Novant Health opened a comprehensive pelvic health clinic in Winston-Salem this week. It's one of only a few in the state that offers a wide range of treatment and conducts research on organ prolapse and incontinence.
Many people believe these problems are just side effects of getting old or having a baby, but Novant Obstetrician and Gynecologist Douglas Miyazaki said there are treatments for these problems even if they uncomfortable to talk about.
"It's a very common problem, and you shouldn't be embarrassed about it," Miyazaki said. "We can actually help a great deal. And if we catch things early, a lot of times we can really get significant improvement without any surgical intervention at all."
Miyazaki said many gynecology departments offer some pelvic health care. But Novant's Pelvic Health Center is one of just a few in the state that offers urogynecological, colorectal, and post-partum specialists as well as pelvic physical therapists.
He said one-in-three women over the age of 45 deals with urinary incontinence and one-in-three women deal with prolapse. And, as the U.S. population over 65 prepares to double in a few decades, Miyazaki said the clinic couldn't open too soon.
"We're looking at a huge public need in the future going forward, so having centers like ours dedicated to treating these problems and establishing a higher standard of care is extremely important," he said.
Miyazaki acknowledged that research is lacking in the pelvic health field. He said he and his colleagues will also conduct research on several conditions and treatments to improve general knowledge moving forward.