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Disorders of the Pelvic Floor with Dr. Stephanie A. Jacobs

September 7, 2017
Are you worried what might happen if you sneeze or laugh? Do you have to get up several times a night to urinate? Do you find yourself sprinting to the bathroom with sudden or frequent urges to empty your bladder? If you’re a woman and you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be one of the approximately 68% of women who are living with incontinence. Dr. Stephanie Jacobs, a GBMC urogynecologist, wants you to know that there’s no reason to be embarrassed and there are treatments that can help. She and Mary Beth Marsden, host of Greater Living with Mary Beth Marsden, talked about the symptoms and treatments for urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse and why women don’t need to grin and bear these conditions.

“Incontinence affects more women than most people realize,” explains Dr. Jacobs. “And a lot of these women just aren’t comfortable talking about it, so they try to manage and put off seeing a doctor until the symptoms are really interfering with their quality of life. But you don’t have to live with incontinence. Depending on what the cause of the incontinence is, there are a range of treatments that can get symptoms under control, so you can get back to doing what you enjoy.”

While doctors don’t know exactly what makes a woman likely to become incontinent, they do know that age, pregnancy and vaginal delivery, and genetics may all play a role. Treatment options range from Kegel exercises, physical therapy, and losing weight to Botox injections in the bladder and surgery.

For women living with pelvic organ prolapse (a condition where the muscles and ligaments supporting the pelvic organs weaken, allowing the pelvic organs to drop lower in the pelvis and create a bulge in the vagina), whether or not they choose to treat this bothersome, but not dangerous condition depends on whether the discomfort affects their quality of life.

“If the symptoms of prolapse or incontinence are bothering you, talk to a urogynecologist and find out what your options are. There’s nothing to be afraid of and there is help,” adds Dr. Jacobs.

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