What is a Pelvic Health Nurse Navigator?
Pelvic floor dysfunction is the inability to control the muscles in your pelvic floor, which include the bladder, rectum and uterus or prostate. While pelvic floor dysfunction is common, people are not eager to discuss something so personal. It can be hard to know where to start. Once a patient has decided to pursue treatment, it’s my job as a nurse navigator to make that process as easy as possible.
Pelvic Floor Disorders
One in three women will experience a pelvic floor health disorder in her lifetime. Pelvic floor health disorders are more common than some types of women’s cancer, and we want women to know that they do not need to suffer alone. Pelvic floor disorders include:
- Urinary leakage - Approximately 1 out of 3 women over the age of 45 and 1 out of every 2 women over 65 have sudden urinary incontinence. Some women may leak urine with common activities such as sneezing, laughing and coughing. This is known as stress incontinence.
- Pelvic organ prolapse - Pelvic organ prolapse is the descent or "drooping" of the pelvic organs. A woman may feel like everything is "falling out.” This could be the uterus, front or back vaginal walls or the top of the vagina after a hysterectomy.
- Overactive bladder – Overactive bladder occurs when a woman feels a sudden “gotta go, gotta go” feeling. Often, she is not able to make it to the bathroom on time.
- Fecal incontinence - Fecal incontinence (also called defecatory disorder) can range from an occasional loss of gas to a complete loss of bowel control. This condition can be caused by aging, vaginal childbirth, diet and other factors. While it can be embarrassing and isolating, there are solutions.
What is a Nurse Navigator?
Nurse navigators guide the patient through each part of treatment, connecting them with the support and resources they need. As a pelvic floor nurse navigator, I act as a patient’s personal pelvic health concierge. My work includes everything from educating someone about pelvic health during that very first call for an appointment to working with insurance companies and medication coverage to coaching patients on lifestyle modifications.
Why Pelvic Health?
I have a passion for urologic and pelvic conditions that people are often reluctant to address. One thing I hear often is “This may sound weird,” especially the first time someone calls to seek treatment. I hear how relieved patients sound when they learn that not only are pelvic floor disorders common but that they’ve come to the right place for treatment. I love being able to help guide patients through treatment to better pelvic health.
At Ochsner, we offer a wide range of treatment options for pelvic health disorders ranging from lifestyle changes and medication to innovative procedures and robotic surgery. Our team offers a multidisciplinary approach to pelvic health care that is unique to our region. To make an appointment with our team of specialists, call 504-703-9601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and RN Amy Cox will help guide you.