Pelvic Health Information for Aging Women

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Aging women, pelvic healthGuest post by Jen Juneau.

According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated one-third of U.S. women will develop a pelvic-health issue by age 60. This risk naturally increases with age, but aside from aging alone, other factors that may influence the development of these problems include:

  • Menopause
  • Obesity/extra weight
  • History of childbirth
  • Chronic coughing (often caused by smoking)

Pelvic problems include, but are not limited to, vaginal dryness, urinary tract infections (UTIs), pelvic-organ prolapse and urinary incontinence – the latter two of which are often treated with surgery.

While surgery may be the solution your doctor recommends and one you ultimately decide on trying, it’s important for you to stay informed about all of your options. For example, surgery involving transvaginal mesh is getting a large amount of negative buzz, resulting in numerous lawsuits being filed against the manufactures of mesh. Make sure you research the procedure and its known complications and ask questions of your doctor.

It’s possible that you will never have pelvic-health problems. If that’s the case, that’s wonderful. But women who aren’t that fortunate should know that these kinds of health issues don’t get better over time. This is why, as you approach menopause, it’s important to acknowledge and treat these conditions as soon as possible. Some of the options that you can consider include hormone replacement therapy, estrogen vaginal cream or a combination of diet, exercise and physical therapy. These treatments all have one thing in common – they don’t require surgery. Talk to your doctor about which option is best for you.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) involves taking synthetic hormones to treat a variety of conditions, including menopause. These hormones act naturally once in your body and can lessen symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness and itching. These come in skin-patch, gel, pill, spray, or cream form.

Estrogen Vaginal Cream or Ring

Estrogen vaginal cream releases a lower dose of estrogen into the body, helping to rebuild the vaginal lining and promoting collagen generation. The estrogen vaginal ring works similarly to the cream, but releases estrogen daily for three continuous months (the cream is usually applied more often). Many doctors recommend this treatment as a great way to support the vaginal epithelium (tissue lining inside the vagina) which thins over time and can create a multitude of problems – including perforation by transvaginal mesh.

Diet, Exercise and Physical Therapy

For those women who have the option of taking a more natural approach to their conditions, diet, pelvic-floor exercises and/or physical therapy are great treatments to consider. Staying at a healthy weight naturally puts less pressure on your body parts – including your pelvic organs. The lesson? Eat well, toss the cigarettes if you smoke, and start moving. These lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on your body.

Upon approval from your doctor, it’s also a great idea to try pelvic-floor exercises. Arguably the most popular of these is the Kegel, which is simple to perform and for which step-by-step instructions are easily found online. Seeing a physical therapist can take you one step further and give you an idea of exactly which muscles you need to be strengthening.

Jen JuneauJen Juneau is a content writer for Drugwatch.com. She enjoys researching medical issues, as well as technical and creative writing. Join the Drugwatch community and listen to Drugwatch Radio podcast to find out more.


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How to Prevent Earlobes from Sagging in Old Age

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EarlobeAs women age, it’s natural for certain parts of the body begin to sag or droop. Many women start taking countermeasures in their younger years to make sure that their arms stay firm and the skin on their face remains taut, but the ears are often forgotten. Just like other parts of the body, the skin on the ears also loosens over time. This, combined with years of wearing heavy earrings, can result in earlobes that look floppy and unattractive.

Though it’s impossible to change the fact that our ears will naturally stretch at least a little bit as we grow older, there are some things that can be done to limit the amount of sagging. In order to keep earlobes from aging, women can:

  • Apply the same moisturizers and sunscreen to the ears that are being used on the rest of the face.
  • Use skin care products that contain retinoid. They’re usually available by prescription only and can help preserve or regenerate collagen in the skin.
  • Wear light earrings, such as those made out of plastic. It’s a much lighter material and won’t place as much strain on the piercings.
  • Avoid wearing heavy earrings for long periods of time. If possible, they should be avoided altogether.

My earlobes are already droopy. Now what?

It may be too late to stop your earlobes from sagging, but there are still things you can do to repair them and improve their appearance. A simple fix for women with large piercing holes is to purchase earlobe support tape. The invisible stickers help take weight off of the earring hole and minimize the appearance of the piercing.

Earlobe reduction surgery is another option. The in-office procedure requires a local anesthetic, typically takes about 15 minutes each ear, and heals quickly.


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Detecting and Treating High FSH Levels Ahead of Time

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Though the chances of a woman getting pregnant drop significantly after age 35 and even more so after 40, a great many women are still able to conceive naturally after that age, and many more do so by turning to IVF treatments.

Couples looking to have children later in life can prepare themselves ahead of time for the possibility of infertility by taking a simple blood test. The FSH hormone test measures the amount of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and gives doctors an idea of how sensitive the ovaries are prior to being stimulated. The test can help find the cause of infertility by evaluating egg supply in women and sperm count in men.

In women, FSH helps control the menstrual cycle and the ovaries’ production of eggs, while in men it helps control sperm production. Though the amount of FSH hormone in men normally remains contact, FSH levels vary throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle.

When dealing with follicle-stimulating hormone levels, lower numbers are always better. High FSH levels indicate poor ovarian reserve and suggest the eggs have a reduced ability to fertilize.

Women with high FSH levels, however, should not lose hope, as there are simple techniques available for bringing those levels down by improving the health of the ovaries. These include exercise, detoxification, and even acupuncture.

Taking part in activities such as yoga, walking, and low-impact aerobics is a good way to improve blood flow. This ensures that a steady supply of hormones and nutrients is reaching the ovaries and tells your body to stop producing FSH.

Similar to the effects of exercise on the body, acupuncture therapy is also known to increase blood circulation. In addition, research has shown that women undergoing fertility treatments have a somewhat higher chance of conceiving if they are receiving regular acupuncture treatments.

Finally, it is important to cleanse the body of any chemicals that may be disturbing regular hormone production, seeing as less follicle-stimulating hormone is produced when the ovaries are healthy. Establishing better health starts with the foods we eat, and women seeking to lower FSH hormone levels should stay away from caffeine and limit consumption of salty foods, as well as trans and saturated fat. It is also recommended to eat more vegetables and take plenty of vitamins and iron.


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