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The Queen of My Self

Uncomfortable talks you should have with your Doctor
By Dr. Karen Hardart

As women move beyond the child-bearing years, their responsibilities and sources of stress can shift and even increase. But the transition from mommy to midlife shouldn’t be a crisis.

Women in their forties and fifties are often called the sandwich generation for a reason. We’re still parenting, yet may find ourselves caring for aging parents. In that squeeze women must remember to put their oxygen mask on first because women who take the time to care for their own physical and emotional wellbeing are better equipped to handle everything else on their plate.

Midlife is the time to tackle those issues our younger selves may have been too busy to address or too embarrassed to talk about.

What are some of the top uncomfortable conversations to have with your doctor?

  • Intimacy issues: A lot of intimacy issues I see with midlife women stem from loss of libido, or sexual desire. There’s no little blue pill to prescribe, but your doctor can help you get to the heart of the problem, uncovering possible medical reasons for the issue.
  • Bladder control problems: Urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, is common for women as they age — whether it’s the strong sudden urge to go out of nowhere or the type that come on when you sneeze, laugh or cough. But it is not something you have to live with. There are exercises and diet changes that can help, as well as procedures that can be done.
  • Perimenopause/Menopause: As an OB-GYN, I help many women manage the symptoms of menopause. Things that help include exercise, controlling your weight and, in some cases, hormone replacement therapy. New therapies have emerged, too.
  • Healthy habits: Your doctor can help you make those necessary lifestyle changes you’ve been meaning to do, like quitting smoking, eating healthier, getting enough sleep, and exercising. In some cases, these changes may go hand in hand with helping a medical issue you’ve been having.
  • Abuse: Your conversations with your doctor are confidential, yet crucial if you don’t know what to do about your situation.
  • Stress and depression: Talk to your doctor to better understand the chaos hormones may be inserting into your life, plus to help you navigate your stresses. Stress and/or depression could be tied to some of the other issues above, so taking care of one may help the other.

Your doctor can help you navigate these midlife matters, allowing you to put down the supermom cape and realize you’re not alone on your health journey.

Dr. Karen Hardart is an OB-GYN at Anne Arundel Medical Center

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

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