S.H.E.: Treating pelvic floor weakness
Physicians at Carson City Center for Women’s Healthcare (CFWHC) took a step forward in the emerging field of medicine dedicated to treating pelvic floor weakness in women.
Helping women gain control
Last month, CFWHC nurses Brenda Nemeth and Gen Evans completed pelvic floor therapy (PFT) training in Savannah, Ga. As certified pelvic floor therapy nurses, they can help women gain control of a sensitive health issue and, in many cases, avoid surgery. “I’m passionate about my job and excited about this new service,” Nemeth said. “It’s nice to be able to make a difference in someone’s life. I’ve been a nurse for almost 20 years and the most rewarding part of my job is improving quality of life for my patients.”
The pelvic floor — a group of muscles connecting the pubic bone to the tailbone — supports the bladder and reproductive organs, the uterus, urethra and vagina. Pregnancy, childbirth and age cause these muscles to weaken. This weakness can result in organ prolapse (drop), causing painful pressure against the walls of the vagina.
Previously, patients with symptoms associated with pelvic floor weakness were referred to an urologist by their primary physician. Now, CFWHC’s new treatment options offer women the convenience of remaining at their facility under the care of a certified PFT nurse. Prime candidates for PFT include females who experience symptoms of urinary incontinence and leaking, uncomfortable bladder pressure, pain during sexual intercourse and frequent urge to urinate.
During the initial examination, the PFT nurse will evaluate the pelvic-floor muscle strength through an internal probe inserted into the vagina. The procedure is simple and painless, according to Nemeth. She encourages patients to openly express their concerns and to ask questions. PFT is done once a week for approximately six to eight weeks with documentation of patients’ weekly progress. Sessions introduce patients to exercises to strengthen pelvic-floor muscles, mainly Kegels, which should be continued daily between visits and after treatment ends.
“We plant the seed so patients can continue exercises at home,” Nemeth said. “Once women find their pelvic-floor muscles, it’s fairly simple. They’re the same muscles used to stop the flow of urine midstream.” In addition to pelvic-floor strengthening, PFT teaches women to tighten and relax their vaginal wall muscles, which helps with female sexual-dysfunction and painful intercourse.
CFWHC has three locations — Carson City, Greenville and Ithaca — serving women’s needs. In addition to pelvic floor therapy, they offer prenatal care, sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing, contraception management, routine pap, pelvic and breast exams, hormone replacement therapy, endometrial ablation, da Vinci robotic surgery and help with periods and female sexual dysfunction issues. An in-house gift shop and spa offer patients a calm, relaxing atmosphere during their visit.
CFWHC is accepting new patients and participates with most insurance plans. For more information, call Carson City CFWHC at 989-584-3107.