OMTimes Radio Archives

How to Talk to Girls About Puberty, Periods, and Pelvic Health

January 14, 2016

Aired Thursday, 14 January 2016, 7:00 PM ET

Growing up – It’s a fact of life that every woman has had to face, and yet, for some reason, many women still find it difficult to talk to their daughters about anything that goes on below the female belt. Sadly, our awkwardness about addressing such a sensitive subject has resulted in many girls suffering for years in silence with such issues as urinary tract infections, digestive problems, and bladder leakage. According to this week’s guest, jeni Donatelli Ihm, once potty training ends, parents have largely ignored the need for further education in these areas until menstruation begins…and not enough even after that. A consequence of this appalling lack of information about how to care for their pelvic area has left young girls at risk of inadvertently creating problems in their later years. Problems such as pelvic pain, bladder leakage, and organ prolapse are often associated with—and accepted as part of—the aging process, when, in fact, these often devastating health issues are almost always preventable.

In her book, BELOW THE BELT: HOW TO BE QUEEN OF YOUR PELVIC REGION, this week’s guest Jeni Dontalli Ihm and her co-author Missy Lavender address everything that can happen below a girl’s belt with a perfect blend of humor, tenderness and reality. Produced by the Women’s Health Foundation to dispel shame and myths, quiet fears and generate conversations, BELOW THE BELT frankly covers everything from peeing, pooping and pelvic floor muscles to periods and exercise, and addresses how great it is to be female.

About the Guest Jeni Donatelli Ihm

JENI DONATELLI IHM has worked in the health and fitness industry for the past 14 years. She earned her degree in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Jeni’s passion for health and fitness took her to move in a new direction in 2002 when she began teaching high school health education, dance and yoga. She was introduced to Missy lavender and the Women’s Health Foundation after moving back to Chicago in 2005. Currently, she is working in program development, helping to develop a variety of learning modules within the adolescent pelvic health curriculum.