It’s Time to Get out of the Bathroom

Do you know exactly where the restroom is in each of your favorite restaurants, because you go each time you are there? Do you feel the urge to urinate and swear that you just went an hour ago? Does your bathroom schedule interfere with daily life?

If you need to pee more than eight times during the day, and wake up at night, then it’s time to get things under control. Needing to urinate that frequently is not normal, and it affects the lives of so many women. Whether you feel the urge to urinate way too often, or suffer from urine leakage when you exercise, sneeze or cough, we can help.

There are all sorts of non-surgical ways to improve overactive bladder. At Houston Female Urology, we help women, every day, reduce the need to urinate. Many women make progress by simply keeping a voiding diary and making changes to their eating and drinking habits. But when that doesn’t help, it’s time to go to the next step.

Along with overactive bladder, another problem that we address all the time is stress incontinence (aka leaky bladders). If you pee when you exercise, we can help. If you pee when you cough or sneeze, we can help. Many women wrongly assume that surgery is the only way to correct urine leakage. Don’t give up your favorite workout routine because you’re worried about leaking urine.

We are proud to offer several in-office procedures to calm your overactive or leaky bladder: Pelvic Floor Toning, Bladder Botox, and ThermiVa are a few of the easy ways to help you spend less time searching for a public restroom.

Call our office at 281.823.9380 to schedule a consultation, and we’ll get started on a plan just for you.

Cheers to a healthy you!
-Dr. P

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4 Things that Might Surprise you about Breast Cancer

At Houston Female Urology, we take care of women and girls. That’s all. No men. So, naturally we are concerned about all women’s health concerns, especially breast cancer.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and this is our message to you: GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM.

The American Cancer Society has done a great job with community education and publicity, so thankfully many women know the basics. You probably know that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. You also probably know that early detection is critical, and that means annual mammograms. You know all of this, but sometimes it’s just not enough encouragement to schedule that annual exam.

So we will say it again…GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM. Schedule the appointment and get it done.

Here are some things about breast cancer that might surprise you:

  1. 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.
  2. Monthly breast self-exams have not been shown to improve detection. The best plan is to just be aware of how your breasts look and feel. If you notice something different, call your doctor.
  3. Being overweight or obese — especially after menopause — may raise your risk.
  4. Breast cancer doesn’t always present itself as a lump. Other things to be concerned about are: swelling in and around your breast, collarbone or armpit; skin thickening or redness in or around your breast; breast warmth and itching; nipple changes or discharge.

At Houston Female Urology, we are so proud to help breast cancer survivors combat the vaginal and urological effects of treatment. Chemotherapy can lead to early-onset menopause or worsening symptoms in post-menopausal women. Things like overactive bladder, vaginal dryness and burning can be major problems for cancer survivors.

We can help with our in-office laser procedure known as MonaLisa Touch. It’s hormone-free, painless and quick. If your menopause symptoms are keeping you from enjoying life, call our office and schedule a consultation.

Cheers to a healthy you!
-Dr. P

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What is Vaginal Rejuvenation?

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 info@houstonfemaleurology.com!

-Dr. P

Everyone has a story

Doctor and patient

Before I became a PA, I used my Master’s degree in Psychology to work with the severely mentally ill. During this time, I learned that everyone has a story to tell.

While training in PA school at Saint Louis University, one of my instructors told our class that the most crucial part of an appointment is taking an accurate history and knowing what questions to ask. After this, you need to allow the patient to talk, because they will often give you the diagnosis.

Throughout my 10 years as a PA, I have used the skills I acquired in these two learning environments to encourage my patients to tell their story and chronicle the events that led up up their appointment.

During their story, I only interrupt at a minimum to verify my understanding while collecting pertinent details. When the story concludes, I typically only ask a few additional questions to fine tune an accurate history.

If I don’t have a diagnosis by this point, I’ve at least narrowed down to a handful of possibilities before conducting the physical exam and ordering labs, imaging and office procedures.

Make no mistake, I realize that listening is a skill that takes time, patience and practice to hone. As the provider, you must train yourself to quiet your thoughts and remain in the moment with the patient. Remember those seemingly insignificant details, because you often must make inferences and deductions. Lastly, you need to listen to what they are not saying.

This process takes a little longer than other methods. However, the clear benefit is that fewer delays are encountered while developing an accurate diagnosis. The end result is that the provider initiates an effective and appropriate treatment more quickly, which leads to better outcomes for the patient.

– KIM BREY, PA-C

Squashing Myths About In-Office Cystoscopy Tests

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!

-Dr. P