Posts in Category: Your Pelvic Health

Help for Leaky Bladders. It’s Not Too Late!

Did you know there are ways to improve your bladder control without surgery, no matter how old you are? Leaking urine is often the result of a weakened pelvic floor, and our Pelvic Floor Toning therapy is helping women in all stages of life.

90% of patients notice a significant improvement in strength and bladder control.

When you think about strength exercises and toning, your pelvic floor muscles probably don’t come to mind. In fact, you may be wondering exactly what your pelvic floor is and why it’s important.

Let’s start at the beginning. Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles, connective tissue and ligaments that supports your pelvic organs and controls the flow of urine and bowel movements. When the pelvic floor is weakened – from things like childbirth and menopause – your pelvic organs don’t function the way they are supposed to. In many cases, this means you leak urine.

Remember when you were pregnant and newly post-partum, and your obstetrician told you to do Kegel exercises? If you are like most women, you had great intentions but probably forgot to do the exercises consistently. Now, years later, your leaky bladder is reminding you.

Fortunately it’s not too late, and we can help. The Houston Female Urology pelvic floor specialist is like a personal trainer for your bladder. Our Pelvic Floor Toning program is a combination of in-office treatments and exercises you can do at home, and most patients are healed without medication or surgery. In fact, about 90% of patients notice a significant improvement in strength and bladder control.

It’s a proven technique and it is covered by almost all insurance carriers and Medicare.

How does it work?

Our pelvic floor specialist will meet with you for a series of 4-8 sessions. First, she will assess your current pelvic floor strength. Then, she uses a painless vaginal probe to create electrical stimulation that speeds muscle growth and resets the bladder nerves. Treatments take less than an hour, and after completing all sessions, about 2/3 of women are healed and do not need surgery or other procedures.

The second part of treatment is at-home exercises. Based on your individual strength, our pelvic floor specialist will teach you the proper way to do Kegel exercises so that you can prolong your benefits. And, we can even prescribe a home therapy device you can use on your own.

If you are struggling with overactive bladder and making too many trips to the bathroom during the night, or frustrated by urine leakage when you cough, sneeze or exercise, this treatment may be just what you need.

Cheers to a healthy you!

-Dr. P

To learn more about the Pelvic Floor Muscle Toning treatment at Houston Female Urology please watch our below YouTube video.

Have you had a great experience with Houston Female Urology? We are so grateful for reviews from our patients, and would be honored if you would take a few minutes to tell others about your experience.

 

How To Conquer Interstitial Cystitis (Bladder Pain) Symptoms

 

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.

  1. Modify your diet.

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.

  1. Take steps to manage stress.

Common stress management tools include meditating, getting a massage, or exercising.

  1. Try to establish healthy sleeping habits.

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!

-Dr. P

Hope for Leaky Bladders

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:

  • Uroflowmetry: measurement of urine volume and speed
  • Postvoid Residual Measurement: measures the amount of urine remaining in the bladder after urination
  • Cytometric Test: measures how much the bladder can hold when it communicates with the brain that it is full
  • Leak Point Pressure Measurement: determines the point at which the bladder leaks are involuntary
  • Pressure Flow Study: measures the pressure the bladder requires to urinate
  • Electromyography: evaluates for nerve or muscle damage

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.

-Dr. P

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

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

There’s blood in my urine?

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

FAQs for Mid-Urethral Slings

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.

A Q&A about the MonaLisa Touch

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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

-Dr. P

Meet the MonaLisa Touch

 

MonaLisaTouchI am thrilled to announce that I will be introducing a new vaginal laser treatment as an outpatient procedure this fall at Houston Female Urology. As the first urologist in Houston who’s taking advantage of this groundbreaking technology, I can’t wait for my patients to reap the benefits! Meet the MonaLisa Touch.

The MonaLisa touch is a treatment aimed at combating vaginal atrophy. Vaginal atrophy may be caused by hormonal changes during menopause, and it may also occur in women who experience a decreased estrogen production due to cancer or breastfeeding. Thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls are typical characteristics, and it may cause intercourse to be painful and contribute to problems with urination.

My patients who experience these symptoms will now be able to restore youthful, trophic conditions in the vulvo-vaginal area with the MonaLisa Touch. The MonaLisa Touch is a minimally invasive laser method that is completely reliable. Its CO2 laser source emits an impulse, and the method does not trigger negative effects like some hormone-based therapies.

Often during the period of menopause, the vagina is subject to a loss of swelling and hydration of tissues, which may cause discomfort for many women. As I mentioned earlier, some of the symptoms include itchiness, dryness, burning, loosening of the vagina and pain during sexual intercourse. Not only do these symptoms cause discomfort, but they can also interfere with your quality of life.

I am excited about the MonaLisa Touch because it naturally and painlessly overcomes vaginal atrophy by triggering physiological processes that eliminate signs of aging. Most importantly, the treatment brings an improvement in physical conditions that enable women to feel like their vulvo-vaginal areas are aging in reverse.

Stay tuned as we share more information throughout the coming days and weeks about the MonaLisa Touch. I think you’re going to love it!

Dr. P

It’s World Continence Week! Reach out for help

WCW-2015-Group

Yes, there is a day or a week for just about everyone and every cause these days! But this one is near and dear to my heart, because I see women every day whose lives are affected negatively by incontinence. Fortunately, I also get to see how their lives are greatly improved by our treatments. World Continence Week is an annual initiative with a primary goal of raising awareness about issues related to bladder control. You probably know that incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine, but did you realize that bladder control problems are preventable, and they can be managed and often cured?

This is a hard topic for many people to talk about, and believe me, I completely understand. Of all the medical issues that women talk about with their friends, for some reason, they do not want to talk about this issue. Some of my patients even hide it from their husbands. Incontinence is a sensitive subject, and it affects an estimated 400 million people around the world.

Because this sometimes feels too taboo to discuss, World Continence Week has stepped in to draw attention to the problems and increase awareness about the condition. At the end of the day, this week is about giving a voice to those who suffer while boosting their confidence to seek help from a doctor and improve quality of life.

I want you to know that if you are suffering with incontinence issues, or you know someone who suffers, you can start the process today to begin changing your life for the better. Here are three easy steps that you can begin right now. I have found these to actually be curative in some cases.

  • Reduce your intake of caffeine. Think coffee, tea and sodas.
  • Make diet modifications. Spicy and acidic foods can trigger an overactive bladder.
  • Establish a bathroom schedule. Urinate before you have the urge.

There are many other options to consider in your journey to treat and cure incontinence. I have created a bladder treatment pathway to make it easy to see the various treatment options and guide you most quickly to the therapy that will work for you. We can discuss the best route for you during a visit to my office. My staff and I talk about this every day, so leave your embarrassment at the door! We are here to care for you and walk beside you as we tackle this issue.

We can discuss:

  • Pelvic Floor exercises, either at home or through our pelvic muscle toning program
  • Bladder neurostimulators that retrain the bladder nerves and is often a permanent solution
  • Bladder Botox, administered easily in the office to relax the bladder muscle
  • Medications
  • Surgery, such as a simple outpatient 15 minute procedure with 95% success rates

Take action this week! I promise it’s worth it. It can literally change your life.

Dr. P