Athena treats common pelvic complaints that occur in girls aged 10-19 years of age in a safe, comfortable environment.
Our Adolescent Program was founded by Dr. Mia Swartz in order to address the unmet needs of this forgotten population. As if the adolescent years are not hard enough, issues of incontinence, voiding dysfunction, pelvic pain, painful sex and constipation affect some younger girls just as much as adult women.
Unfortunately, adolescent girls are even less likely than adult women to discuss problems of such a personal nature and their access to care is limited.
Dr. Swartz began this program in part because many of her patients would tell her about how the pelvic issues they have as an adult started in childhood. There are many treatments available and we are dedicated to making those treatments available for young girls. We treat a variety of symptoms which include incontinence (all types), incomplete bladder emptying, urinary frequency, bedwetting, urgency, burning with urination in the absence of UTIs, pain with intercourse/sexual activity, pain with tampon placement, constipation and fecal incontinence in adolescent girls (age 10-19 years).
There is no reason to delay proper care of a urinary issue based on a girl’s age. In fact, early treatment of pelvic floor disorders and symptoms in young girls may prevent worsened urinary issues as they age.
What to Expect
At intake a thorough urinary, sexual and bowel habit history is taken and a physical exam is performed which includes a limited pelvic exam tailored to each patient depending on prior sexual activity. We often will wait until the second visit for the limited pelvic exam depending on each girl’s comfort level.
The initial treatment plan will be conservative and begin with pelvic floor rehabilitation using the skilled physical therapy expertise of Rebekah Ley and Carrie Sieber who have helped to build this program. They have taken their extensive expertise treating adult women with pelvic floor issues and made these treatments available to younger girls.
We have had great treatment success with simple, holistic treatment plans utilizing PT and behavioral modification alone. If the conservative initial treatment approach is not successful, then other procedural modalities such as bladder Botox injections, InterStim placement and urethral bulking agents are several options that can be considered.
While any of the adult incontinence treatments are considered “off label” for pediatric use, they can be offered as therapeutic options in this population with proper informed consent and review of the risks and benefits. We believe it is important to offer these potentially curative treatments to young girls that are suffering from embarrassment, social isolation and depression that can occur with urinary problems. The bottom line is that we aim to make curative treatment modalities that are readily available for adult women available to the adolescent population.
- Bladder Botox Injections
The use of Botox in urology has recently been approved by the FDA and many studies have found it’s useful potential in relieving a variety of lower urinary tract dysfunctions including multiple sclerosis, stroke, overactive bladder, interstitial cystitis, and spinal cord injury when conventional treatments have failed.
- Pelvic Floor Muscle Rehabilitation (PFMR)
The goal of PFMR is to teach you how to contract the pelvic floor muscles to strengthen them and in turn alleviate associated symptoms. This helps reset the nerves and muscles governing bowel and bladder function to give you better control. For...
- Urethral bulking agent
Urethral bulking is a technique to thicken the lining of the urethra and narrow the inner diameter to prevent urinary leakage from stress urinary incontinence.