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Our Bodies, Our Lives

Galveston County Daily NewsOur Bodies, Our Lives is a column focusing on issues surrounding women’s sexual, gynecological and emotional health, currently published in the Galveston County Daily News. Dr. Tristi Muir is a gynecologists at UTMB. See more writings on the Working Wonders blog.

Breast cancer awareness month — it’s not just about mammograms

Galveston County Daily News, Oct. 23, 2013
Breast cancer has affected all of our lives. One in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in our lifetimes. While men can develop breast cancer, it is 100 times more common in women. The American Cancer Society estimates that in the year 2013, there will be 232,340 new diagnoses of invasive breast cancer.

Incontinence is no laughing matter 

Galveston County Daily News, Oct. 8, 2013
Fear of ridicule can lead many women to avoid activities that may cause bladder leakage. First you stop jumping on the trampoline with your kids and soon you’re avoiding many activities you once enjoyed. Urinary incontinence is actually quite common — affecting 45 percent of women.

Proactive education can help reduce teen pregnancies 

Galveston County Daily News, Aug. 13, 2013
In 2010, approximately 368,000 U.S. teenagers 15-19 gave birth. Sixty percent of sexually experienced teens reported using a highly effective birth control like an IUD or hormonal method.

Pregnancy brain: Is it fact or fiction? 

Galveston County Daily News, July 23, 2013
While we blame pregnancy for a momentary lapse of memory, sleep deprivation may actually be the cause of forgetfulness. During pregnancy, sleep becomes interrupted. Women have to wake up to roll over or their bladder sends them running to the bathroom. In the first year after the baby’s birth, a woman accumulates up to 700 hours of sleep debt.

Hormone replacement therapy — not so scary after all 

Galveston County Daily News, July 9, 2013
A decade ago when the Women’s Health Initiative famously announced that menopausal women who took hormones had higher rates of coronary heart disease, stroke, blood clot formation and breast cancer, women abandoned their hormones in droves. But now, newer research has shown that wholesale elimination of hormone therapy for all menopausal women may not make sense.

In search of ‘natural’ hormone replacement therapy 

Galveston County Daily News, June 25, 2013
It is a popular idea these days that bio-identical, custom-compounded hormone replacement therapy is safer and more natural than other alternatives. The word “natural,” however, applies to any product produced directly from an animal, plant or mineral source. Natural does not automatically mean safe or resembling anything found in the human body.

What’s happening to my body? 

Galveston County Daily News, June 11, 2013
Not all women realize they are menopausal. Many women go through midlife changes without needing to seek medical advice or noting any problems at all. If you are in this category, don’t worry about your lack of symptoms and don’t go looking for answers to questions you don’t have. There is no need to test your hormones or start any medications. But some of the following advice might help to maximize your preventive health strategies as you negotiate menopause gracefully.

Pelvic floor dysfunction is common 

Galveston County Daily News, May 28, 2013
One in two women has pelvic floor dysfunction — problems related to the support and function of the pelvic floor. The life event that affects the pelvic floor most significantly is childbirth. Pelvic floor dysfunction is common, but it doesn’t have to be a normal part of aging. There are solutions.

Bodies change after birth 

Galveston County Daily News, April 2, 2013
Bringing a new life into the world is truly a miracle. Yet in the aftermath of the birth and all the excitement surrounding bringing the baby home, many women find themselves noticing something not so miraculous — their body is not the same. The uterus, vagina, pelvic muscles and nerves undergo tremendous change during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. The uterus shrinks back to approximately its pre-pregnancy size within six weeks. Bleeding can persist throughout this time, but resumption of an actual period is variable and often significantly delayed if a woman decides to breast-feed.

See more writings on the Working Wonders blog & The UTMB Newsroom.


A common urinary problem

Galveston County Daily NewsDr. Joseph Sonstein recently wrote in the Galveston County Daily News: "In the United States, urinary incontinence affects an estimated 17 million men and women and costs an estimated $30 billion to manage. Despite the uncomfortable nature of the problem, an open discussion with your doctor about it is important for two reasons: One, the problem may be treatable, and, two, the leakage might actually be a result of a more dangerous problem. Underlying diseases or conditions that might lead to urinary leakage include infection, damage to the nervous system, diabetes, heart disease, constipation, side effects from medications, obstruction from the prostate in men or prolapse (hernia) of the female organs in women and even cancer. Often, if these underlying conditions can be treated, the incontinence will improve or disappear completely."


Impact of proposed changes on birth control coverage; pros and cons of gender blood tests; "Mommy-rexia"

SelfRecently, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report suggesting that contraceptives, sterilization and reproductive education should be covered by health insurance plans under the health care reform law -- at no cost to patients. UTMB Health's Dr. Tristi Muir was interviewed as part of a report on the proposed changes, on the Self.com health blog written by Amy Paturel. Read the post online...

Dr. Muir also was interviewed by Paturel on the pros and cons of blood tests that reveal a baby's gender as early as seven weeks into pregnancy. Read more...


Summer’s top sexual health hazards Dr. Muir: Sexual health hazards

Dr. Tristi Muir, UTMB’s director of urogynecology, offers tips on how to avoid urinary tract infections during the summer. Promptly changing out of a wet swimsuit, drying off thoroughly, and drinking lots of water can all help, she says. Enhanced or more frequent intimacy can also increase the chance of a UTI. She was quoted as part of a Cosmo Health Report feature in the August 2011 issue of Cosmopolitan.  

 


Pelvic Health expert featured on recent radio show

Dr. Tristi Muir on the Dr. Galati ShowDr. Tristi Muir was interviewed on Dr. Joe Galati’s “Your Health First” radio show on Sunday, Feb. 13. Dr. Muir, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the director of urogynecology at UTMB Health, discussed pelvic health and incontinence issues, new treatments, and services offered at the Pelvic Health and Continence Center at Victory Lakes. She is passionate about broadening the scope of options available to treat urinary and fecal incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, and equally excited about educating women about their gynecologic health and providing them with options. The radio show, which is broadcast from 7 to 8 p.m., airs on KTRH 740 AM.

You can hear a webcast of Dr. Muir's interview online; her section begins at the 21:30 minute mark.
Dr. Tristi Muir on the Dr. Galati Show


Pelvic Health Center professor launches mental health study

Dr. Jefff TempleDr. Jeff Temple, an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology and a member of the Pelvic Health and Continence Center team, will study the impact of teen dating violence on mental health with the help of a research grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. His proposal was selected from a pool of 47 applicants from 19 universities across Texas. The foundation awarded 10 grants totaling nearly $150,000. Temple will expand an ongoing study of the effects of teen dating violence on mental health and dropout rates among low-income and ethnically diverse youth. According to his proposal, an estimated 25 percent of teens are physically or sexually abused by dating partners each year. Many more are victims of severe emotional and verbal abuse.


Roughly One Quarter of U.S. Women Affected By Pelvic Floor Disorders

Weakened Pelvic Muscles May Result In Incontinence, Discomfort, Activity Limitation

NIH NewsNearly 24 percent of U.S. women are affected with one or more pelvic floor disorders, report researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health. Their analysis is the first to document in a nationally representative sample the extent of pelvic floor disorders, a cluster of health problems that causes physical discomfort and limits activity.

The study also revealed that the frequency of pelvic floor disorders increases with age, affecting more than 40 percent of women from 60 to 79 years of age, and about 50 percent of women 80 and older.

Pelvic floor disorders result when the muscles and connective tissue within the pelvic cavity weaken or are injured. These muscles and ligaments form a sling across the opening of a woman’s pelvis, holding the bladder, uterus, bowel, and rectum in place. The three main pelvic floor disorders are urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse results when pelvic organs such as the uterus, bladder and bowel, collapse onto the vagina. The resulting pressure may cause a bulge or protrusion through the vaginal canal. This protrusion may be uncomfortable, may make physical activity difficult, and may interfere with sexual functioning.

The study results appear in the September 17, 2008 Journal of the American Medical Association.

“The study results underscore the need to identify the causes of pelvic floor disorders and the means to prevent and treat them.” said Duane Alexander, M.D., director of the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). “The NIH Pelvic Floor Disorders Network is conducting studies to provide much needed answers.”

Funding was provided by the NICHD, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH), all at the NIH, and by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study’s first author was Ingrid Nygaard, M.D., M.S., of the University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City. The study was conducted by researchers in NIH’s Pelvic Floor Disorders Network, which seeks to improve diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of pelvic floor disorders in women.

To conduct the study, the researchers submitted questions on pelvic floor disorders for inclusion in the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a periodic survey of the U.S. population conducted by the NCHS

“Before our study, there were no comprehensive national prevalence estimates for pelvic floor disorders,” said Susan Meikle, M.D., M.S.P.H, Project Scientist for the NIH Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.

The 1961 women who participated in the survey answered questions about symptoms of pelvic floor disorders. The women were age 20 and older and were not pregnant. Overall, 23.7 percent of the women had symptoms of at least one pelvic floor disorder: 15.7 percent had urinary incontinence, 9.0 percent had fecal incontinence, and 2.9 had symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse.

The proportion of women who reported at least one pelvic floor disorder increased with age: 9.7 percent of women aged 20 to 39 years, 26.5 percent of women aged 40 to 59 years, 36.8 percent of women aged 60 to 79 years, and 49.7 percent of women 80 or older.

Underweight and normal weight women were less likely to have a pelvic floor disorder (15.1 percent) than were overweight women (26.3 percent) and obese women (30.4 percent).

The prevalence of pelvic floor disorders also varied with the number of times a woman had given birth: 12.8 percent for women who had never given birth, 18.4 percent of women who had one child, 24.6 percent of women who had two children, and 32.4 percent for women who had three or more children.

The researchers did not find any differences in pelvic floor disorders based on race, ethnicity, or level of education achieved.

The researchers noted that their study focused on moderate to severe forms of pelvic floor disorders, and so did not include women with mild symptoms.

Treatment for pelvic floor disorders varies with the severity of symptoms. Treatment may involve behavioral therapies, exercises to strengthen muscles, vaginal devices to hold up the bladder or other pelvic organs, medications, or surgery.

In 2006, researchers in the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network published study results describing a successful surgery to reduce the urinary incontinence caused by pelvic organ prolapse: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/releases/Pages/surgery_reduces_incontinence.aspx

Additional information on pelvic floor disorders is available at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pelvicfloor/Pages/default.aspx

 


Friday, January 22, 2010

We’ve come a long way since women’s pelvic conditions were dismissed with a blush as “female troubles.” Or have we? A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that pelvic problems plague nearly one in four women older than age 20. But all too often women put off calling their doctors for these conditions, often out of embarrassment.

The women in the JAMA study complained of incontinence—leaking urine, and, less commonly, feces—and pelvic organ prolapse. Prolapse is the falling of pelvic organs into the vagina. Women may also suffer pelvic pain. Treatments exist for all of these problems, and the team at UTMB’s Pelvic Health and Continence Center can help end the suffering and discomfort.

 

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Pelvic Health and Continence Center
Urology-Gynecology, Urology, Geriatrics, Psychology, Colon-Rectal Surgery, Physical Therapy

2240 Gulf Freeway South
Suite 2.401.B
League City, TX 77573

Phone: 832-505-1600
Fax: 281-614-0589
pelvic.health@utmb.edu

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