Author: Dr. Amanda Grischow, NMD

Say Goodbye to Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain – more common than you’d think

Imagine you are out to dinner or grabbing a coffee with a couple of your girlfriends. Odds are that one of you has experienced chronic pelvic pain at some point during your lives and it’s also likely that you have no idea which one of you it is. Studies estimate up to a third of women experience chronic pelvic pain, and up to a third of those women have pain that causes them to miss work. These statistics can be surprising because the pelvic area is not often discussed in social situations. It’s normal to hear someone say “I have a terrible headache today” but it would be a bit taboo to say “My pelvic pain is really bothering me today.”

Why I decided to get trained in pelvic floor therapy

When I see patients that experience pelvic pain, I often don’t know it’s a concern until it’s time for their annual women’s exam. Seeing this happen repeatedly made me realize there is something we’re missing… women don’t need to live this way! When I would suggest seeing another provider, like a pelvic floor physical therapist, to address their pain, many women were hesitant. They didn’t want to share their story again or work up the courage to trust another provider to see, examine, and treat such a sensitive area of their body. This is why I decided to get trained in pelvic floor therapy. 

What is pelvic floor therapy?

Pelvic floor therapy is an in-office, hands-on treatment for the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the pelvic floor. Pelvic floor therapy is well known in the post-partum community for treatment of diastasis recti (abdomen muscle separation) and for patients that are experiencing a uterine, bladder or rectal prolapse but is not frequently talked about as a possible treatment for other symptoms that can be caused by muscles in the pelvic floor that are too weak or too tense.

Pelvic floor symptoms

Symptoms of weak or tense pelvic floor muscles could include constipation, urinary frequency, pain with urination or passing bowel movements, pain with intercourse, pelvic pain and more. 

Physician assessment, hands on treatment and other therapeutic options

Although this type of therapy is typically performed by physical therapists, being a physician who does this type of work makes me uniquely able to add on an assessment of the pelvic floor muscles to your annual well woman exam and incorporate additional treatment strategies for a well-rounded approach to your concerns. I get to combine soft tissue work and muscular retraining techniques for the pelvic floor muscles that are typically used in pelvic floor therapy with the rest of my tools like nutritional counseling, herbal medicine, pharmaceutical medications, stress management, and acupuncture.

If you think you could benefit from pelvic floor therapy, schedule an appointment or free 15-minute consultation with Dr. Amanda Grischow at Boise Natural Health Clinic!

Are Your Medications Causing Nutrient Deficiencies?

Could your symptoms be nutritional deficiencies?  Medications can have many potential side effects that patients often aren’t aware of when they start a new prescription. Are you aware of all the possible side effects of your medications and the nutrient deficiencies they can cause?

Medications can cause nutrient deficiencies by:

  • Decreasing the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals
  • Increasing excretion of nutrients
  • Increasing the amount of a nutrient needed to help break down the drug

Common medications and the nutrients that are affected:

  • Magnesium
  • Folic Acid, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron
  • Co Q 10
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folic Acid

What should you do if you’re taking nutrient-depleting medications?

  • Do NOT stop your medications abruptly without talking to your healthcare provider. Some medications may require tapering and some medications should not be stopped at all.
  • Consider getting your nutrient levels tested or talk to your doctor about possible symptoms of nutrient deficiency.
  • Consider supplementing to prevent deficiency with high-quality, third-party tested supplements.

Cortney M. Mospan. (2019, December 17). Drug-induced nutrient depletions: What pharmacists need to know. U.S. Pharmacist – The Leading Journal in Pharmacy.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail and How to Make Them Last All Year

As the New Year begins, people set intentions for self-improvement through the time-honored tradition of New Year’s resolutions. Among the most prevalent resolutions are those related to health. These resolutions reflect a genuine desire for better well-being and understanding the pitfalls can help navigate the journey to success. The unfortunate truth is that many of these resolutions fall by the wayside within a few weeks. Because of this, many people have given up on making their resolutions all together. Let’s delve into the reasons behind this phenomenon and explore effective strategies to make your resolutions stick this year.

Why Resolutions Often Fail

  • Lack of Specificity: One of the primary reasons resolutions falter is their lack of specificity. Vague goals like “eat healthier” or “exercise more” lack a clear roadmap, making it easier to lose focus and motivation.
  • Overambitious Targets: Setting overly ambitious goals can lead to burnout and frustration. Rapid, drastic changes are often unsustainable. Gradual changes are more likely to become lifelong habits.
  • Lack of Planning: Failing to plan is planning to fail. Without a well-thought-out strategy, it’s easy to succumb to old habits. Planning ahead minimizes the reliance on willpower alone, making it easier to adhere to the chosen path.
  • Unrealistic Expectations: Unrealistic expectations can quickly lead to disappointment. Weight loss, for instance, is a gradual process, and expecting rapid results may result in discouragement. Instead, celebrate small victories and appreciate the overall improvement in well-being, not just the numbers on a scale.
  • Lack of Accountability: Going it alone can be challenging. Sharing resolutions with a friend, family member, or health care provider creates a sense of accountability. Having a support system can offer encouragement during challenging times and provide an avenue for sharing successes and setbacks.

Strategies for Success: Turning Resolutions into Habits

  • Set SMART Goals: Make resolutions Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). For instance, a SMART goal would be to “lose 10 pounds in three months by walking 30 minutes five times a week and eating one additional serving of vegetables daily.”
  • Start Small and Build: Begin with manageable changes and gradually build upon them. Small victories create momentum and instill confidence, paving the way for more significant adjustments over time.
  • Create a Plan: Develop a detailed plan outlining how the resolution will be achieved. This might involve creating a weekly meal plan, scheduling specific workout times, or seeking guidance from a healthcare professional or fitness expert. Be flexible with yourself and willing to adjust the plan if the first attempt isn’t working for you.
  • Focus on the Process, Not Just the Outcome: Shift the focus from immediate results to the process of self-improvement. Celebrate the journey, acknowledging the positive changes in habits and behaviors, even if the end goal is not yet reached.
  • Build a Support System: Share resolutions with friends or family who can provide encouragement and support. Joining a fitness class, online community, or partnering with a workout buddy enhances accountability and motivation.
  • If at first you don’t succeed – try, try again: Many resolutions are often abandoned after “falling off the wagon.” If you feel that you haven’t been successful when first attempting to achieve your goals, give yourself some grace. Improvement is the goal, not perfection.

Navigating Common Health Resolutions: A Practical Guide

  • Weight Loss: Instead of fixating on a specific number on the scale, aim to adopt a balanced, sustainable approach to nutrition and physical activity. If you already have healthy habits in place, consider seeing your healthcare provider to investigate non-lifestyle causes of weight gain. Celebrate non-scale victories like increased energy levels and improved mood.
  • Exercise More: Rather than committing to intense daily workouts, establish a realistic exercise routine that aligns with personal preferences. This could include activities like walking, cycling, or dancing. Consistency is key, so find enjoyable activities that can be sustained over time. If you don’t know what you enjoy yet, consider taking a few different types of exercises classes to see what they’re like.
  • Healthy Eating: Shift the focus from strict diets to creating a balanced, varied, and enjoyable meal plan. Gradually introduce more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while minimizing processed foods. Experiment with new recipes to keep meals interesting and satisfying.
  • Quit Smoking: Quitting smoking is a significant achievement that often requires professional support. Explore smoking cessation programs, counseling, and alternative therapies like herbal medicine and acupuncture to help curb cravings. Enlist the support of friends and family and focus on the numerous health benefits of quitting.

A Journey, Not a Destination

As the New Year unfolds, health-related resolutions can transform from fleeting aspirations into lasting habits by embracing realistic goals, cultivating patience, and building a supportive environment. Remember, the journey to improved health is ongoing, and each day offers an opportunity for positive choices.