What You Need to Know About Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

THE WOMAN, A LAWYER IN her 30s, was desperate when she went to New York City-based physical therapist Isa Herrera. The patient, Nancy (U.S. News is not identifying the woman by her real or full name to protect her privacy) was suffering from terrible pelvic pain while sitting and when she had sexual intercourse – and her wedding was a few months away.

Nancy’s doctor had given her injections of the numbing agent lidocaine in her pelvis. Nancy had also applied lidocaine on the labia of her vagina. On the advice of her doctor, the woman was on eight medications, including OxyContin, the powerful opioid painkiller. But the prescription drugmade her constipated and didn’t relieve her pain, Herrera says.

Nancy is suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction, a group of conditions, also known as pelvic floor disorders, that affect the pelvic floor, says Dr. R. Mark Ellerkmann, director of urogynecology, Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. (A urogynecologist is an obstetrician-gynecologist who’s completed specialized training in treating women with pelvic floor disorders.) About 25 percent of women age 20 or older suffer with a pelvic floor disorder or disorders, he says. The ratio of women who suffer from a pelvic floor disorder goes up with age. For example, about 40 percent of women between ages 40 and 50 have pelvic floor dysfunction, and the figure rises to more than 50 percent for women age 60 and above, says Dr. Felicia L. Lane, division director of the female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery fellowship program and vice chair, department of obstetrics and gynecology at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, California. Men suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction at a lower rate, experts say.

Full story at US Health News

An opioid remedy that works: Treat pain and addiction at the same time

Seven years ago, Robert Kerley, who makes his living as a truck driver, was loading drywall when a gust of wind knocked him off the trailer. Kerley fell 14 feet and hurt his back.

For pain, a series of doctors prescribed him a variety of opioids: Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin.

In less than a year, the 45-year-old from Federal Heights, Colo., said he was hooked. “I spent most of my time high, laying on the couch, not doing nothing, falling asleep everywhere,” he said.

Full story at Science Daily

New Reports Underscore the Severity of the Opioid Epidemic

In what’s becoming a grim and all-too-familiar pattern, new reports and studies continue to point to alarming trends in the use and abuse of opioids across the US. Combined, they create a picture of a country in the throes of an epidemic that reaches all societal levels, with laws that do little to curb the rise in abuse, and a federal drug regulatory agency that has “opened the gate wide” for the overproduction of prescription opioids.

Here’s a rundown of a few of the studies and reports that surfaced recently:

Nearly 1 in 3 Medicare beneficiaries received an opioid prescription in 2015.
A report from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that 12 million Medicare beneficiaries—about 30%—received a prescription for a commonly abused opioid in 2015, at a cost of over $4 billion in Medicare part D spending. The 4% increase over 2014 rates represents a very modest slowdown from 2013, but the long-range trend shows a 165% increase from 2006. Each Medicare beneficiary who was prescribed a commonly abused opioid received an average of 5 prescriptions a year. The opioids with the highest part D spending were OxyContin, hydrocodone-acetaminophin, oxycodone-acetaminophin, and fentanyl.

Full story of the use and abuse of opioids across the US at APTA