Disclaimer :: FWMB partner and medical expert, Dr. Mike England with the Andrews Women’s Hospital on the campus of Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth, wrote this blog post to present the many treatment options available to women with pelvic issues.
I see women every day who have suffered from pelvic floor disorders for years, only to find out there are solutions. Most women come to me and say, “I didn’t know I could get this fixed.”
Many women have very little understanding of pelvic medicine and some of the conditions that are treated. Pelvic floor disorders happen when the muscles, ligaments, connective tissues, and nerves that support the pelvic organs become weak or damaged. This can result in a lack of bladder or bowel control, or pelvic organ prolapse, a condition in which a pelvic organ — such as your bladder — drops from its normal place.
Female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery is commonly referred to as urogynecology, and it is a specialty that requires additional fellowship training beyond obstetrics and gynecology. I help women who suffer from urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, overactive bladder, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain, and bladder pain syndrome, among others.
Sometimes all it requires is talking to a trusted provider about some symptoms you are experiencing, and knowing that there is hope and treatment available. Every day I am inspired and grateful for the ability to treat and improve the quality of life of women who suffer from pelvic medicine issues.
You Shouldn’t Dismiss Problems
These conditions are important to resolve because the pelvic floor is the great support system of the organs and pelvis. If these problems are dismissed, you may have problems using the restroom or vital organs can prolapse. This means the walls become lax and loose, and the normal body attachments are no longer effective or offering proper support.
If you’ve talked to a primary care doctor, gynecologist, pain management specialist, gastroenterologist, or urologist, it may be time to see an urogynecologist. In many cases, your provider can outline both nonsurgical and surgical treatment plans that may have your issues resolved in four to twelve weeks.
You Don’t Have to Live in Discomfort
The pelvic floor is a complex, dynamic system and you may have a lot of questions. One thing to know for certain is that you do not need to live in discomfort.
Treatment options include medication, recommendations about diet, exercises that can help you avoid further damage or problems, pelvic floor therapy, and sometimes surgery. I also emphasize that in no way should you blame yourself for your issues, whether it is multiple births, COPD complications, or obesity. There is no reason to live with bladder pain, incontinence, or other issues, and your provider can get you the relief you need.
You Are Not Alone
You may put off pelvic medicine treatment because you may feel like you are the only one who has it or it is just a part of aging. This is not the case, and I see women of all ages. Most commonly I see women age 35 to 90, and when they start talking to a provider, they develop hope.
It is rewarding to see women able to continue their professional life, improve their quality of life, and benefit from sexual improvement. As pelvic medicine specialists, we are able to help not only with physical abilities, but emotional as well. I often see women who felt hopeless or depressed leave with a smile.
Although many women may not know about pelvic medicine treatment options, awareness is increasing as women share their success stories with their friends and family members. Together, we can help dissolve myths and provide hope to those in need.
If you think you might have a pelvic medicine condition, the Pelvic Medicine Center at Andrews Women’s Hospital on the campus of Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center — Fort Worth can help. Call 1.800.4BAYLOR to speak to the Pelvic Health patient navigator.
Mike England, M.D. is board certified in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery — also known as Urogynecology — by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He specializes in the medical and surgical management of pelvic floor disorders in women. Dr. England received his OB-GYN training in South Africa and became faculty at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and the United States. He is currently the Director of the Division of Urogynecology and Medical Director of Gynecologic Surgery at Andrews Women’s Hospital on the campus of Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth. Dr. England has practiced in Fort Worth for more than 20 years.