Encouraging women to seek help for pelvic floor dysfunction

Press Release

Dr. Klein-Patel

Dr. Klein-Patel

One in three women will experience a pelvic floor disorder during her lifetime, due to weakened pelvic muscles or tears in the connective tissue. The most significant barriers to treatment are embarrassment and lack of awareness about therapeutic options.

Allegheny Health Network (AHN) has a program dedicated to treating women throughout all stages and ages of life — from pregnancy and post-pregnancy to menopause and post-menopause. The highly specialized AHN team collaborates closely with patients to fully understand their challenges and design a comprehensive treatment approach that meets their long-term health goals and improves their quality of life.

“Pelvic floor complications are, in fact, the most common health issues experienced by women after pregnancy and continue throughout their lives,” said Lindsay Turner, MD, urogynecologist at AHN West Penn Hospital. “However, these complications are often left untreated due to persistent stigmas or the general assumption that it’s simply something women have to live with — and it’s important we communicate that’s just not the case.”

A highly specialized team

AHN’s multidisciplinary team includes urogynecologists, gastroenterologists, and colorectal surgeons that work together to design comprehensive care plans to alleviate discomfort, improve quality of life, and meet patients’ desired health goals. Pelvic health physical therapists also work with patients via telemedicine or in-person appointments.

Diagnosing a pelvic floor disorder can be challenging, particularly because of similar symptoms across pathologies, said Marcia Klein-Patel, MD, PhD, chair of the AHN Women’s Institute. She explained how referrals from colleagues to AHN’s urogynecology program have significantly improved many women’s lives because of the specialized and tailored care.

“By pushing these conditions into the mainstream, reducing associated stigma, and increasing access to tailored care, we can give women a renewed sense of confidence,” Dr. Klein-Patel said.

Among the most common symptoms experienced by women with pelvic floor issues are chronic pelvic pain, urinary frequency or urgency, urinary leakage, painful sex, vaginal or rectal prolapse, bowel leakage, and constipation.

AHN’s treatment options include pelvic floor physical therapy, medications, biofeedback, relaxation techniques, nerve stimulation, and minimally invasive pelvic reconstruction procedures that target specific areas of concern.

To refer a patient to the AHN Urogynecology Program, call 412-DOTORS or visit https://www.ahn.org/health-care-professionals.

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