No More Silent Suffering

Surgical advances help treat women’s pelvic-floor disorders

Many women feel comfortable openly discussing most health issues with their doctors and close friends and family. That is not necessarily the case with pelvic-floor disorders.

While nearly 1 in 3 women in the United States suffer from these disorders, which are treated in a dedicated women’s hospital, many feel isolated — too embarrassed to mention them, and certain that there is nothing they can do about them.

“Pelvic-floor disorders” refer to a group of conditions affecting the structure and function of the muscles and organs in the pelvis. The most common fall into three categories: urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence and pelvic-organ prolapse. While treatment is both highly common and readily available, many women don’t act until symptoms have worsened — or they don’t act at all. To make matters worse, there has been widespread attention to litigation concerning “trans-vaginal mesh,” a treatment option for pelvic-organ prolapse. This has resulted in fear concerning surgical treatments of any sort for pelvic-floor disorders and patients not achieving attainable improvements in quality of life.

New Treatments for Pelvic Floor Disorders

Fortunately, surgical advances continue, and women no longer need to suffer silently. Inova Women’s Hospital, whose new building opened in January 2016, has introduced a multidisciplinary program to diagnose and treat a wide array of pelvic-floor disorders.

(Inova Women’s Hospital is on the campus of Inova Fairfax Hospital, on Gallows Road in Falls Church, VA.)

“Inova has been a pioneer in minimally invasive procedures for pelvic-floor disorders in Northern Virginia and the metropolitan DC area, and we have a lot of experience in that area,” says Jeffrey Welgoss, MD, Medical Director of Urogynecology. He, along with Nicolette Horbach, MD, and Walter von Pechmann, MD, form the division of Urogynecology at Inova Fairfax Hospital. “We are excited about being able to open a new hospital that adds a cutting-edge physical plant to the No. 30-ranked gynecology program in the country, and to add to our vast clinical experience and expertise.”

Signs of Pelvic-Floor Disorders

Pelvic-floor disorders can be tricky to pinpoint (and there may be other causes for some symptoms) — which is why you should reach out to your doctor if you have any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Loss of control of urine or stool
  • Protrusion of tissue from the vagina
  • Less common symptoms include:
  • Constipation or straining pain with bowel movements
  • Painful urination, or a frequent or urgent need to urinate
  • Lower back pain
  • Ongoing pain in pelvic region, genitals or rectum
  • Spasms in pelvic muscles

Urogynecology Help in Northern Virginia

To learn more about the Inova Women’s Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, of which urogynecology is a part, call 703.776.6040.

 

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