Additionally, gynecologists assess women’s breast health, often encouraging mammograms and other breast imaging that can uncover benign breast conditions or breast cancer. “We really look at women’s health holistically and encourage them to pay close attention to their reproductive health and its impact on their overall health,” Dr. Burroughs said. “Often, through our conversations with our patients, we can pinpoint other health problems that may need addressing.” Pelvic Floor Health One area in which gynecologists often find problems during regular checkups is the pelvic f loor. Pelvic f loor disorders, which include overactive bladder, sexual dysfunction, urinary and fecal incontinence (leaking), pelvic pain and prolapse (dropping) of organs located in the pelvis, affect roughly 25 percent of U.S. women, according to the National Institutes of Health. Many times, these problems go unreported because women are too embarrassed to discuss their symptoms with their primary physician or gynecologist. Memorial Hermann Sugar Land’s Pelvic Health Program makes it easy for patients to get comprehensive treatment for these conditions close to home with a multidisciplinary team of urogynecologists, urologists, gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons and pelvic f loor physical therapists. Urogynecologist Nina Dereska, MD, FPMRS, an assistant professor at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston and director for the Pelvic Health Program at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land, cares for women off all ages with pelvic f loor disorders. Though many pelvic f loor issues are more common after childbearing or menopause, several conditions, including recurrent bladder infections, interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome and overactive bladder, are common in young women. Treatments are available for nearly every pelvic f loor condition, Dr. Dereska says, and many do not involve surgery. Overactive bladder, for example, can be managed with behavioral therapy, over-the-counter and prescriptionmedications, acupuncture and Botox® injections. If surgery is necessary, minimally invasive treatments include urethral injections, single-incision slings for urinary stress incontinence, vaginal surgery and laparoscopic or robot-assisted surgery for pelvic organ prolapse. Minimally invasive surgery typically provides a quicker recovery with smaller incisions, decreased blood loss and a shorter hospital stay.
“Quality of life if so important and addressing pelvic f loor concerns can improve confidence and overall wellbeing,” Dr. Dereska said. Weight Management and Wellness Body weight and weight management play another key role in women’s health. Many women struggle with trying to reach and maintain a healthy weight, often after childbirth or during menopause. They can feel helpless, starting a cycle of unhealthy behaviors that often leads to more weight gain. For women who are overweight, defined by a body mass index, or BMI, of 25 to 29, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical weight management that is overseen by a nutritionist or physician can help improve eating habits and encourage lifestyle changes. But for women who are considered morbidly obese, with a BMI of 35 or more along with another health condition, or with a BMI of 40 or more without another health condition, weight-loss surgery may be necessary to prevent serious complications. “People who are significantly overweight are at a higher risk for various health problems, including heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, sleep apnea, mental health struggles, certain types of cancers and COVID-19,” said Melissa Felinski, DO, a bariatric surgeon who serves as an assistant professor of surgery at McGovern Medical School and is the assistant program director of the Advanced Gastrointestinal/Minimally Invasive, Bariatric and Robotic Surgery Fellowship program at UTHealth Houston. Affiliated withMemorial Hermann Sugar Land and its comprehensive surgical weight loss program, NewStart™, Dr. Felinski says that obesity is attributed to a person’s biology, individual genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors, as well as hormones. Because of that complexity, she says, only a small percentage of people can successfully lose a large amount of weight and keep it off with diet and exercise alone. “Our program at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land offers bariatric surgery, along with support to help sustain long-termweight loss,” she said. The importance of women’s health is recognized throughout the year byMemorial Hermann Sugar Land. That’s why the hospital offers key services to help women in the Fort Bend area reach and maintain their optimal health.
Learn more at memorialhermann.org/fortbendfamilies
Advancing health. Personalizing care.
SUGAR LAND - MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2022
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