Interstitial Cystitis (IC), or simply referred to as bladder pain, is chronic pain and discomfort in the bladder. Shockingly, 3 to 8 million women in the US suffer from IC, according to the Interstitial Cystitis Association. Symptoms of this disease include: urgency, urinary frequency, burning with urination, burning in the bladder, and pelvic pain.
IC can be a hard disease for women to live and cope with. However, patients should be encouraged by the options available to help manage symptoms. At Houston Female Urology, we have several treatments to help women find relief from their pain. Depending on the patient, treatments can range from a simple medication to BOTOX for the bladder. Our staff works with every patient to make sure we determine the best path to relief.
Below are a few simple steps that you can try on your own to help conquer your symptoms.
Often specific foods and beverages can impact bladder symptoms. It is usually best to shop for fresh foods when possible and keep a diary as you experiment to determine which foods may trigger symptoms.
Common stress management tools include meditating, getting a massage, or exercising.
A few tips include: cutting caffeine and alcohol, keeping your bedroom cool and comfortable, start winding down about an hour before you go to sleep, and sticking to the same bedtime every night.
To learn more about Interstitial Cystitis and the treatment options available, please visit Houston Female Urology’s YouTube page!
Are you suffering from a leaky bladder? Is it hard for you to empty your bladder completely? Or maybe you feel like you need to go way too often.
These are common issues for many women and frequently go unaddressed. The good news is that if you do suffer from the above symptoms, I offer specialized urodynamics tests in my office that allow me to narrow down the cause of your bladder problems to properly address your symptoms and provide treatment options specific to your needs.
Urodynamics consists of several tests that provide valuable insight to how a patient’s lower urinary tract (urethra and bladder) are functioning. These tests determine how well the bladder is holding urine and evaluates the bladder’s ability to empty properly. Urodynamic testing is key to determining the cause of bladder incontinence.
It is fascinating what all the tests can tell us! Urodynamics commonly includes the following:
If you are one of the 25% to 45% of women who suffer from bladder leakage, I encourage you to give my office a call! To patients, bladder symptoms may feel like an embarrassing or uncommon problem but I promise it isn’t. Don’t let your bladder condition hold you back from the things you love, my team is here to help you get your life back again.
I am thrilled with the growth of vaginal rejuvenation treatments in my field. More and more women are starting to have the conversation with their doctors about their feminine health, and the range of non-surgical procedures to improve women’s vaginal health is expanding.
However, the language commonly used around the revolutionary treatments such as ThermiVa and MonaLisa Touch can be vague. What does the term feminine or vaginal rejuvenation mean and how does a woman know if the treatments can fix her uncomfortable symptoms?
Vaginal or feminine rejuvenation is the enhancing of the vagina’s function and cosmetic appearance.
The desire for better sex, a more youthful appearance, and convenience are the main reasons women are choosing non-surgical procedures for rejuvenation. Additional reasons include:
• Perimenopausal and menopausal women experiencing dryness, leaky bladder, or laxity
• Women suffering from dryness due to bioidentical hormones
• Women experiencing dryness from breast cancer treatments
• Women who have discomfort wearing yoga pants, a bathing suit, or riding a bike
• Women that have difficulty achieving orgasm
• Mothers that have vaginal laxity, leaky bladder, prolapse, or decreased sensitivity due to vaginal births
Lastly, I wanted to leave you with a few other notes about vaginal rejuvenation that I think are helpful to be aware of. First, the results can last up to one year and can vary from person to person. Secondly, the procedures are not typically covered by insurance.
If you are interested in vaginal rejuvenation, my team and I are available to help you determine which non-surgical treatment option is best for you. Email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org!
For the past few months, I have had the joy of offering ThermiVa treatments to my patients. Many have seen incredible results with ThermiVa and I wanted to provide all of my readers more insight on the treatment and the impact it can have on feminine well-being.
First, what is ThermiVa? The ThermiVa treatments use radiofrequency energy to gently heat tissue and rejuvenate collagen. The treatment works on the internal and external areas of the vagina to restore and revive. After going through a strenuous childbirth, multiple births, or the effects of menopause, the idea of taking back control of vaginal health is enticing to many of my patients. However, they are usually left with many questions about how ThermiVa can help return youthfulness and recover relationships.
Below are a few facts that I believe are helpful to be aware of when trying to decide if the ThermiVa treatment is right for you.
1. The benefits of this treatment include:
2. If you are in good health, you are most likely a good candidate for ThermiVa!
3. There are no risks to the procedure.
4. ThermiVa is performed in 3 treatments that take about 30 minutes.
5. There is no downtime. Most patients resume their normal activities right after the procedure.
6. ThermiVa requires no anesthesia and patients have described the treatment as comfortable.
7. The results vary from person to person, but most patients report immediate improvement!
I know to many of my patients, ThermiVa can either sound too good to be true or just a little scary. My team is here to help answer any additional questions you may have! Please give us a call and set up your consultation to learn more.
Stay tuned for next month’s blog on vaginal rejuvenation. I will provide more detail on what exactly vaginal rejuvenation is and how it can impact your feminine health!
Many women are frightened by the idea of a cystoscopy test. When I sit down with my patients to discuss the procedure, they mainly express concern about pain and discomfort. However, this procedure can provide great insight into a patient’s bladder health and should not be feared. Below is a list of FAQ’s to help ease your mind about your upcoming cystoscopy test.
What is an in-office cystoscopy?
A cystoscopy test is a procedure that allows me to examine the bladder lining, by inserting a scope into the bladder through the urethra. A cystoscopy test can be compared to a colonoscopy, but for the bladder.
Why would a woman need to have this procedure?
A woman would need a cystoscopy test if she has a polyp, tumor, or other abnormality. Additional reasons for a cystoscopy include blood in the urine that a physician found in a laboratory exam, bladder irritation, overactive bladder, or continuous bladder infections.
What misinformation have women heard about this procedure that’s wrong? Why should they not be nervous?
Most women think a cystoscopy test is very painful. Usually women hear this from others who have had a cystoscopy performed in the past, using a rigid scope. Now, we use a flex scope that is much smaller and less painful. The cystoscopy test only takes two to three minutes and the level of discomfort felt can be compared to a pap smear.
How should women prepare for this procedure?
It is important to come to the office with a full bladder so we can take a urine sample. If you feel like you might have an infection, please let my office know before the procedure so we can treat the infection before performing the cystoscopy.
What does the process of having an in-office cystoscopy look like at Houston Female Urology?
First, the patient comes in for a regular appointment. We then take a urine sample to check for infection. Next, the medical assistant prepares the area and inserts a numbing jelly in the urethra. Once the area is numb, I fill the bladder with water. The scope is then inserted through the urethra into the bladder for the quick test. The results are discussed with the patient right away. Once complete, the patient will get dressed and go to the bathroom to empty the bladder. If there is any discomfort, we can provide a medication to help.
Will the patient feel much pain after they leave the office?
A patient should not feel any pain once they leave our office. There can be a slight burning but the feeling should go away after a couple of hours and is not a common side effect.
Please call my office if you have any other questions about your cystoscopy test. My team is always available to make sure you feel comfortable before coming in for your visit!
It’s a scary thing to find. When a patient sees blood their urine (hematuria), there are often many unknowns that race through their mind. I always stress that patients need to seek medical attention the first time they see it. Don’t even ignore a small amount. Call our office immediately, and make an appointment.
During the appointment, we will look at the entire urinary tract, first with imaging of the kidneys by a CT scan or a renal ultrasound and follow that with a KUB. Then, we will do a scope of the bladder, called a cystoscopy. It is a quick procedure with numbing medicine. While it sounds intimidating, patients are often surprised at how easy it is. The discomfort is similar to a Pap smear.
The most common cause of hematuria is a UTI. The infection can irritate the bladder wall to the point that it often bleeds. Other things we look for are a kidney stone, kidney tumor or bladder cancer.
While it is uncommon, occasionally we find a bladder or kidney tumor as the source of bleeding. Obviously, the sooner that a tumor is found and treated, the better. Tumors in the kidney and bladder will need to be removed surgically. Fortunately, we have great, minimally invasive options to remove these tumors without a large incision.
Often we will see patients for microscopic blood in the urine detected by their primary care doctor. While not as serious, it still requires a complete panel of testing.
Your treatment options will depend on what the testing shows. A UTI will be treated with antibiotics, water and other measures of prevention. If we find a kidney stone, then the treatment could be a number of various options to eliminate the stone, including laser and shock wave therapy, which are both minimally invasive options.
Whatever the cause, it is of the utmost importance to call our office at the first sign of blood in your urine. Our caring staff is here to help you.
– Dr. P
I often have patients ask me about Mid-Urethral Slings to treat and prevent their stress urinary incontinence. The first thing I tell patients is that the FDA has deemed Mid-Urethral Slings as safe, and I’ve personally seen this option work for many women who struggle with the loss of urine during physical activities. Here is a list of a few FAQs to review, originally published by AUGS. To see the full list, click here. Call my office to learn more about how this procedure can change your life.
What is a mid-urethral sling (MUS)?
A mid-urethral sling (MUS) is a small mesh strip used in surgery to treat stress urinary incontinence, a type of leakage that occurs during activity such as laughing, coughing, or exercise. The mid-urethral sling works to prevent or significantly reduce the loss of urine during these activities.
The surgery is done through a small incision in the vaginal wall below the urethra (the tube through which urine passes from the bladder). Through this incision a half-inch wide strip of polypropylene mesh is placed between the urethra and the vagina. The ends of the mesh are passed out incisions in the groin or above the pubic bone. Using absorbable suture, the vaginal incision is closed covering the sling.
Are mid-urethral slings safe?
The mid-urethral sling is considered safe and effective by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As with any surgery, complications can occur but they are typically minor and can usually be repaired.
What sort of evidence supports the efficacy and safety of the mid-urethral sling?
The mid-urethral sling procedure is the most studied surgery to treat stress urinary incontinence and there have been over 2,000 articles published about it. Results of these studies have appeared in prestigious medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine. Two large government funded studies have evaluated the mid-urethral sling’s safety and efficacy – both found the procedure to have a low complication rate and a high success rate. Other large scientific studies from around the world have supported the safety and efficacy of the mid-urethral sling.
What is the difference between a mid-urethral sling and vaginal prolapse mesh?
A mid-urethral sling is used to treat stress urinary incontinence. A vaginal prolapse mesh is placed through a vaginal incision to correct a vaginal bulge (ex. cystocele, rectocele or dropped uterus). Vaginal prolapse mesh is larger and placed in a different location than the mid-urethral sling mesh.
Does a mid-urethral sling cause cancer?
There is no evidence that any women have developed cancer as a result of a mid-urethral sling.
Does a mid-urethral sling cause any other diseases?
There is no evidence that polypropylene mesh or mid-urethral sling causes other diseases.
When I first learned about the MonaLisa Touch laser, I wondered if it was too good to be true. Could a vaginal laser really help post-menopausal women and breast cancer patients experience healthy regrowth of their thinning vaginal walls? I had to see it to believe it. I traveled to California in November 2015 to watch other doctors perform the treatment. To my amazement, many women reported back with noticeable changes after only one session.
I had to bring the MonaLisa Touch to Houston Female Urology – and the response has been amazing. Not only are the treatment sessions approximately five minutes, my patients say that the laser is virtually painless and they can continue on with their day as soon as they leave the office.
I want to share some honest answers with you. I asked one of my patients, Sharon S., to answer a few questions and share her real experience with the MonaLisa Touch. See what she said:
What was life like before your first MonaLisa Touch treatment?
I had age-related symptoms of dryness, burning and pressure resulting in frequent trips to the bathroom. I also experienced drips when sneezing and coughing. I thought I was going to have to learn to live with these problems; however, after my first MonaLisa Touch treatment, I saw improvements in all areas, and I couldn’t wait for my second and third treatments.
Tell me about the day you had the treatment…
On the day of my first treatment, I left the office and continued with what I had scheduled without a problem. The procedure was no worse than having a pap smear. Within the first week of my first treatment I saw a difference in each of the symptoms I was experiencing. I was actually pleasantly surprised that I had improvements so soon.
How did your MonaLisa Touch treatment impact your life?
I have had all three of my treatments, and I can say there has been an even bigger difference with the symptoms I was experiencing. I stopped using my estrogen cream because the problem with dryness was gone, the burning is not a problem, and the pressure when needing to urinate is gone. I am making less trips to the bathroom at night (unless I drink an unusual amount of water before bed), and experiencing no drips. Not only have I experienced a difference, but my husband said that he could tell a difference during intimacy. I also have been able to tell a difference. It is worth it, and I would do the procedure again without question.
This really works. My patients and other women throughout the world are seeing results. Are you ready to learn more? Join me for a free seminar at my office about the treatment. Give us a call! (281) 717-4003
I want to introduce my team in this blog. I can’t believe how incredibly blessed I am to have been able to find such wonderful people to work for/with me and help me take care of my patients. I am nothing without my staff. These women bring so much life, excitement and knowledge to my team, and each individual is vital to the success of Houston Female Urology.
Each team member has been hand-selected by me, so that I can ensure that they encompass my vision for providing exceptional medical care to every patient on every visit. Patients always comment that they can really see a difference in my office, and I attribute it to a staff that goes above and beyond the call.
Houston Female Urology truly is a staff of excellence. My team rolls out the red carpet for each and every patient. Here, patients are given the attention they deserve on every appointment, and we take time to listen to patients and understand their needs. Every day, we strive to be knowledgeable, gentle and kind. Throughout 2016, it is our promise to continue to excel in quality medical care.
Now, I want to introduce you to each member of my team so you can get to know us a little better and feel right at home on your next visit!
Kim Brey, Physician Assistant, is an astute clinician who takes time to listen to patients intently and is excellent at trouble-shooting. Sometimes I think we share a brain since we think so much alike! Kim studied psychology prior to medicine and is the proud mother of an energetic, handsome boy. She has worked with me for the last three years and has 10 years of urology experience. Learn more about Kim, here.
Carrie Hiatt, Medical Assistant, is intuitive, very intelligent and gentle on procedures. She is full of ideas. She does an excellent job with Urodynamics, Pelvic Floor Muscle Training and surgery scheduling. We started working together four years ago. Carrie is a proud “cat-mother” of two felines and loves to cook vegetarian meals and baked goods.
Marissa Mattyre, LVN, is on the phone most of the day but also does several procedures. She is a very patient nurse and quick to respond to patient phone calls and needs. She is able to determine what the patient needs and efficiently help them. Marissa is married and has three beautiful girls. She was a massage therapist prior to attending nursing school. She is the newest member of our team and has been with me for six months.
Patty Ramos, Medical Assistant, is my sidekick day-to-day in the office. She is a dynamo and is full of energy and initiative. She warmly greets each patient and helps get them set up for me to come in to see them. She clearly explains the next steps and also does a great job with Pelvic Floor Muscle Training. Patty is married with two beautiful daughters and has worked with me on-and-off for 13 years.
Mary Yanez, Medical Assistant, helps Kim with her clinic and occasionally helps me as well. She is soft-spoken and gentle. Mary is wonderful at the initial patient intake and teaching patients what they need to know. She is married with a beautiful teenage girl and a handsome toddler boy. We have worked together periodically over the last six years.
Yoisel Betancourt, Front Desk Specialist, warmly greets patients on the phone and at the reception window. She’s a great first impression for my office. She is very organized and very knowledgeable about insurance. Yoisel also comes up with great decorative signs to celebrate office events. She has a beautiful young daughter and is a make-up artist on the weekends.
Ria Avelar, Front Desk Specialist, is very helpful with phone calls about insurance. She takes a lot of time to help out the patients with questions. Ria is also well-versed in the various plans. She also is very warm with patients and makes them feel comfortable. Ria is married and has two beautiful baby sons 18 months apart!
Marlene Magness, Practice Administrator, has been wonderful for my practice. Having worked in hospitals in the past, she was not unfamiliar with medicine, but managing a private practice required learning a lot of new things. She has tackled numerous challenges with gusto and has been such a great leader for my team. She runs things with a steady hand and helps me and the patients in countless ways. Marlene’s true love, however, is antiquing and you can find her at Round Top during the festival season.
As you can see, I am one lucky and blessed girl to have such a great team. I hope that knowing about my staff will help you feel even more comfortable when you come visit us.
To schedule your appointment with my team, visit us online to review next steps!
As 2015 draws to a close, I can’t help but look back on this year and think about how far Houston Female Urology has come since we first opened in July 2014. This year we celebrated our one-year anniversary. That’s one year in the books as the only urology practice in Texas that exclusively serves women. This is something that makes my team so proud. It’s an honor to help our patients get their lives back and say goodbye to urological issues every day.
This year we also added the MonaLisa Touch laser – a leading edge treatment that resolves gynecologic health issues often caused by menopause. I offer this as an in-office procedure that is virtually painless and requires no anesthesia. I am excited to be one of the first physicians in Houston to offering this treatment to help postmenopausal women and breast cancer survivors. (We are also thrilled that the Houston Chronicle covered our story!)
I love interacting with my patients. One way I did this in 2015 was through free seminars. My team organized two amazing events where our patients (and their friends!) were able to gather and learn more about urological issues and treatment options. We had drinks, snacks, door prizes – the events were so successful that I’m already planning more free events for 2016!
Giving back is something that is really important to my practice. This year we gave new athletic clothing wear and monetary donations to Houston Area Women’s Center. We prayed that these donations would bless the women who receive them as they break free from domestic abuse and start a new life.
So as the year winds down and Christmas approaches, I pray for real joy and peace for the whole world. So much heartache has happened in 2015, and it reminds me of the poignant lyrics of the Christmas song, Oh Holy Night – “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.” Take time to rest and not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. This is a time for joy – God reached down to touch mankind.
Enjoy your fresh start to a new year, and come see me in 2016! I can’t wait to continue providing the same great care to my patients.