17 June 2013:
Experts believe embarrassment and a belief that incontinence is a normal part of ageing means many people suffer in silence. In fact over half the women with incontinence living in a community setting are less than 50 years of age. And, around 70 per cent of people experiencing incontinence do not seek help.
Ahead of World Continence Week (June 24-30) Jean Hailes for Women's Health experts want women to do what they do best; talk about incontinence – with each other and with trusted health professionals – because most cases of incontinence can be improved or even cured.
"Whether you are young or young at heart it's not normal to leak, even a bit, or to rush to the toilet," says gynaecologist Dr Elizabeth Farrell, a founding director of Jean Hailes for Women's Health.
More than 4.8 million Australians are affected, with expected projections of over 6.4 million Australians by 2030, according to the 2011 Deloitte Access Economics Report, The economic impact of incontinence in Australia.
3 June 2013:
With winter weather setting in you may find yourself eating more and moving less, however experts at Jean Hailes for Women's Health are encouraging people to think creatively and mix it up when it comes to their health.
One of the keys, says Jean Hailes accredited dietitian Terrill Bruere, is to change your exercise routine to suit the season. "Try a class such as yoga or Tai Chi where you can exercise indoors," she says. "Or dig out the old treadmill or exercise bike and use that in the comfort of your home."
Another tip, according to Jean Hailes continence physiotherapist Janetta Webb is to use the cold weather to your advantage. "Rug up and feel the glow in your cheeks – you'll feel great for the rest of the day," she says, adding: "It's important to exercise safely during cold weather. This includes dressing in layers while you exercise and protecting your feet, hands and ears against the cold."
And don't forget that exercise is an excellent way to warm you up. "If you have a dog, grab the lead and head on out," says Jean Hailes endocrinologist Dr Sonia Davison. "You'll both get some exercise, time out and a dose of vitamin D at the same time."
To get the recommended amount of vitamin D during winter you need to expose your face, arms, hands or legs to the sun for 30 minutes outside peak UV times (10-2 or 11-3 daylight savings time). People with darker skin may need longer sun exposure.
One way to turn being confined indoors to your advantage is to ensure you plan your time. Jean Hailes Professor of Women's Health at Monash University, Jane Fisher says tension and conflict can arise when people spend time in confined spaces.
2 May 2013:
Dieting doesn't work – and can have negative impacts on how you feel about yourself. That's the message from leading women's health organisation Jean Hailes for Women's Health ahead of International No Diet Day on May 6, a day dedicated to promoting healthy living and raising awareness of the dangers and futility of dieting.
Australians spend up to $1 million a day on diets that have little effect on their weight. Statistics show that even for people who remain on a weight loss program up to two thirds will regain the weight they lost within a year and nearly all will regain, or even put on more, weight within five years.
"While people would like to have a magic pill to make them lose weight, dieting isn't the answer," says Jean Hailes accredited dietitian Terrill Bruere.
"A day dedicated to no diets is not an excuse to eat whatever you want," she says. "Rather, make the commitment in your family and with your friends and colleagues that you're not going to participate in discussions and preoccupations around dieting and weight."
"It's a simple energy in, energy out equation, but don't get bogged down with every mouthful of food. One bite of fattening food is not going to make you put on weight."
It's far easier to try to aim to prevent weight gain than it is to lose weight.
Jane Fisher, the Jean Hailes Professor of Women's Health at Monash University says it's important for people to learn to eat a variety of food they like in moderation. "But we shouldn't feel there are some things we can't have, and we shouldn't be worried or ashamed about eating certain food," she says.
"We need to have a confident rather than an anxious relationship with what we eat," says Professor Fisher. "I'd also like to see women becoming more confident with their body and focusing on a maintaining good health instead of trying to achieve what they believe is a 'perfect' appearance."
Challenging the myths around dieting and weight
MYTH 1 If you gain some weight you need to go on a diet
MYTH 2 If you don't fit the BMI charts you are unhealthy
2 May 2013:
Mother's Day is not just about the giving of gifts – it's also a great time to gather the collective experiences from women across Australia to give to their daughters and future generations of women. So, once the presents are unwrapped, why not give the gift of wisdom to your mum, your daughter, your sister, friend or partner?
Australia's leading women's health organisation Jean Hailes for Women's Health has gathered healthy living tips from women and health professionals across Australia and created a lovely eBook called Women's Words of Wisdom, which is available as a free download from the Jean Hailes website.
Jean Hailes CEO Di McDonald says she hopes that this eBook, filled with the insights and life experience of women and health professionals, will be a gift that keeps on giving to the next generation and beyond.
"Women gain so much knowledge and wisdom from their years of life experience," says Di. "We are so grateful to those who have shared with us their pearls of wisdom."
Here is a selection of tips from the new Jean Hailes eBook, Women's Words of Wisdom:
"I wish for every woman in the world more choices, respect and comfortable shoes. And maybe dessert," says author Kaz Cooke.
"If you say to yourself something is wrong more than twice, do something about it," says Jean Hailes director Janet Michelmore AO.
18 April 2013:
As summer fades and the weather has turned crisp, what actions can we take to use this cooler season to improve our health?
Did you know that making just one small change can be enough to get you on your way to a healthier you? Leading women's health organisation Jean Hailes for Women's Health shares some simple ways to make health a priority this AUTUMN.
Jean Hailes accredited dietitian Terrill Bruere recommends checking in with yourself at this time of year. "We're all leading busy lives, so to ensure you keep up healthy eating and regular exercise try keeping a diary for a week of all your activities and commitments and check the balance of the different demands in your life," she says.
Activity – the great outdoors is pretty as a picture at this time of year
Autumn is a great time of year to get active. Change your activity patterns to suit the season. Why not swap swimming for walking or cycling with a friend. Take up Yoga or Pilates. It's easier to be comfortable outdoors without too much sun. Keep up your vitamin D intake by being outdoors around midday. Research shows that fair to olive-skinned people in Southern parts of Australia need 7-30 minutes of sun in the middle of each day in winter, while darker skinned people in southern parts of Australia need up to 3 hours around midday in winter.
Using your time wisely to create balance
Everybody needs to take time out from their busy lives to relax and rejuvenate. Whatever your personal pressures, it's important to make time to do something for yourself to help you re-energise. Find something every day that makes you happy or gives you a sense of achievement. It could be as simple as watering a favourite plant, writing in your diary, a 10 minute walk or a half hour massage. A small study by Kagoshima University in Japan found that enjoying hobbies was associated with fewer 'major adverse cardiovascular events' over 1-4 years. Doing something small for yourself each day can also help your mood and stress levels.
9 April 2013:
The latest Jean Hailes National Magazine is available now, featuring a range of health issues relevant to Australian women. In this issue we focus on key areas around ageing that concerns the majority of women, including weight gain at midlife, secrets to ageing well and coping with change as you age.
With input from a range of health experts, each article offers up to date information that is both fresh and evidence based.
Features in the latest edition include:
Weight gain at midlife: is it inevitable?
Most women believe that midlife and weight gain go hand in hand, but does the research support this belief? Jean Hailes asked for the answers from Prof Susan Davis, director of the women's health group at Monash University, whose recent research shows that midlife, menopause and HRT are not the causes of weight gain. So, what does cause weight gain and how can you prevent the kilos from creeping up as the years go on?
Secrets to ageing well
How much does healthy living protect you as age, given we've all heard stories of people who smoke for years and live to a ripe old age, and others who do all the right things and still die young? The good news is that research shows that while one third is due to genetic influences, the other two thirds is due to our lifestyle. And this means there is much we can to to protect your health as we age.
Coping with change as you age
Popular myth can often stereotypes older age in negative terms, but for most people, growing older does not automatically mean decreasing happiness. Generally speaking, people have the highest quality of life, greatest life satisfaction and lowest rates of mental health problems as they get older.
3 April 2013:
Small lifestyle changes – such as losing three to five per cent of your body weight – can make a big difference to your health risks.
But more Australians need to 'know their numbers' to know whether they are at risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some cancers.
On World Health Day (7 April 2013) the World Health Organization is urging Australians to check their blood pressure and to take action if it is too high.
"Prevention is always better than cure and knowing your numbers is a critical piece of your health puzzle," says Professor Helena Teede from Monash University's School of Public Health and a consultant with Jean Hailes for Women's Health.
"Your numbers allow you and your GP to work out what you need to do to prevent disease and stay healthy."
The key numbers include blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and weight.
"If you don't know these numbers you won't know of complications until they occur. So if you don't get your blood pressure checked you won't know you may be at risk of stroke or heart attack until they happen," says Professor Teede.
"High cholesterol also increases the risk of heart attack and stroke and up to 75 per cent of people who are an unhealthy or very unhealthy weight will get diabetes. Weight also has a potent impact on your risk of diabetes and on your blood sugar level."
Half the people in Australia with type 2 diabetes are unaware they have the disease but if high blood sugar is detected early, diabetes is preventable. Making healthy lifestyle changes and losing three to five per cent of your weight – even if you remain overweight – can reduce the risk of diabetes by up to 60 per cent.
"We won't drive a car without wearing a seatbelt and we don't get in a boat without a lifejacket. We should take a similar approach to our health, know our risks and actively minimise them as stroke, heart disease and diabetes can be prevented," says Professor Teede.
"Knowing your numbers is an opportunity to make small lifestyle changes that make a big difference to your health."
Jean Hailes accredited dietitian Terrill Bruere says it's important to make space in your life to think about your lifestyle and to plan to make small changes that you can easily achieve.
"Tweaking everyday habits, like making sure you have afternoon tea so you don't nibble when you get home; not having dessert unless you're actually hungry; eating breakfast so you don't overeat at lunchtime; and putting a piece of fruit on your desk to get you through the morning are all small and achievable goals that if you plan ahead, you can change," advises Terrill.
"Don't forget to check in with yourself every now and again to see how you're going, and reset your plans if you need to," she adds.
25 March 2013:
With up to 1 in 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women affected by a common hormone condition, a new resource launched today will increase awareness and provide much needed and up to date information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
The condition is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a chronic hormone disorder that affects fertility, physical health and emotional wellbeing. Women with PCOS have up to four times the risk of developing risk factors for heart disease and four to seven times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Jean Hailes for Women's Health collaborated with the Aboriginal Women's Health Business Unit at the Royal Women's Hospital to develop a PCOS booklet, called Yarning about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome aimed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
Today's launch, as part of Close the Gap Day activities, showcases a resource that is the first of its kind, addressing a significant gap in the availability of evidence-based resources on PCOS, specifically adapted for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
Speakers include Federal Labor Member for Gellibrand, The Hon Nicola Roxon MP; Chief Political Correspondent, ABC Radio Current Affairs, Sabra Lane; Jean Hailes head of Indigenous Research, Dr Jaqui Boyle; Jean Hailes PCOS Translation Manager, Rhonda Garad; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Support worker at The Royal Women's Hospital, Terori Hareko-Samios; and acclaimed Indigenous artist Justice Nelson, who provided original artwork depicting the shared experiences of Indigenous women.
"We are very proud to have partnered with Terori and The Royal Women's Hospital to produce this resource as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience PCOS at much higher rates," said Ms Garad. "We hope it helps women in these communities, and their health professionals working with them, to better understand this condition and to know what they can do to improve their health."
14 March 2013:
Leading women's health organisation Jean Hailes for Women's Health is proud to have been recognised for the second year running, with the induction to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women of Director and daughter of Jean Hailes, Ms Janet Michelmore AO.
In 2012 Dr Jean Hailes was posthumously recognised in the Victorian Honour Roll of Women for her role as the pioneer of menopause management in Australia.
This year, Janet has been recognised for her role as a passionate educator and advocate for improving women's health, steering a dedicated team of researchers, clinicians and educators at Jean Hailes over 21 years.
During this time, Janet has been instrumental in leading an initially fledgling women's clinic into what has today become a leading, multi-faceted national women's health organisation, providing best practice clinical care, practical education for women and health professionals, as well as leading research and research collaborations.
The Jean Hailes Board and staff are very proud of Janet's achievements being recognised in this year's Honour Roll.
"This award recognises Janet's continuous dedication to Jean Hailes," said Jean Hailes gynaecologist and founding director Dr Elizabeth Farrell. "In continuing her mother's legacy, Janet has shown extraordinary devotion and passion to giving women the confidence to better understand their health needs and choices."
Another of Jean Hailes' founding directors – and inaugural patron – Professor Henry Burger says he is very pleased to hear of this honour. "I am delighted to hear of this most appropriate recognition by the Victorian Government of Janet's dedication and commitment to the field of women's health."
4 March 2013:
As International Women's Day celebrations kick off, a leading women's health organisation reminds us that while there is much to celebrate, too many women still experience intimate partner violence.
"Every woman has the right to feel safe," says Professor Jane Fisher, the Jean Hailes Professor of Women's Health at Monash University. "Home should be a place of safety, and violence at home is especially damaging to a woman's health."
Intimate partner violence refers to any behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological and sexual harm. The World Health Organization describes this behaviour as including:
|Acts of physical violence
||slapping, hitting, kicking and beating
||forced sexual intercourse and other forms of sexual coercion
||insults, belittling, constant humiliation, intimidation, threats of harm, threats to take away children
||isolating a woman from her family and friends, monitoring her movements and restricting her access to financial resources, employment, education or medical care
|Ref: World Health Organization 2012
Jean Hailes has produced a short video explaining intimate partner violence and the impact it has. Professor Jane Fisher is joined by the CEO of inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence, who talks about the added difficulty for women who have migrated to Australia and may have limited English, support and knowledge of local services.
11 February 2013:
On 2nd March 2013, women in Lightning Ridge and surrounding areas will have the opportunity to hear from women's health experts at an upcoming free community health seminar taking place at the Lightning Ridge District Bowling Club.
Leading women's health organisation, Jean Hailes for Women's Health is joining with the Western NSW Local Health District and Far West NSW Medicare Local to offer Sex, health and your life: what outback women need to know, a seminar to give women in the area the latest information to help them manage and plan for their future health.
Speakers include gynaecologists Dr Elizabeth Farrell and Dr Jacqueline Boyle from Jean Hailes, as well as RFDS GP Dr Jenny Geraghty.
Dr Farrell, a founding director at Jean Hailes, says women will hear the latest on menopause management, health checks, continence, sexual health, libido and desire. "It's so important to take the time to focus on your health, take stock and start planning for the future," she says. "There is a lot we can do ourselves to improve and protect our general health and quality of life."
"We encourage you to come along to what promises to be a fun-filled and educational day," says Jane Beach, coordinator of women's health from Western NSW Local Health District. "This is a terrific opportunity to hear from the experts about some important health issues."
Buses will transport women from Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett, Collie, Collarenebri and Goodooga.
7 February 2013:
Baby boomer women may not have practised putting condoms on bananas when they were younger, but perhaps they should start now, according to leading women's health organisation Jean Hailes for Women's Health.
While February 14 is traditionally known as a time for roses, chocolates and romantic dates, it's also national condom day – and a perfect opportunity to learn and talk about safe sex.
While STIs predominately affect the young, (with approximately three quarters of reported cases in people aged 15-29), the rates of infection for older groups are increasing as well.
Chlamydia (the most frequently reported STI in Australia) rates may have tripled in the under 30 age groups but it has also doubled for women aged 40-64 from 2004 to 2010.
Jean Hailes founding director and gynaecologist Dr Elizabeth Farrell, herself a baby boomer, sees plenty of older women who have contracted a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
"Safe sex messages and campaigns seem to have missed the baby boomer generation," says Dr Farrell. "These women may not be part of what we call the 'condom generation', but all women need to understand that if you're sexually active then you need to plan to have safe sex."
"I see many women who are in their perimenopausal years, when their periods are irregular, who think 'I won't get pregnant so I don't need to use a condom'. First I tell women that it is possible to get pregnant at this time and condoms also protect against much more than pregnancy," she says.
4 February 2013:
Now that Christmas and New Year are truly behind us, it's time to forget the leftover puddings, mince pies and extra glasses of bubbly.
Ditch those New Year resolutions and instead, plan for good health in 2013 minus any guilt, according to experts at leading women's health organisation, Jean Hailes for Women's Health.
And, not surprisingly, a yearlong UK study at the University of Hertfordshire found that the key for women to keeping their resolutions was to share them with others as women benefit from the social support provided by friends and family.
Jean Hailes dietitian Terrill Bruere is a big believer in taking small steps towards good health. "Think of it as a plan for the rest of your life," she says. "You can't do it all at once or you'll run out of steam. Make a small change, see if it works and you can stick to it, and adjust your goals as you go along."
Here are some of Terrill's ideas to get you started.
Hot days, cool drinks
Watch out for sugar in those cool summer drinks. Here's an idea when you're at a party. Add ice and a slurp of juice to your glass, topping it up with unflavoured mineral water.
Be sun smart
You still need to get vitamin D in summer by exposing your face, arms, hands or legs in the sun for 10 minutes outside peak UV times (10am-2pm or 11am-3pm daylight saving times).
Feeling bloated or tired after all the celebrations? It can be tempting to detox, but you can detox naturally by drinking water, eating healthy food, walking regularly and getting enough sleep.
31 January 2013:
With drinking rates at a peak for women aged 45-54, now is the perfect opportunity to do an alcohol audit and check in with how risky your current drinking habits are.
This is the message from leading women's health organisation, Jean Hailes for Women's Health, as the annual febfast campaign kicks off encouraging Australians to stop drinking alcohol for a month.
Young men drink at far riskier levels than older men, however when it comes to women, ABS figures show that only 9% of women in their prime childbearing years drink at risky levels compared to 60% of women aged 45-54.
Jean Hailes for Women's Health psychologist Gillian Needleman says that drinking is entrenched into Australian culture. "Having a few drinks has become the norm, whether it's drinks with colleagues after work, at a weekend barbeque or night out," she says. "Alcohol can become a crutch that becomes a habit to rely on instead of seeking help and dealing with the issue."
Jean Hailes dietitian Terrill Bruere says it's a good idea for women – and men – to check in with themselves as to how much alcohol they are consuming.
15 January 2013:
Could the ancient therapy of acupuncture, practised for over 2,000 years, be the answer for many women experiencing debilitating hot flushes?
With around two million Australian women going through or approaching menopause, many women are experiencing hot flushes that interfere with their daily lives.
With some women seeking alternatives to HRT, an Australian study is leading the way in finding suitable safe and effective alternative treatments for hot flushes. Following promising results from two smaller trials, Acupause is the world's largest study of menopausal women trialling acupuncture for the treatment of hot flushes.
Acupause is a joint trial by the University of Melbourne, Jean Hailes for Women's Health, Monash University, RMIT University and Southern Cross University.
Trial coordinator Dr Carolyn Ee began the study after successfully treating menopausal women in her clinic with acupuncture. "Acupuncture is a very safe treatment," says Dr Ee. "We are excited because this study is likely to show whether or not acupuncture is an effective treatment for hot flushes."
Already, almost 200 women have joined the study, and researchers are seeking more women to take part in the trial, which involves keeping a diary of hot flushes over seven days at various points of the trial, as well as attending 10 acupuncture sessions at locations across Australia (including metropolitan Melbourne, Melton, Mornington, Echuca in Victoria, Ballina/Byron in NSW and Southport Qld). The acupuncture treatment may be real or 'placebo' treatment.
14 January 2013:
With New Year resolutions in full swing as we trickle back to work and routine, leading women’s health organisation Jean Hailes for Women’s Health has a list of tips to help you eat well however busy your schedule is.
Ahead of Healthy Weight Week Jean Hailes dietitian Terrill Bruere says the key to eating well when you’re busy is planning and knowing the basics of healthy eating – and making it fun and enjoyable.
“While it sounds boring to be organised,” says Terrill, “the truth is that knowing what to eat, and planning ahead will really help you eat well and feel well.”
Jean Hailes' top tips for eating well on the run
- Plan your shopping and meals
Factor in shopping and cooking time into your schedule and keep your shopping list handy.
Double the recipe and freeze
- Stock up on key ingredients
Keep base ingredients in your cupboard for quick healthy meals.
Make extra and freeze a portion for another meal for when you come home late and are tempted to buy take away food.