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Medically reviewed by Dr. Dale Lusk
Fibroids – non-cancerous growths – that form in and around the uterus can cause heavy bleeding, pain, discomfort during sex and a frequent need to urinate. The most common way to eliminate the problem is for a woman to have the fibroids and her uterus removed through a hysterectomy. When the fibroids are removed, the bleed and pain will diminish.
What’s “Normal” and What’s NOT
Generally, a woman’s menstrual period – when her body sheds the uterus lining – lasts 7 days. Bleeding can be captured with pads or tampons.
Over the years, most people have relied on recommendations from friends and family when choosing a doctor or hospitals. With the rise of the Internet, easily and often accessed by health consumers, ratings and rankings boomed. To be an informed consumer, it’s good to understand what information each rating uses and how it is compiled. Here’s a brief overview.
Organizations compile their ratings with different information, from different sources with different formulas to make the data consumer-friendly. Here are the most common ways in which ratings are generated:
Medically reviewed by
Gary Ferguson, MD
As women age or have babies, many suffer urinary leakage or incontinence and feel that it’s a problem they “just have to live with.” But there is help for women with stress incontinence along with others who feel they have to go to the bathroom even when their bladder isn’t full (urge incontinence).
A woman’s uterus is held in place in her pelvis by muscles and ligaments. However, aging, menopause and pregnancy can weaken the support, allowing the uterus to drop into the vagina. This is prolapse.
“Symptoms of pelvic prolapse range from a low backache to painful sexual intercourse and frequent urination,” says McLeod Gynecologist Dr. Brad Campbell. “In the most severe cases, a woman’s organs can appear outside her vagina.”
Medically reviewed by Wallace Vaught, MD
“I gotta go. I gotta go! Oops. I didn’t make it.” It’s not funny. It’s a struggle that some 15 million American men and women struggle with everyday: urge incontinence – the sudden feeling of a need to urinate even if the bladder is not full. Even a rush to the nearest bathroom may not be fast enough to avoid urine leakage from their overactive bladder.
The waiting room air crackled with anxiety. Beth paged through an old Red Book magazine not really paying attention to the articles. Across the room, Rhonda checked her watch to see how long she’d been waiting. Both had the same thought: “Will I be able to get pregnant?”
Beth was diagnosed with fibroids, a tumor-like, non-cancerous growth in her uterus. Rhonda’s last visit confirmed that she had endometriosis, where the material that normally grows as a lining in the uterus, starts growing outside.
Not long ago, Brenda thought it was just part of being a woman. Not just her monthly period, but the pain and bleeding that bothered her throughout the month. Some days Brenda couldn’t work. She missed her daughter’s dance recital. Her constant need for a bathroom made her hesitate to go out with friends. And her pain took the romance out of sex with her husband.
Today, Brenda’s life is much better, since visiting her personal physician and learning three important facts: 1) Her problems are due to fibroids growing in her uterus, 2) they can be easily treated and 3) fibroids are benign, NOT cancerous.
Most women who undergo surgery for their urinary leakage see a significant improvement in their condition along with a reduction in the symptoms. The most common procedure for stress incontinence cures 70-90% of the women who choose this option.
“Every woman recovers at a different rate,” says McLeod Gynecologist Dr. Brad Campbell. “Your doctor will probably schedule an appointment following the surgery to review your recovery. In addition to improving your incontinence, other topics you may want to discuss are pain, fatigue and returning to work.”
Women have many questions when it comes to Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. Below are the most common questions and answers.
Q: What is a menstrual period?
A:When puberty begins, your brain signals your body to produce hormones. Some of these hormones prepare your body each month for a possible pregnancy. This is called the menstrual cycle. Hormones cause the lining of the uterus to become thicker with extra blood and tissue. One of your ovaries then releases an egg. This is called ovulation. The egg moves down one of the two fallopian tubes toward the uterus.
It was more than 2 decades ago that a surgical procedure to remove a woman’s uterus with small incisions was first introduced. Yet, in 2010 nearly 60% of the hysterectomy surgery in the US were still being performed with long incisions across a woman’s stomach. Although the traditional approach to hysterectomies can be medically required in some cases, most women are excellent candidates for the newer technique.
“The Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy (LSH) is a technical name for the procedure which involves making a small ¾” incision so that a wand-like implement to clip and remove the uterus,” says Dr. Charles Tatum of McLeod OB/GYN Associates.. “Compared to the traditional method, the LSH is described as minimally invasive and it has a quite a few benefits for the patient.”
Snickering aside, women should be grateful to Gynecologist Arnold Kegel. In the late 1940s, he developed an exercise for pelvic muscles that offers women huge benefits. Studies show that 70% of women with stress incontinence who use the Kegel exercise will see improvement. Beyond the leakage issue, Kegels can prepare a pregnant woman’s body for labor and improve your sex life.
“Before your doctor recommends surgery of some type, he or she is likely to suggest the Kegel exercise,” says Dr. Michael Davidson of Advanced Women’s Care. “Weak pelvic muscles are one cause of urine leakage among women. Like any other muscle in our body, exercise can strengthen the muscles and give you more control.”
Females experience stress incontinence (or urine leakage) when they cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise vigorously or, very commonly, simply by swinging a golf club. Urodynamic testing conducted in the doctor’s office is used to determine the type of incontinence.
Treatments include exercises (Kegels), bladder training or medication. When these treatments fail to solve the problem, bladder incontinence surgery is the next step.
Embarrassment for personal incontinence is understandable and can cause you to put off seeing a doctor. First, remember – you are not alone. One source says women wait an average of more than 6 years before finally seeking help for their incontinence. On the average only 10% of women who experience urinary incontinence will seek professional medical help.
“This is sad, because there are many treatment options available,” says McLeod Gynecologist, Dr. Gary Emerson. “We’re trained to deal with your problem professionally. Bladder control problems are a common issue. Fifty percent of women will experience urinary incontinence during their lifetime. Those numbers increase as women age with one in three by age 60 experiencing some type of bladder control problem. Urinary incontinence is not a disease of old age as women as young as 20 experience bladder control and leakage problems.”
“Pelvic relaxation may sound like something pleasant but that is definitely not the case,” says McLeod Gynecologist, Dr. John Browning. “The phrase is another way of describing pelvic organ prolapse – or the failure of a woman’s body to support the uterus. At its worst, the condition can result in a woman’s uterus, bladder, small bowel, and even the rectum protruding from her vagina and cervix. Thank goodness there are a number of ways to solve this problem.”
Causes. Multiple vaginal births, obesity, aging and high impact activities or chronic straining due to constipation are among the risk factors and causes for pelvic relaxation. Women as young as 20 can experience some of these conditions.
“’Pelvic Health’ is a new phrase used among professionals in women’s health,” says McLeod Gynecologist, Dr. Charles Tatum. “We know what it means, but to the layperson, the descriptor can be confusing or even misleading. To clarify, pelvic health refers to five areas of concern that affect more than 1 in 3 women.”
Pelvic Health includes:
As a women experiencing bladder leakage, the first thing you should know is: You are not alone.
“Urine or bladder leakage is a problem experienced by about half of adult women,” says McLeod Gynecologist, Dr. Brad Campbell. “Fifty percent of women will experience stress incontinence during their life time. One in three women over the age of 60 will experience some type of pelvic health problem. It’s unfortunate that embarrassment about this most personal of problems will keep many women from talking about the problem and enjoying an active lifestyle.”