Beginning conversations with our children about the facts of life might seem a bit challenging. As parents we might not feel that we know how to begin the conversation or know how to answer any questions out of fear of not knowing how much information to give or even having the right answers. Along with making sure our kids are given good information about issues on sex education, the generalized topic of overall pelvic health can't be ignored. Discussions on bladder health, bowel health, and reproductive health should be part of the conversation.
A study published in 2011 in The Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology gathered information on the baseline knowledge of pelvic anatomy and function among adolescent females and tested the educational effectiveness of a pelvic health curriculum among female adolescent students.
The initial findings showed that middle and high school girls knew very little about their own bodies and pelvic function and that many were already dealing with conditions such as urinary tract infections, bladder leaks, and constipation.
This study then resulted in a concerted effort by The Women's Health Foundation to publish
Below Your Belt: How to Be Queen of Your Pelvic Region that is written for adolescent girls to educate on pelvic health knowledge in an age-appropriate fashion. Topics include pelvic anatomy, bowel and bladder health, ovulation and periods, exercise, hygiene, and nutrition.
Another helpful resource for parents is the Advocates for Youth website -
. This is a broad ranging website with numerous resources for providing information and suggestions on how to engage in conversations with your children on a variety topics. Good communication between parents and children can help promote good decision-making and healthy lifestyle choices in adolescence. More specifically the website has a link to a Parents Sex Ed Center that has comprehensive list of resources and educational articles that can be helpful for a parent struggling on how to best address the topic.
Our tweens and teens are going through the stage bridging puberty and adulthood, which can be a challenging time. This is a critical period, which can influence body confidence and self-esteem and can impact many choices made during this time frame. As parents we can assist in this transition by making sure our children are well armed with accurate information about their bodies. So much misinformation is passed around the school yards and on social media. Hopefully with providing our kids with support and accurate information, we can lay the basis for a foundation of knowledge that will continue on into adulthood.
By Jill Menefee, PT