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Your Middle Years

Change is the mantra for your middle years - menopause, issues as both the mother of children who are growing into adulthood and the adult daughter of aging parents.

But your middle years can be a wonderful time for your health.

There's more opportunity to pay attention to your special needs - get some exercise, maybe explore some complementary therapies like yoga and massage.

The bottom line is that you need to pay more attention to yourself - and your health. Get the preventive tests you need, develop health habits that will help minimize the inevitable affects of aging.

And as at any other time in your life, Southcoast has facilities and services nearby to help you feel your best.

Tests You Need in Your Mid-Life Years

Special Health Issues

    Heart Disease:
      As the body ceases production of estrogen, a woman's risk of developing heart disease increases. Heart disease symptoms are different for women than men and sometimes go unrecognized.

      American Heart Association

    Breast Health: Diabetes:
      This disease, which affects the body's ability to produce insulin and thus control blood sugar , develops more frequently in women over age 40. Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, and increased itching of the skin.

      American Diabetes Association

      Following childbirth and with the onset of menopause many women experience some symptoms of incontinence (loss of bladder or bowel control) due to changes or problems with the pelvic muscles. A number of successful treatments are available for this. Incontinence is extremely common, affecting about 25 percent of women age 30 to 59 and nearly half of women over age 65.
      Women face many issues, including physical and emotional symptoms and health issues such as increased risk for heart disease and osteoporosis. Menopause stretches over several years, beginning with peri-menopause and occurring completely with the end of menstruation. Menopause usually begins during the mid to late 40s. Treatment and education are widely available to help women maintain good health throughout the menopausal years.

      Menopause Online

      National Institutes of Health: Menopause

    Osteoporosis: Caregiver Issues:
      Many women during their mid-years face psychological, stress issues related to dealing with aging parents and other "sandwich generation" issues. Help is available in the form of education, counseling and support groups.
    Thyroid Disease:
      Thyroid disease affects women more frequently than men. Diseases may include hyperthyroidism (an over-active thyroid gland,) and hypo-thyroidism, which occurs when the gland becomes under-active. Each disease causes a range of symptoms. Testing and treatment for thyroid disease is available at all three hospital sites. Consult your doctor if you feel you may have thyroid problems.

Southcoast Services for Women in Their Middle Years

    Mammography/Ultrasound Post-mastectomy physical therapy services Stereotactic Breast Biopsies
      Image-assisted breast biopsies done using a hollow needle. Used to help diagnose malignancies.

    • St. Luke's Hospital Radiology Department
      New Bedford, Mass.

    Diagnostic Days
      If women have a suspected problem with a mammogram, she can schedule a "diagnostic day" at the Southcoast Center for Women's Health in North Dartmouth. This includes a full range of diagnostic testing along with consulation with a physician, all in the convenience of one visit.

      For more information call the Southcoast Center for Women's Health at 508-998-0600.

    Breast Cancer Support Groups
    • The Oncology Center
      North Dartmouth, Mass.

    Cardiac Services
      Diagnostic Testing including stress tests, thallium stress tests, echocardiography. For more information about these services, please check with your physician.

    • Healthy Hearts
      Charlton Memorial Hospital
      St. Luke's Hospital
      HeartMates (Support group for spouses of cardiac patients)

    Cardiac Rehab Services Complementary Medicine
      Southcoast offers information and services on a number of complementary medicine modalities including massage, aromatherapy, mind-body connection and other related care. Complementary Therapies are exactly as they sound - practices and treatments that focus on the connection between body, mind and spirit rather than solely on medical science. But they support and complement regular medical practices.
    Diabetes Services
      Southcoast Diabetes Management Program is a comprehensive series of classes designed to give adults and their families the knowledge to live a better life with diabetes. Education is offered in small group sessions or individually if necessary. The program addresses all aspects of diabetes self-management including meal planning, medication management, complications of diabetes and much more. Weekly Diabetes clinics at all three sites:

    • Charlton Memorial Hospital
      Fall RIver, Mass.

    • St. Luke's Hospital
      New Bedford, Mass.

    • Tobey Hospital
      Wareham, Mass.

    • Diabetes Support Group (in Fall River, New Bedford and Wareham)

    • Monthly Diabetes Education programs

    Incontinence Services
      Offering evaluation and treatment for incontinence problems by a team of physicians, nurses and physical therapists. Evaluation usually involves a comprehensive history, exam, urodynamics study (a study examining bladder pressure and the presence of uncontrolled bladder contractions.) Sometimes a cystoscopy (a fiber optic exam of the bladder) is performed.

      Treatment can include behavioral techniques and exercises, medication, and surgery.

    • The Incontinence Center at Charlton Memorial Hospital
      (offering multidisciplinary evaluation and treatment)
      Fall River, Mass.

    Southcoast Rehabilitation Women's Health Services Surgical Treatment
      A number of surgical procedures can be used to treat incontinence, including collagen implants and other surgery. Most often, the procedures can be performed on an ambulatory basis and are available at Southcoast's three hospital sites. For more information, contact the Incontinence Center at Charlton Memorial Hospital, or talk to your physician.
    Nutrition Counseling
      For weight loss and other nutritional issues:

    • Fall River, Mass.

    • New Bedford, Mass.
      508-997-1515 Ext. 3050

    • Wareham, Mass.

    • Osteoporosis and Research Center at Charlton Memorial Hospital
      Offering a multidisciplinary evaluation for osteoporosis, including a full-body DEXA bone density test, to determine the extent of calcium loss in the bones. Fall River, Mass.

    • Southcoast Center for Women's Health
      Offering DEXA bone density testing.
      North Dartmouth, Mass.

    Southcoast Rehabilitation Services
      Providing physical therapy with individualized evaluation and treatment including fall prevention strategies to reduce the risk of injury from osteoporosis.

    • Southcoast Center for Women's Health
      North Dartmouth, Mass.

    Education/Prevention Programs A range of fitness, diet and other wellness services for women are also available at the Southcoast Wellness Center. For information, call 1-800-497-1727.

Find a Physician: 800-497-1727

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