Vaginal Tissue Restoration (VRT): The Next Generation of POP Treatment?

As a women’s pelvic health advocate, I’d be falling down on my responsibilities if I didn’t explore new avenues of treatment available for POP. That being said, as a women extremely pro-active in my health, especially pelvic health, I am extremely cognizant of shifts in my body. While I do the right stuff most of the time, my body gets a bit sassy from time to time. I’m as human as anyone else-upon occasion I do slip up. I’ve been noticing a bit of atrophy in the past 6 months. Despite having effectively balanced my hormones with bio-identicals for the past 20 years, I’ll admit I’m a bit disillusioned that I can’t seem to get the current atrophy under control despite modifying my regimen. Time for the big guns!

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When Advocacy Comes Together, Everyone Wins

Last week I returned to home base following Astellas/AUA/Urology Care Foundation sponsored advocacy coalition roundtable in Baltimore. Advocacy coming together to generate positive change in policy is a good thing, especially when healthcare, industry, research, and academia participate in the process. Healthcare policy evolves slowly when one sector alone bangs the drum; it advances more effectively when voices from all sectors come together in a way that acknowledges patient voice is the cornerstone. If you want to know what the true impact of any condition is, ask the patient.

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Is It IBS or POP?

Every year countless women are given a diagnosis of IBS; many of them after inconclusive test results. Despite the fact that half of all women over fifty as well as countless younger women from childbearing age and up suffer from POP (pelvic organ prolapse), tests and exams to accurately diagnose this health issue are seldom recommended. We all want a name to put to the symptoms we are experiencing; we all want clarification that those symptoms are not in our heads. Many of us do our best to utilize the diets, medications, and behavior modifications our physicians recommend, trying to find some relief for the discomfort we have to deal with daily. Pelvic organ prolapse is an extremely common female health condition that has many overlapping symptoms with IBS. The real question is how many women diagnosed with and treated for IBS actually have POP instead?

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Health Care Tunnel Vision

Patient voice plays an integral role in the advancement of clinical practice. I engage in conversations every chance I get regarding pelvic organ prolapse; opportunities to discuss a health topic that has been shrouded in secrecy for thousands of years’ present avenues to encourage disclosure. As an advocate who guides women toward healthcare professionals for both surgical and nonsurgical treatment of POP, I encourage women to disclose symptoms and concerns that are often embarrassing to discuss. I feel strongly that we need to get past the discomfort zone and recognize that at its most basic level, pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a health condition that is treatable, not an issue that needs to be hidden away behind closed doors.

The problem with tunnel vision is we lose sight of valuable perceptions outside the tunnel. 

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Enterocele, Rectocele, or Both?

Little talked about, often overlooked; enterocele is like the distant cousin who is more misunderstood than those “popular” first cousin’s cystocele and rectocele. Articles about pelvic organ prolapse are incredibly vague when it comes to enterocele; this POP often goes undiagnosed when other types of POP are acknowledged (that was my scenario; a large enterocele was discovered during surgery). Let’s shine a bit of light on the difference between rectocele, intussusception, rectal prolapse, and enterocele.

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The Vagina: The most stigmatized health frontier

When will we be able to talk about vaginal health out loud? By definition, stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance or quality. Feeling labeled or defined by a health condition can be devastating. Women typically navigate discovery upon diagnosis when experiencing pelvic organ prolapse (POP); they often go for months and sometimes years with no clue what is occurring in their bodies. Physically incapacitating to varying degrees based on type and grade of severity, POP makes a mess out of nearly every aspect of women’s lives, dissecting family, intimate, and employment sectors. Additionally, POP stigma often generates feelings of:

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