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My Mom is buying period pads! Help!

Connie, 54 ( originally wrote to me when she was 48) asks: You helped me prioritize my pelvic health and return to running years ago - thank you! But yesterday I saw my mom checking out at Walmart with PERIOD pads! Help! What do I say to her?

My reply: Hey Connie!

 Great to hear from you again! I know many chicks will benefit from reading your last Q & A here!

So happy to support your mom too! Approaching our mothers, grandmothers, older siblings about health topics can be a delicate subject. We want them to have accurate information… and at the same time, we don't want to embarrass them, or no one taught us how to “crack open” this conversation before!

Consider the following:

  • Ignore the fact that you happened to see her buying period pads (assuming you think she was buying for herself for light bladder leakage…)

  • Regardless of the “why," use this experience as a reason to have a pelvic health conversation with her

  • If she has email, flip her this article and disclose this is you; tell her about pelvic floor physiotherapy, the cost (financial and social) of incontinence and about your own journey and how things have improved for you once you asked for help! (Remind her: it's ok to ask for help!)

  • Emphasize it is not too late for her (this is really important for older folks as they might believe the narrative that they are unlucky or they could be fearful of surgery or simply that their “ship has sailed.”)

  • Employ a “trivia” approach--maybe while you're driving somewhere: “Hey mom, did you know that the paper-based incontinence pad industry is ~$16 BILLION US? And that people with incontinence might spend $50,000! I went to a pelvic floor physiotherapist and the appointments were WAY less than that!”

  • This is also a good time to bring up UTIs (urinary tract infections): “Do you know what else I learned? After we reach menopause, our urethra gets shorter and smaller (due to decline in estrogen!) This makes it more susceptible to infection--and UTIs are the most common. That's why Aunt Judy is getting so many UTIs. After a while, antibiotics can lose their effectiveness. We should mention to her that re-occurring UTIs are preventable!”

  • If you can, I would also want your mom to know that period pads are designed for menstrual blood and not urine; they are not meant for daily use or to manage urine flow or odour. Yes, pads might be necessary--but they are meant to be temporary, so if incontinence is the issue, it would be great if she understood all her best options--from leak-proof underwear to pelvic floor physiotherapy and pelvic floor exercises designed specifically for her, to pessaries to surgery…understanding all the options available will help empower her to make the health decision that's right for her!

  • …and if you don't want to have all these conversations with her (I get it!), just sign her up for Kegels & Mocktails on June 12th and attend or watch the replay together! (There's currently a 2-for-1 ticket offer especially so members will bring both their mothers & their daughters!)



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