“Twenty-five percent of women report one or more pelvic floor disorders,” stated Dr. Katelyn Smithling, Baystate Health urogynecology specialist. Dr. Smithling specializes in treating women with urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
Bertha Pease, a patient of Dr. Smithling, says her everyday life has improved thanks to Dr. Smithling and the surgery she had at Baystate Noble Hospital. “I had my surgery in the fall with Dr. Smithling after years of being uncomfortable. I can’t say enough nice things about her, she’s truly a sweetheart,” shared Bertha.
What is pelvic organ prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse happens when the muscles and tissues supporting the pelvic organs (the uterus, bladder, or rectum) become weak or loose. Weakened muscles cause one or more of the pelvic organs to drop or press into or out of the vagina.
The most common causes of prolapse are vaginal childbirth, multiple vaginal childbirths, obesity (which creates pressure on the abdomen), constant coughing or straining, birthing a baby more than 8.5 pounds, and aging. Thirty-seven percent of women with pelvic floor disorders are 60-79 years of age and about half are 80 or older. For women, hormonal changes and the loss of estrogen can also raise the risk for pelvic organ prolapse.
Many women are embarrassed to talk about their symptoms or think that their symptoms are not normal. Dr. Smithling emphasizes that there is no need to be embarrassed, and that help is available:
“I specialize in treating women with these disorders. There are surgical and nonsurgical treatment options.”
Help is available
Bertha wants women going through issues like hers to know that they don’t have to shy away from treatment and that help is available. “I feel great, I have had no troubles at all,” she shared.
Bertha went onto explain that she was not only grateful to Dr. Smithling but also very grateful to be able to receive care close to home.
“The advanced level of care here is important. I live in Blandford and it was important to me not to be far from home,” shared Bertha. “Baystate Noble is a very important piece to our community. My husband and I feel lucky to be able to access care close to our home.”
Treatment made daily things easy again
Life has changed a lot for Bertha, however not in monumental ways. She explains, “I am so much more comfortable and am able to do and enjoy the simple things in life again, like grocery shopping, running errands or getting my hair done. It sounds funny, however when you’re so uncomfortable, the little, daily things become large challenges. So I am thankful to Dr. Smithling and Baystate Noble for taking great care of me.”