“People think I’m being dramatic when in reality, my reaction is proportional to the pain I’m experiencing. At times I’m not able to even get out of bed.” This is just one respondent’s experience reported to a survey conducted by Alberta Women’s Health Foundation on pelvic floor dysfunction.
The experience is widespread: pelvic floor conditions affect about a quarter of all women. As the respondent indicates, these disorders are often chalked up to being a normal part of life.
Women are made to feel stigmatized by these conditions—discouraged from seeking care, which usually results in the worsening of the conditions.
This is even more unfortunate knowing that 90% of incontinence cases in aging women can be improved with exercise, and 70% with physiotherapy.
It is thus of the utmost importance that stigmas are erased. WHCC strives to do this by raising awareness about pelvic floor dysfunction and having honest conversations about signs, and symptoms, and treatment.
Pioneering research in the field of pelvic floor dysfunction is being conducted at each of our WHCC-affiliated hospitals to ultimately help women living with pelvic floor issues and pain, and alleviate the shame society places on these kinds of health problems.
We recently met with some of these researchers to learn more about what they do and how they help.
Dr. Erin Kelly is a Urogynecologist at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, in Edmonton, Alberta. She is also a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Fellowship Program Director for the Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery program, at the University of Alberta. Dr. Kelly’s research interests include chronic pelvic pain management, surgery for pelvic floor disorders, patient education and quality improvement.
Olivia Drodge is a physiotherapist at Women’s College Hospital. She treats a wide range of patients with varying pelvic and/or widespread pain or post-operative conditions. Olivia is passionate about providing client’s the highest quality of care in aims to help improve their overall physical and emotional well-being. She aims “to provide as much education for clients for them to gain a stronger understanding of their pain condition, as well as ways they can manage their symptoms and feel more empowered doing so in our individual and/or group sessions.” She also works with the Trans Related Surgeries Program and work with patients pre/post operatively for ongoing treatment and support.
Dr. Catherine Allaire is the Medical Director of the BC Women’s Centre for Pelvic Pain & Endometriosis. A gynecologist, Dr. Allaire specializes in endometriosis, pelvic pain, surgical education, and minimally invasive surgical techniques (MIS).