Last week when I attended and spoke at Spirit Health Group’s annual Pelvic Health Conference in Chicago, I saw a terrific presentation by Jenifer Ihm, content and program developer for the Women’s Health Foundation (WHF). One of the many things the Foundation focuses on is pelvic health education for adolescent girls. The culmination of all their work in that arena has been captured in a new book for girls and their caregivers (as well as their teachers) titled, Below Your Belt: How to Be Queen of Your Pelvic Region. It was co-authored by Jenifer Ihm and Missy Lavender, WHF Founder. The book’s purpose is to expand the conversation – moving away from simply talking about periods to incorporating an integrated view of bladder, bowel, reproductive health and the muscles supporting the pelvis.
Adolescent girls need a more holistic understand of pelvic health and that’s exactly what Below Your Belt aims to provide. And frankly, we need to be more willing to talk about pelvic health in general. As you’ll learn on the Below You Belt website, Pelvic Health Disorders (PHDs) affect 1 out of 3 women in the US, and cost Americans over 30 billion dollars per year for the care and treatment of many largely preventable issues. Yet, we aren’t comfortable talking about those “below the belt” health issues. It’s time to get over it.
In a blog post by the organization’s founder, Missy Lavender, expresses her hopes for the program: “We believe that BYB will help unlock the mysteries of the pelvis and reconnect girls to this vital part of their body. We believe BYB will help to prevent pelvic health issues.”
I applaud the efforts and initiative of Missy Lavender, Jenifer Ihm and their team at the Women’s Health Foundation. They are making health education interesting and fun – and they are starting important conversations in areas that most Americans treat as taboo. If you would like to learn more about this novel health education program, you can find their website at http://www.belowyourbelt.org/. Here’s a link to their Facebook page. The Women’s Health Foundation has launched an indiegogo fundraising campaign in an effort to help underwrite high costs of producing the book.
Here’s a video from the WHF that tells some of the pelvic health story: