Dryness? Low libido? "Urgency"? And we thought hot flashes, weight gain and emotional ups and downs were difficult enough to encounter during peri menopause and menopause!
Since I am lucky enough to do marketing photography for Rancho La Puerta (the #1 destination spa in the world according to Travel and Leisure readers for four out of the past six years), I was at "The Ranch" (as it's lovingly called by its many repeat guests) last week. Given that I'm producing a women's health retreat in January, I was thrilled to learn that there was a gynecologist on site who was to be speaking about women's health issues that are not so easy to discuss. Even with your gynecologist!
Dr. Lauren Streicher, M.D. practices in my original hometown of Chicago and was NOT shy about discussing "uncomfortable" women's health issues. In fact she was downright funny which is why she makes these topics so approachable. It's no wonder she's been a guest on Oprah!, Dr. Oz and Good Morning America (among others).
I'll be ordering her book and will have it on hand at The Healing Farm's Women's Hormone Balance and Detox Health Retreat January 13th - the 16th at Mayacamas Ranch (a few spots left!) since she does talk a bit about natural solutions for many issues. Among my favorites......
Why not combine a solution for the three issues I mention above? Vaginal dryness (about 50% of women experience during and post-menopause), Low Libido (can be partially due to discomfort due to the following AND preceding issues) and urinary incontinence (about 30-40% of women in middle age experience stress incontinence).
Did you know that the more you have sex, the more maintained lubrication is? Did you know that strengthening the pelvic floor (yes, kegel exercises) will intensify your orgasms and also help with urinary urgency (the stress kind). Keeping up with maintenance "down there" is the number one way you can naturally keep these issues at bay during your middle years!
Dr. Streicher speaks in WAY more detail about all of these issues both during her talks and presumably in her book, but my favorite (and based on the discussion at dinner that night and breakfast in the morning - everyone else's too) is a device called "intensity" created by a company called "Pour Moi". Apparently most women who try to do kegel exercises are not doing them correctly and not only that, don't keep up with them long enough to properly strengthen the pelvic floor in order to alleviate these chronic midlife health issues.
Believe it or not, you can see a certified pelvic physical therapist who can properly help you strengthen your pelvic floor (and in some cases, Dr. Streicher does refer patients to them), but the original Pour Moi device that was created helps you strengthen your pelvic floor for a lot less money AND in the comfort of your own home. The device vibrates when you are doing your kegels properly and after 4-6 weeks (4-6 days a week for ten minutes a day) your pelvic floor will be sufficiently strengthened and in most cases, the stress urgency will be gone. PLUS, you should be experiencing more intense orgasms which presumably will make you want to have more sex, which then helps keep everything healthy and lubricated. Voila!
But wait - it wasn't the original Pour Moi device that had everyone talking. Ahhh. Then Dr. Streicher showed us a picture of the "intensity" version. The company got smart and realized they could help women get into more of a routine by making it more fun. Why not add some external stimulation and add an orgasm to the exercise plan? Ha! Brilliant. Not only would you remember to do (and look forward to doing) your exercises, but you can also have fun while doing them AND help keep it all lubed up down there. Now this made everyone giggle and then seriously discuss!
According to Dr. Streicher, in most cases, there's no reason for 50% or more women to experience these common symptoms of aging and there's REALLY no reason we should feel uncomfortable discussing these issues. ESPECIALLY with our gynecologist! This is one of the reasons I wanted to create a women's retreat. I want us to come together and discuss these issues that so many of us experience in a comfortable setting amongst other women so that we can bring that discussion openly out to other women. Let's not be shy about these things!
I hope you can join us in January to hear Dr. Amy Nett talk about an ancestral functional medicine approach to natural solutions for women's health issues during middle age.
The Healing Farm - Cultivating Practical Wellness!