Spinal cord injured (SCI) women are likely to experience their own unique set of challenges, from managing periods to accessing health screenings like mammograms.
One in four SCI people are women, estimates suggest. Many women tell us there’s insufficient support available, so we’re trying to change this by
Women in the UK are invited for a breast screening appointment when they turn 50. But SCI people who can’t hold themselves up may not be able to have a mammogram. If this is the case for you, regular breast examinations are vitally important. Ask your partner, GP or someone you trust for help with this.
Cervical smear tests
Routine smear tests can sometimes be challenging for SCI people because of poor access. Not every GP surgery has a wheelchair hoist to transfer you onto an examination table, for example. Speak with your GP to find out whether they can carry out the screening in your home or ask your local SCI centre about having a test there.
Managing periods, including applying sanitary towels or tampons, with a SCI can be difficult. Some SCI women choose to take medication to suppress their periods or have a coil fitted. Our SCI nurse specialists can offer advice on this. Get in touch here.
SCI people can still get pregnant and go on to have healthy children. With the right information, we can prepare for pregnancy and plan how to adapt bowel and bladder routines while managing the increased risk of pressure ulcers that come with weight gain.
Being a mum
Every new mum, SCI or not, needs support. Becoming a parent is an enormous life event and many challenges, as well as beautiful moments, come with that.
Think about whether you may need to have someone living with you to help when the baby arrives. Your local authority has a duty to consider what support you need as a parent. Occupational therapists can also help with equipment to help you with being a mum, and the charity Remap designs and adapts equipment for disabled people for free.
Want to know more?
There is plenty of information available about SCI women’s health, including in our SCI fact sheets – click the button on the right hand side of this page to download more information about women’s health.
For more information about motherhood and SCI click here.
The Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website also has further information about smear tests.
You’re not alone
If you’re concerned about a women’s health issue, book a call with one of our support coordinators or SCI nurse specialists here.