Northwell Health…Putting the “Care” back in “Health Care” (Observations and notes from a seminar run by medical professionals)

Chatter.

That is all that the mind could interpret when I walked into the Long Island Marriott on May 4, 2016, for the Women’s Health Seminar.

For the last seven years, bi-annually, the Northwell Health (formerly North Shore LIJ Health System) Katz Institute for Women’s Health has held a day of interesting workshops for women. The speakers are some of their most esteemed staff, who come and openly and honestly discuss some of the. oftentimes, more awkward medical conditions of the common woman: sexual dysfunction and pelvic discomfort, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), stress, weight management, Complementary medical treatments, and cancer.

Did you ever notice how when women head for a sign-in table, at conferences such as these, that they take longer to sign their name? This is because women take a proactive stance against confusion and know how to manage their time.

Women ask questions about the sequence of upcoming events, how can she find her workshops, what is going on in the Lighthouse Ballroom, where are the ladies’ rooms, and “May I bring my coffee into the Grand Ballroom?” The answer being, “Of course you may.” 75% of the human race would implode, if it did not get its coffee fix every day.

I opted for the English Breakfast Tea. I find tea a much more soothing way to start my day than taking a hit off the caffeine pipe and sitting in my chair a jittery mess.

Coffee = jitters, and actually, I found out that it is incredibly destructive to our digestive systems. Our gut health is the most crucial aspect of overall health because the gut dictates how well everything else is going to work. Coffee, when consumed in such the fashion that many women (and men) do – especially millennials , it destroys our gut health. Too much coffee can cause symptoms of Incontinence and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Both are easily treated, but from what I heard today, if you treat your gut right from the start, it will treat you nicely.

All the rest rooms around the workshop conference rooms were converted into strictly “womens'” rooms for the purpose of today’s events. Perhaps the Marriott anticipated these possible effects of too much coffee inside the body?

The solution to Incontinence is to improve our Pelvic Floor. Now, you what be asking yourself, “What the hell is a Pelvic floor?” From what I heard today, it is all of the muscles that surround your vagina, bladder, and your anal sphincter. If you find yourself a victim of peeing a little bit when you laugh, sneeze, work out, run, walk, or even are just standing…then you can do Kegel Exercises to improve this. This is just a simple squeezing of the pelvic muscles, for a minimum of ten seconds at a time, and they should be done daily. You can do them any time, anywhere…just…not while you are peeing. According to Northwell Health Physical Therapist Nancy Silva-Mullins, this can seriously mess up your bladder’s train of thought whilst you’re urinating, and it can cause you to not fully empty the bladder. So, no Kegels whilst peeing. Got it?

Something else suggested today to try and battle Incontinence is to retrain your bladder. Create a strict peeing schedule for yourself. This way the body starts to recognize when it is time to release urine and when it is not.

I AM IN NO WAY A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. I AM JUST AN OBSERVER,  A METICULOUS NOTE-TAKER, AND A WRITER. PLEASE TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING ANYTHING HERE AS MEDICAL ADVICE.

The turnout was amazing, and the Keynote Speaker, Arianna Huffington, author of the bestseller, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time, explained to us the importance of prioritizing sleep. Ms. Huffington graciously explained to the crowd why she has suddenly become a crusader for a good night’s sleep.

She collapsed once…from sleep deprivation. Running a news empire, such as the Huffington Post, can definitely do that to a person. BUT, she told herself that enough was enough and she has fought to re-kindle the romance of sleep in her life. She takes a bath with epsom salts and flickering candle lights. She wears real pajamas and reads a book before bed. The most important part of her sleep routine is that she gently escorts ALL technology and any smart devices from her bedroom before she gets in bed.

Something everyone of us is guilty of is becoming slaves to our smart-phones, our tablets, our laptops, our televisions. The second we touch those screens and light them up to “just check to see if anyone texted us” our brains once again become fully charged and ready to go because they think that it is time to start the day.

She also says that we need to create the perfect atmosphere for sleep, in our bedrooms. People spend six hours picking out the perfect coffee table and piece of modern art for their living rooms, but how much time do we spend figuring out how our bedroom should feel? We spend most of our day inside this room. It should call to us at night and create a safe haven for our sleepy brains. Our beds should feel like one great big, fluffy rechargeable mat for our brains. Let’s be honest – we take better care our electronics than we do our own brains. Well, let’s reverse that. Arianna has paired up with the extremely talented Diane von Furstenberg to create gorgeous bedrooms. I cannot afford DVF designs, but take a look at them on social media. Re-create them in the way that you feel fits your level of comfort and your sleep needs. Some people need lots of pillows, and for some, it is all about the blankets and pillows can just go to hell. (I have a friend who loathes pillows.) Create the perfect bed, clear off your night stand, remove the electronics, romance yourself to sleep, and you can finally feel rested.

I have yet to begin reading Arianna’s book, but I am sure it is going to transform my life. Just hearing her speak today made me feel like my bad sleeping habits will be a thing of the past very quickly. All the information I absorbed today can help to change my life in some way, and I encourage women to attend this conference and conferences just like it.

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