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BLOG – Special Treatment for Women with SCI

February 1, 2017

Only 20 percent of all spinal cord injuries happen to women. As a result, most treatments are designed for men. But treating men and women in the same way isn’t always practical. Although many of the psychological and medical needs are similar, women with paralysis have other specific needs.

Heather Taylor, PhD

Heather Taylor, PhD

Heather Taylor, PHD, Psychologist & Director of Spinal Cord Injury and Disability Research, TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital in Houston, says though reproductive needs are the most obvious, and even most pressing, women with paralysis have other specific needs. “It’s important that women recognize they are different,” Taylor says. You can watch Taylor talk about women with spinal cord injury by clicking here: “what-about-women?

“They process healing differently, as well as any depression related to their injuries. Even adjustments and the anatomical manner in which their bodies must conform to learning the new normal of bowel and bladder and personal hygiene are vastly different from men.” Taylor also suggests that women have their own unique strengths when it comes to living with paralysis. “Women often can hone those strengths to improve their quality of life.”

Click here to watch more videos of Heather Taylor talking about the psychological realities of living with spinal cord injury.

Do you know a woman with a spinal cord injury who thinks we could use more female differentiation? Maybe you are a woman with paralysis who has a success story to share. Or a family member of one? Leave your comments below. (They totally help others :))

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2 responses to “BLOG – Special Treatment for Women with SCI”

  1. Jackie says:

    I am the mother (also an RN) of a beautiful 23 year old daughter with a L1 SCI, incomplete. She can walk some with short braces and a walker, mostly in a wheelchair, independent and currently in graduate school for OT. The injury occurred at age 21 when she was engaged to be married to her long time sweetheart. She went to a fabulous rehab hospital for 6 weeks but upon discharge she was told that condoms would be the only choice for birth control because of the risk of blood clots and numbness. There was very little support in this area. She has to catheterize herself. She planned to go on with the wedding in a few months and of course be sexually active despite the injury. I consulted my own OB/GYN doctor and a dear friend who is also an OB/GYN doctor. They both agreed that the Mirena IUD would be a safe option for her and provide long term birth control as well as reducing her heavy periods (a major difficulty with reduced mobility). She went with it. My OB/GYN checked up on her frequently in the first few months and every year after. She is doing just fine and enjoying marriage, hoping to have kids one day when she is good and ready to deal with it physically and emotionally. Her periods have improved. I just wish the doctors at the Rehab hospital would have offered this and been more open to discussion. If my daughter did not have a nurse Mother who went the extra mile to explore choices, things would have been different for her. Please tell other young women to talk to their OB/GYN, it helps for it to be a female doctor I think.

  2. Anna says:

    Thanks for sharing..

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