Top Myths and Misconceptions about Urogynecology with Dr. Heidi Wittenberg

dreamstime_s_54078553Dr. Wittenberg recently discussed some of the top myths and misconceptions surrounding urogynecology today. Many of these myths are deeply rooted in long-held beliefs about the female body, what it means to be a woman, and even modern concerns like the difficultly of diagnosing endometriosis.

We encourage patients to read through Dr. Wittenberg’s comments below and reach out to UGCSF with any of your own questions or concerns about urogynecology.

Female anatomy

Women are frequently unaware of just how close their bladder/urethra and rectum are to their vagina, cervix and uterus.

Is there a test for endometriosis?

The only way to really test for endometriosis is to visualize it and resect the implant. This implant will be sent to pathology. Since treatment for endometriosis and the pain associated with the condition is due to hormones, it is standard to treat presumptively with oral contraceptives since surgery and diagnosis will often not change how endometriosis is treated.

Is adenomyosis serious?  

No, it is benign. Adenomyosis is only a problem if there is painful cramping or heavy bleeding present.

What happens during uterine prolapse?

Uterine prolapse does not automatically mean that surgery is needed. As we age, we develop a small amount of prolapse (stage 2), and this is considered within normal limits. However, no matter what degree of prolapse is present, if it’s asymptomatic, treatment is not required. If symptoms are present, then your options include pelvic floor therapy, pessary supports, or possibly surgery.

Why is “hysterectomy” such an emotionally charged word?

Dr. Wittenberg chooses to refer to the procedure as removing the “offending organ” as opposed to having a hysterectomy. This helps remove the connotation of the word and can ease patient stress. Women who are possible candidates for the procedure are able to discuss it without being as caught up in an emotional reaction that can cause unease.