Valemount Clinic patient room

By: Korie Marshall

To celebrate women’s health week, the Valemount Clinic held a number of shared care meetings for women to discuss issues affecting their health in an open, informal setting, and get input from a doctor.

Dr. Herman Keyter joined one of the groups to talk about some of the big things that come to mind when certain questions or problems arise.

The Clinic offers “DIGMAs” – drop-in group medical appointments – on a variety of conditions, that allow patients and their families to discuss common issues, and gain a better understanding of how to manage them. Dr. Keyter says these group appointments are very successful for things like asthma, diabetes, COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and pre-natal care, but issues that can involve more emotion are harder to get people involved, and there can be a lot of emotion involved in women’s health issues. There is lots of information available, and accepting the information is about deciding who you trust, says Dr. Keyter. These meetings are intended to help break the barriers that prevent people from getting the care that they need, and that is available.

One meeting was aimed at issues affecting younger women’s health, but there is no age limit, and what is discussed is up to the people who attend. Some of the topics discussed were hair loss, weight loss, PMS and early menopause symptoms, osteoporosis, and anxiety. The meeting was a chance for women to discuss their concerns and knowledge with other women, and to hear from a doctor some of the top factors that affect these issues.

For example, Dr. Keyter says when he thinks of hair loss in women, he thinks of stress and progesterone. Certain contraception can increase hair loss, and Dr. Keyter points out that stress is not necessarily anxiety, but pressure. He says he can’t say for sure if these factors are causing hair loss for any given woman, as there are many other factors like anaemia or iron deficiency – each woman is different – but it is a starting point. But it is very different from hair loss in men.

Dr. Keyter also pointed out that anxiety is increasing throughout society, for many reasons, but there are lots of resources – and if you are feeling anxiety you should acknowledge and deal with it. He says self-help works, or you can seek help from your doctor, or from shared care meetings like these.

The Valemount Clinic will be hosting shared care meetings for women’s health issues again next spring – watch for dates and details.