By Amos Adelowo, MD, MPH, FACOG, FPMRS
Every doctor understands that women may have a hard time talking about problems “down there.” However, there is no reason to be embarrassed. Pelvic floor disorders (PFD) are very common and impact approximately one in four women. Symptoms of pelvic floor disorders can include:
- Urinary leakage
- Vaginal bulge and pressure sensation
- Urinary urgency and frequency
- Waking up multiple times at night to urinate
- Difficulty with urination
- Incomplete emptying of urine
- Difficulty with bowel movement
- Accidental loss of stool or obstruction of stool passage.
Women who may be experiencing these symptoms may be wondering how to bring it up with their healthcare provider without embarrassment. While it’s understandably difficult from a patient’s perspective to discuss these problems, you should know that your doctor is used to talking about these issues virtually every day. Most importantly, your doctor has the ability to refer you to the appropriate specialist (known as a urogynecologist) who has the focus and training needed to help you deal with these problems successfully. There is a general misconception that these types of problems are “normal” for women of a certain age, especially if they have had children. The good news is that pelvic floor dysfunction is NOT a normal part of aging and can be treated successfully with the right care.
If you are contemplating starting this discussion with your doctor at your next appointment, here are some questions you can ask to help get the conversation started and make this sensitive topic a little easier to discuss.
Questions to ask your doctor:
- Do you think I have symptoms of a pelvic floor disorder? If so, what kind of pelvic floor disorder(s) do I have?
- What is causing my symptoms?
- Will my symptoms get better?
- What can I do to lessen or end these symptoms?
- Do you see a lot of other patients like me?
- Do you know of any doctors who specialize in treating my symptoms, such as urogynecologists?
(If so, can you refer me to someone you would recommend?)
- Will you work with the specialist to make sure he or she knows about my medical history?
- Can I contact you again to ask your advice after seeing a specialist?
- What should I do next?
- If I think of more questions later, can I call or email you?
(Above questions adapted from www.voicesforpfd.org)
Remember that incontinence and other signs of pelvic floor problems are not a “normal” part of aging. They are medical problems that need to be addressed. That’s why it’s important to engage in a discussion with your healthcare provider to determine available treatment options or ask for a referral to a urogynecology specialist today.
If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our urogynecology specialists here at the Reliant Medical Group Division of Urogynecology/Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, please call the office at (508) 870-9350.
More information on Pelvic Floor Disorders:
About Amos Adelowo, MD
Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Dr. Amos Adelowo always wanted to have a career that involved helping others. While he was studying for his Master’s in Public Health at Tulane University he had the opportunity to do some work in undeveloped countries and he quickly realized that he could have a bigger impact helping people if he went to medical school.
While studying to become a doctor, Dr. Adelowo became interested in providing...View profile View posts by this doctor