Women study participants gain access to information, help test potential treatments
For generations, women stayed quiet when they had troubling pelvic problems or incontinence symptoms that they considered "too private" to mention to their doctors.
Today, that "sisterhood of silence" is ending, thanks to the emergence of urogynecology, a medical specialty that focuses on the whole female pelvis and the ways that physical changes--such as weight loss/gain, childbirth and agingâcan affect pelvic health. Issues such as urinary and fecal incontinence, and uterine prolapse all fall within the domain of urogynecology.
At Loyola, a team of physician-researchers is advancing the specialty of urogynecology through dozens of clinical studies, many of which have received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In fact, Loyola ranks 12th in the nation for NIH research funding for womenâs health, outpacing many academic medical centers of far greater size.
âWeâre looking at new ways to treat problems that can affect a womanâs quality of life. Thanks to the research we do, we have been able to find new answers and to offer women options â whether itâs a surgical approach, a new medication, an exercise program or simple lifestyle changes,â said Linda Brubaker, MD, professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Urology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, who established the Loyola Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery Center.
Todayâs women are stretching their active years well beyond age 65. With new options for pelvic health, women can enjoy these years to the fullest.
Some of the common problems for which new therapies are being tested at Loyola include:
Urinary incontinence â This may be due to stress incontinence, which means that a sneeze or laugh can cause urine to leak. Stress incontinence is a common problem for new moms or women athletes who participate in high-impact sports. Or, a woman may experience urge incontinence, which is accompanied by a sudden, intense urge to urinate and a need to urinate frequently.
Vaginal prolapse â This condition can occur when the supporting tissues around the vagina are become injured or weakened, causing the vagina to fall from its original position. This condition may be accompanied by incontinence.
To learn about participating in a clinical study offered through the Urogynecology and Reconstructive Surgery Center, visit the Womenâs Health section of Loyolamedicine.org or phone (708) 216-4188.