian women worry about is weight management, followed by women’s cancers, mental and emotional health, menopause and chronic pain. Even if you are not taking part in the online webinars, now is a good chance to reflect on your own health.
17% of women reported women’s cancers a significant concern. With one in eight women being diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85, it may come as a surprise that only 49% of women are participating in breast cancer screening. Furthermore, bowel cancer, whilst not solely a women’s cancer affects one in 15 women, however only 38% have had screening in the past 5 years. The good news is that many cancers can be easily screened. Although screening may be considered uncomfortable by many women, it is certainly more comfortable than treatment options after a late diagnosis. So make sure you take the opportunity to see your GP for a health check.
With all of the positive effects of a healthy body weight on physical and emotional health, there is no wonder that 23% of women report that weight management is their main concern. In addition to lowering blood sugar, preventing high blood pressure, improving your confidence and reducing your risk of cancer and heart disease, maintaining a healthy body weight can also improve symptoms of incontinence and pelvic floor concerns.
Whilst we all know the importance of exercise for weight management, good emotional health and improving symptoms of menopause, many women find aching joints, osteoporosis and pelvic floor concerns significant barriers. Osteoporosis and weak bones are sometimes incorrectly blamed as the culprit of pain, but in reality it is the malfunctioning joint or supportive tissue that is causing pain. This pain can usually be improved by proper diagnosis and treatment by your physiotherapist. Prescribed exercises can also assist in maintaining bone mineral density and decreasing the risk of fractures as well as improving joint pain. Pelvic floor concerns can be addressed by speaking to a women’s health physiotherapist about management options and exercises that reduce your symptoms.
For more information you can search the women’s health week website www.womenshealthweek.com.au. If you have any concerns regarding your health seek advice from your physiotherapist or GP.