Why is bone health important for women?
"Bone mineral density formation peaks in women in their 20's," Dr. Donnelly says. "After age 35, bone density progressively declines. Women are at a higher risk than men for bone loss, which accelerates once a women goes through menopause, placing them at risk for osteoporosis and fractures. Fractures can significantly impact a woman's functionality, long-term health, and ability to live independently. Even small fractures can start a downward spiral in physical and mental health. Talk to your doctor about ways to prevent bone loss and how to screen for osteoporosis."
What is pelvic organ prolapse?
"The female pelvic organs - the uterus, vagina, cervix, bladder and rectum - are supported by the pelvic floor," Dr. Donnelly explains. "This support system can become weakened or torn, allowing descent of the organs."
How do I know if I have pelvis organ prolapse?
"The degree of descent can be very minimal or quiet severe," Dr. Donnelly says. "Some women may feel pressure, a bulge in the vaginal area, back pain, urinary incontinence, difficulty having a bowel movement or issues with intercourse. A pelvic exam by your doctor can help assess your symptoms and determine the severity of the prolapse."
I have urinary incontinence, what can my doctor do to help this?
"Women tend to be hesitant to discuss this issue with their providers but not all urinary incontinence is the same," Dr. Donnelly says. "It can be very tolerable for some women while for others it can be incapacitating."
"Some incontinence, 'stress incontinence' occurs when a woman laughs, coughs, exercises, stands up, etc.," she says. "This is caused by a weakening of the support system of the bladder."
"Another form of urinary incontinence, 'urge incontinence' is caused by an overactive bladder muscle that contracts too frequently," Dr. Donnelly says. "Women may have urge, stress or a mix of the two."
"Lastly there is incontinence caused by overflow from the bladder," Dr. Donnelly explains. "Infections of the bladder and certain medications can also cause incontinence."
"Your doctor can do a physical exam and possibly other tests that determine when and how your incontinence occurs. Based on these findings, treatment options such as bladder training, physical therapy, surgery, lifestyle modifications and medications can be recommended."