The Pelvic Wizard Meets Oz

By Riva Preil

Mark your calendars and your Tivo, because Beyond Basics’ very own Amy Stein will be featured the Dr. Oz Show this coming Tuesday (4:00 PM, on Fox 5)!  After the eye opening article in Prevention last month, pelvic floor dysfunction has been on more people’s minds…including the researchers at the Dr. Oz Show.

The researchers were impressed by the article, and they contacted Amy to learn more about pelvic pain.  Amy educated them through phone calls and emails, and she shared her book and new DVD with them. They realized that Amy had a lot to offer, and wanted her to share her knowledge with the general public. She was invited to be interviewed for the show.   


On Tuesday, April 29, the episode that was filmed on April 22 will be aired.  Amy says the experience was like a whirlwind.  After being chauffeured to the station courtesy of a car service, Amy went straight to get her hair and makeup done.  Shortly thereafter, Amy was brought onto the set where she met with Dr. Oz. Dr. Oz opened the conversation with a great presentation regarding the size of the pelvic floor, and he polled the audience by asking, “Do you think the pelvic floor is the size of a A. Nutbowl? B. Cereal bowl? C. Salad bowl?”  Almost everyone was surprised by the answer…as you will probably be when you watch the show on Tuesday!  He also did a fun, interactive presentation of the pelvic floor which included muscles, nerves, and organs.

Amy was allotted a very brief time to discuss symptoms and causes of pelvic pain, and was also given the opportunity to show one of the many stretches that are typically prescribed as part of the home program.  She was able to add additional information on Dr. Oz’s website, that will be posted after the show.

According to Amy, “It was quite an experience and a step in the right direction towards educating the public about pelvic pain. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to discuss this important topic with such a large audience, but I still feel like there is a long way to go.  Getting the word out there is tremendously valuable. My endorphins rush at the thought of Dr. Oz presenting on pelvic pain, even if just for a few minutes!”  May this be the beginning of a lengthy, important, and long overdue conversation with the medical community.

Dr. Robert Echenberg Discusses PGAD on The Pelvic Messenger!

Interested in learning more about PGAD (Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder)?

Although PGAD in women is uncommon, Dr. Robert Echenberg will discuss on The Pelvic Messenger (April 24th, 3pm PST, 6pm EST) why PGAD is a sub-set of a much larger and quite prevalent group of disorders that together are called “chronic pelvic pain” (CPP) or “Complex Abdominal Pelvic Pain Syndrome” (CAPPS).

Dr. Robert Echenberg is the founder of “The Institute For Women in Pain” in Bethlehem, PA, a non-surgical multi-disciplinary practice specializing in assessment, diagnosis and treatment of chronic pelvic pain (CPP).  Dr. Echenberg is the author of the book, “Women’s Health, Pelvic Pain and Sexual Wellness.” He is also a member of the Alliance for Pelvic Pain along with Amy.


A New Vagina?

By Riva Preil

Illustration by Ly Ngo, courtesy of Refinery 29
Illustration by Ly Ngo, courtesy of Refinery 29

On rare occasion, I have heard patients comment (half-jokingly yet half seriously), “I wish I could just trade on my painful vagina for a new one.” Generally speaking, I do NOT promote that concept; instead, I promote pelvic floor physical therapy as a means to treat musculoskeletal related vaginal and vulvar pain.

However, on rare occasions, more aggressive measures may be indicated. For example, an individual suffering from neuroproliferative vestibulodynia (increased sensitivity and pain in the vestibule due to increased number of nerve endings, a congenital condition) may be an appropriate candidate for a vestibulectomy, a procedure that involves removal of portions of the painful tissue.

Recent stem cell research in North Carolina, as reported by this article in Refinery 29, provides promising results that may be transferable to pelvic pain. The study involves growing vaginal tissue which developed into functioning vaginal canals. The tissue was then implanted into the four study participants, all of whom presented with vaginal aplasia (incomplete development of the vagina in utero).

All participants were able to participate in intercourse after the implantation, and the two participants whose procedure involved connections to the uterus will hopefully be fertile.

This research is very exciting for the pelvic floor community, and the potential benefits that it may provide patients with chronic pelvic pain are aplenty. Could a similar procedure be developed for women with vestibulodynia?  Only time (and further research) will tell…

What Version is Your Urine?

By Riva Preil

There are many wonderful aspects to being a pelvic floor physical therapist.  One of the many enjoyable parts of my job is that it affords me the opportunity to converse about matters that others would not routinely discuss.  For example, it is completely normal, expected, and professionally appropriate for me to discuss urinary patterns and habits.  Other health care providers, including urologists, are in the same proverbial boat.

One urologist, Dr. Leslie Spry, M.D., FACP, recently wrote a wonderful article that appeared in the Huffington Post on April 10, 2014, entitled “Five Key Health Insights Your Urine Can Offer.”  In this article, Dr. Spry explains the function of the kidneys is to filter “the bad” (i.e. toxins and waste) from “the good” (i.e. the bloodstream).  Of the 200 liters that pass through the kidneys on a daily basis, approximately 2 liters pass through the excretory system (from the kidneys, through the ureters, into the bladder, finally exiting the body through the urethra).

Dr. Spry further describes how valuable information can be gleaned from the appearance of one’s urine.  He encourages readers to investigate their urine prior to flushing.  Several key points of his article include:

  • Urine concentration reflects hydration levels.  The clearer the urine, the better!
  • Color and scent of urine can provide valuable information regarding kidney health.  An occasional pink shade of urine may simply be the result food dyes (ex. beets) or certain medications, but it may reflect something more.  Therefore, if one notices a color or odor in their urine that is atypical for several days, further medical investigation is warranted.
  • Increased bubble production in urine may indicate excessive protein in the urine, which is an early sign of kidney damage.
  • Increased urinary frequency may be associated with diabetes.
  • Increased urinary urgency may be associated with an infection (ex. urinary tract infection).  These three findings deserve further medical attention as well.

Urinary frequency and urgency may also be the result of pelvic floor muscle tightness. Physical therapy has been proven effective at treating muscular related urinary dysfunction.  We here at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy are trained and skilled in the treatment of musculoskeletal related pelvic floor dysfunction.  If you or someone you know can benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy please contact us- we would be happy to help!

P.S. A special thank you to my wonderful blog reader who brought this article to my attention.  I appreciate and warmly welcome interesting articles that you discover.  Please feel free to share them with me at: Thank you!

Alcohol Awareness in April

By Riva Preil

Did you know that April is Alcohol Awareness Month?  The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) encourages Americans to spend time this month reviewing the potentially adverse effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

According to the NIAAA, approximately 18 million Americans have an alcohol use disorder. In 2006, alcohol related problems cost our country $224 billion in lost productivity, health care costs, and property damage costs. Only 15% of individuals with alcohol consumption problems seek professional help.

Addressing alcohol related problems is health beneficial for many reasons. Decreased alcohol consumption decreases risk of injury, heart and kidney disease, depression, anxiety, stroke, sexually transmitted infections, and several kinds of cancer.

For more information about appropriate drinking habits and self-evaluation tools, please refer to the following links courtesy of the NIAAA:

So raise your glass…to drinking in the best of health!  

Getting to Know You, Part II

By Riva Preil

Their beautiful faces greet you in the office and their lovely voices answer your questions on the phone. And NOW, you will have the opportunity to be introduced in more detail to our amazing administrative staff! Please enjoy the following series of interviews with the wonderful women who help Beyond Basics Physical Therapy run as smoothly as it does. Meet…Yarisa Rivas!

1. How did you become part of the Beyond Basics Physical Therapy (BBPT) Family?

I first discovered BBPT through an advertisement on I submitted my resume, and then Karen called me to come for an interview. When we interviewed together, it was love at first sight! From the very first moment that I walked through the door, I loved it here- it seemed like a wonderful place to work, and I was excited when she called me back two weeks later for a second interview with Amy Stein. Fortunately, Amy and I hit it off as well, and I was thrilled when I was hired!

2. What is your favorite part of the job?
Working with Karen Medina! Karen and I have so much fun together, and we genuinely enjoy what we do. That is why the work is easy, and we make a great team! It is truly a blessing to enjoy one’s job as much as I do. Rumor has it that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. Fortunately, I can relate to that sentiment very well.

3. What is the funniest/best story that has happened to you while working at BBPT?
I think that our office outings make for the funniest and best stories – I always look forward to them! It is so nice that Amy treats us to quarterly outings where all of us have the opportunity to bond and enjoy each other’s company outside of the office. Our most recent outing was to a special holiday outing- SPA DAY!

4. What do you enjoy doing for fun?
I love to shop- in fact I’m a shopaholic! My weekly trips to Target are a MUST, it is my oxygen. I especially love holiday shopping, but somehow I always manage to leave the store with many more items than were actually on my shopping list 😉

Thank you, Yarisa, for always being so helpful and wonderful. WE LOVE YOU!

Amy is in Prevention Magazine this month!

We’re excited to share that Amy and her pelvic health expertise are featured in none other than Prevention Magazine this month! The article, written by Sari Harrar, is titled ” The Pain Down There” and appears beginning on page 104 of Prevention’s April issue. It features insightful advice and information for those suffering from pelvic pain. Check it out below!

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