Women’s Incontinence & Sexual Health (WISH) Program
Certain health concerns in a woman’s life can be difficult to discuss with others – even with her physician. These concerns include urinary or fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and sexual health issues. In addition to causing discomfort, inconvenience and sometimes pain, these health problems often cause embarrassment.
Some women choose to live with these problems rather than seek help. It is important to know these issues are common and, in most cases, very treatable. The Women’s Incontinence and Sexual Health Program specializes in diagnosing and treating a wide range of pelvic disorders and sexual health issues. A multidisciplinary team of experienced Medical College of Wisconsin physician specialists understand the personal nature of these conditions and provide confidential, compassionate and individualized care.
The Women’s Incontinence and Sexual Health Program treats the whole woman – body and mind. The program is unique in Wisconsin in the expertise of its staff and in the scope of services offered.
Prevalence of Pelvic Disorders
Incontinence (an involuntary leakage of urine or feces) and pelvic organ prolapse (a disorder in which the uterus, vagina, rectum and bladder drop) are common in women. These conditions often coexist.
About 30 percent of American women suffer from urinary incontinence and 5 percent suffer from fecal incontinence at some point in their lives. Women are twice as likely as men to develop urinary incontinence. Incontinence can cause unnecessary stress, embarrassment and social isolation. There are many ways to treat or manage it, including medication, physical therapy, behavior modification, surgical options and special exercises.
It is believed that a third of all women or more experience pelvic organ prolapse, which can affect quality of life. Many surgical and non-surgical treatments are available today to treat this and other pelvic floor disorders.
Prevalence of Women’s Sexual Health Issues
Between 25 percent and 50 percent of women experience a range of sexual health issues, including low libido and painful intercourse during their lives. Sexual difficulties may begin early or later in a woman’s life and can develop suddenly or gradually. The causes may be physical, psychological or both. Fortunately, most sexual health issues are treatable.
Program Designed for Women’s Needs
We asked women what is important to them when receiving care for incontinence, pelvic health problems and sexual health issues. They told us:
- Privacy is very important.
- They want assistance in coordinating their care with the right physician specialist based on their needs.
- They want more educational materials on women’s health issues and treatment options.
- They prefer a comfortable treatment environment.
- They prefer to receive the care they need in one place.
The Women’s Incontinence and Sexual Health Program was designed with all of these things in mind. All services are provided in the Urology Center, in a separate clinic that has a discreet entrance and a separate waiting room. When patients need to use a restroom during an exam, a bathroom attached to each exam room offers convenience and privacy. If a woman has more than one concern, team physicians refer patients to other team members within the clinic to ensure all health problems are addressed.
The program coordinator (a registered nurse) provides women with information on a variety of health issues before their first clinic appointment. Patients are active participants in decision-making about their treatment, and a personalized care plan is created to meet each woman’s needs. Team members fully explain each problem or disease and treatment options and help patients make educated choices for their care.
Learn more about the Women’s Incontinence & Sexual Health (WISH) Program on the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin website.