Program makes it easier to discuss female health issues

Categories: Women's Health
For women experiencing painful intercourse, incontinence or other pelvic floor disorders, physical rehabilitation can be life-changing. But few women feel comfortable discussing intimate issues in the same physical therapy setting as patients recovering from strokes or car accidents.

With a sole focus on these sensitive conditions, Womanology, a well-respected pelvic-floor specialty clinic, has provided integrated, comprehensive care designed specifically for women experiencing urinary and bowel problems, vulvodynia and a host of other pelvic floor issues for more than 12 years.

Offered in a spa-like setting and calming atmosphere, Womanology has long understood that pelvic-floor conditions for both women and men needed to be addressed with an emotional, as well as clinical approach.

I was one of the first physicians in Orange County to refer patients to Womanology so I'm very excited that Hoag recently acquired the clinic. In addition to Womanology, Hoag has also purchased Restore Him, an additional component of the groundbreaking program that focuses on men.

Childbearing is one of the main culprits behind pelvic-floor disorders, but obesity and other factors also contribute to this debilitating condition. A National Institutes of Health study found that pelvic floor disorders affect about 10% of women ages 20 to 39, some 27% of women ages 40 to 59, and 37% of women ages 60 to 79, and nearly half of women age 80 or older.

A physical therapist, Womanology founder Robin Christenson opened clinics in Fullerton and Irvine and assembled an outstanding specialized team, including acupuncturists, Pilates instructors, massage therapists and guided-imagery therapists, all of whom are now on Hoag's staff.

For too many years, women kept quiet about their pelvic floor issues, even from their doctors. With our comprehensive physical therapy program for women, designed by women, we hope that more women will take advantage of the rehabilitative therapies available.

Womanology by Hoag has adopted the program's spa-like, woman-friendly environment, so patients will hopefully feel more comfortable coming in to address problems that have traditionally gotten too little attention. Because most pelvic floor disorder conditions are related to muscles, nerves and ligaments, they respond well to the complementary approaches that Womanology has employed, as well as the clinical approaches long available at Hoag.

As these treatments become more mainstream, I hope women will grow more comfortable addressing these problems. You can't undo the causes of pelvic-floor problems. You can't reverse childbirth, or chemotherapy or C-sections. But you can have a healthier, more active life.