Women’s Health is Key Topic at Sentara

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

By Helena Tavares Kennedy

Women’s health is top of mind at Sentara Healthcare. We spoke with Dr. Alok Desai, a physician at Potomac Urology and Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, about the latest developments to help women with some seemingly minor issues that can have major impact on quality of life.

While seems to be taboo to talk about some of these, Dr. Desai said that a majority of women – about 60% – have one or more of these issues:

  1. Incontinence (involuntary loss of urine)
  2. Pelvic organ prolapse (bulging of pelvic organs through or into the vagina)
  3. Pelvic pain or painful intercourse

Dr. Desai has been practicing urogynecology and female urology for over 10 years. Urogynecology focuses on structural changes in the female pelvis that can lead to things like incontinence, prolapse and painful intercourse. In fact, he was the first physician in Northern Virginia to be dual board certified in both urology and urogynecology.

“I treat women in their early 20s all the way to their 90s,” said Desai. “The good news is this field has really developed with combining urology and gynecology into female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. This has the potential to help many women who deal with quality of life issues from incontinence after having children or as they age, recurring urinary tract infections, vaginal prolapse, or sexual dysfunction.

“If it affects your quality of life, you should go see an urogynecologic specialist and get it checked out because there are some basic treatments that can help,” said Desai. “Sure, I’m a surgeon, but we try minimal, non-invasive things first, like pelvic floor physical therapy or medications. Only 20% of my patients require surgical treatment for the problems.”

Desai said that incontinence can sometimes be alleviated with medications or a simple 10-15 minute outpatient surgical procedure, depending on the situations in which the incontinence occurs. Vaginal prolapse surgeries are now done laparoscopically using a robot to assist, which reduces recovery times significantly. The procedures allow women to get back to their life quickly. Desai also said that there are several unique treatments coming to market in each of these categories to help women.

Women should not hesitate to take care of themselves, said Desai. “If a man had to go through these issues, they’d be in to see the doctor right away. Women need to stop putting themselves on the back burner and stop suffering silently.”

The key is that women take action, not be afraid to talk about these issues with their doctor, and work on their health now so they can get their quality of life back to what it used to be.

Sentara is a progressive and integrated healthcare organization with various locations in Prince William County. They are dedicated to providing leading medical experts, advanced technology and continuous innovation to improve health every day. To find a doctor, call 1-800-Sentara or visit sentara.com.


Helena Tavares Kennedy (hkennedy@princewilliamliving.com) is a Contributing Writer for Prince William Living.


Comments are closed.