Most of the problems treated here are ones your grandmother never would have talked about: leaky bladder, pain during intercourse, interstitial cystitis, vaginal discomfort, difficulty with orgasm — the whole range of bladder, bowel and sexual organ woes in what was euphemistically known as “down there.” The Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute, founded by urologist Kristene Whitmore, offers a full menu of treatments: surgical interventions, acupuncture, physical and massage therapy, hypnotherapy, herbal remedies, yoga, nerve blocks, bladder training and a host of others, all administered by experienced urologists, nurse practitioners and sexual medicine specialists. The staff also works in conjunction with the Council for Relationships to solve sexual function issues, which are far more common than most people think. For many women who’ve thought they were beyond help, this place has been a godsend. (207 North Broad Street, 4th Floor, 215-863-8100, pelvicandsexualhealthinstitute.org).
When you consider that the three-year-old Urogynecology and Pelvic Floor Disorders division at Crozer-Chester has treated 1,500 to 2,000 women since its inception, you get a sense of the breadth of pelvic-floor disorders, which go far beyond getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. While many conditions are corrected with surgery, this center also provides noninvasive solutions, like behavior modification, exercises and medications, to make life more comfortable (Vivacqua Pavilion, 1 Medical Center Boulevard, Suite 240, Upland, 610-619-8510, crozer.org/ckhs/people/women/urogynecology).
The Drexel Vaginitis Center is one of only 20 such centers nationwide, and patients come from as far away as California and the Caribbean for treatment of agonizing vaginal itching, burning and pain. Paul Nyirjesy, an ob-gyn who completed a fellowship in infectious disease, can often help them by treating a condition known as vulvodynia, an extreme hypersensitivity to touch at the mouth of the vagina that can ruin marriages. While one might think such conditions are rare, Nyirjesy sees about 500 new patients a year. (216 North Broad Street, 215-762-3600, drexelmed.edu).