FREE Pelvic Health 101 Classes at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy: Come Learn With Us!

By Fiona McMahon, DPT

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It’s that time of year again, the leaves are thinking about changing colors, kids are sporting brand new book bags and returning to school, and we at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy are gearing up and getting ready to start up our hugely successful Pelvic Health 101(PH101) classes for the fall, as well! We couldn’t be more excited!

This Pelvic Health 101 Course is the third in our series of PH101 courses. Our courses will cover a variety of topics from male and female sexuality, bowel and bladder health, nutrition, as well as complimentary medicine for pelvic floor dysfunction. In this blog we will sit down with one of Beyond Basics’ Physical Therapists, and the creative force behind our Pelvic Health 101 Classes, Stephanie Stamas, to get more information on this wonderful resource.

FM: Why did you begin PH101?

SS: I began the Pelvic Health 101 seminar series last fall out of a desire to help educate more people. There are a lot of people out there who have consistently been told there is nothing wrong with them, it is all in their head or they should just get over it. I wanted to put together an educational series that would validate people’s suffering as well as give them tools to heal and return to a normal life. I believe that information is power, and that power gives people freedom and hope – two things that are often lacking in patients suffering with pelvic floor dysfunction.

Our schedule of Pelvic Health 101 classes!

FM: Who is the intended audience for PH101?

SS: Current patients, prospective patients, healthcare providers who have questions about how to better treat pelvic pain, bladder and/or bowel conditions – really anyone. I tailor these classes so they are understandable to the general population, but I also try to give more in-depth information than one might not find elsewhere. I really want class participants to leave with a clear picture of what is going on with their bodies.

FM: Do you have to be a current patient at BBPT to go?

SS: Not at all! Most of the participants have been prospective patients looking for more information and seeing if physical therapy can be helpful for their condition. We’ve also had plenty of other healthcare providers come to learn more about the musculoskeletal component to bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction.  Everyone is welcome!

FM: What is your favorite topic to cover?

SS: I really love them all, but especially the bowel lecture, “Why is Pooping so Difficult”. It’s fun to be an adult and get to talk about pooping! Potty talk is often not socially acceptable but I like to open the floor to talk about issues that are often swept under the rug. I also really love our Ladies Only Night. It’s a safe place where women can come and ask any of their questions concerning pelvic health in a friendly, fun, women only environment. It almost has the feel of a girls’ night in with your friends, minus the pajamas and pillow fights.

FM: What are some of your favorite reactions from last years’ class?

SS: I love seeing “light bulbs” click on when people discover anatomical and physiological reasons why they are experiencing symptoms. People get so much bad information along the way and often times are told everything is in their head. I love the smiles and hope on people’s faces when they hear the good news that it is not, and that there is a solution to their symptoms!

FM: What’s different/ new and exciting this year?

SS: This year we have assembled an expert panel of pelvic pain specialists to do a question and answer forum with the class participants. The experts on the panel will be Gynecologist Dr. Dena Harris, Urologist Dr. David Kaufman and Physiatrist Dr. Allyson A. Shirkhande. This is something I have wanted to organize since starting the pelvic health series so I am really excited to provide this unique and valuable opportunity to patients, especially those with complex cases.

We will also be video recording some of the lectures so they can be available online for those outside of NYC. We have had a lot of requests from all over the world to have access to the lectures. We are passionate about education and providing good information, so we are excited to record them and make them available online.

FM: What should people do who are interested in taking the class?

SS: They should sign up online as soon as they can at The classes are free but space is limited so they do fill up quickly. Light refreshments will be provided. Check out our class schedule below!

Blue Pills for Guys and Pink Pills for Gals: Is Female Viagra is Here?

By Fiona McMahon, DPT

    When the FDA approved use of ADDYI (flibanserin) in August of 2015, it felt like the world blew up. Newspapers heralded its’ release as “female viagra”. Some rejoiced, “finally, gender parity in medicine for sexual dysfunction!”, while others turned up their noses at it, questioning its necessity for women with low libido. There are a lot of emotions around this new drug and it has had an interesting effect of raising some very important questions about female sexuality, society’s comfort with sexuality at large, and gender equality. In this post, we will examine the black and white facts about this drug. We will try and push past the emotion surrounding this drug to study how it works. Ultimately, you will have to decide what this drug means to you, but hopefully this post will provide you with a brief background to how the drug effects those taking it. Let’s get started.

                                                        Image via thedaonline

    The first and most important question to ask is, “who is this drug for?”. ADDYI is for premenopausal women with low desire to engage in sexual activity of any kind, alone or with any partner. Women who are appropriate to take ADDYI are women who do not experience low sexual desire secondary to relationship problems, drug use (prescription or otherwise), or mental illness like depression (which can affect one’s sexual desire).

    ADDYI works by enhancing the activity of serotonin receptors in your brain and is classified as an antidepressant. It does not work like Viagra, which affects the blood supply in a man’s penis, allowing it to enlarge with sexual drive. ADDYI helps a woman gain the sexual drive that a man who is taking Viagra already has–it does not directly work on a woman’s genitals.  ADDYI and Viagra act differently to help with sex. One, (Viagra) prepares the sexual organs of someone who has the desire to have sex to engage in sexual activity, while the other (ADDYI) contributes to sexual drive. When someone refers to ADDYI as the “female Viagra” they are not being totally accurate. Both drugs help with sexual issues, but beyond that, the similarities end.

    ADDYI, unfortunately is not appropriate for everyone. ADDYI is not for the treatment of low sexual desire in women who have gone through menopause or for men. ADDYI does not enhance sexual performance, rather it restores drive to a woman with low sexual desire.

    When we ingest any drug, be it a prescribed pharmaceutical like ADDYI, or a supplement like magnesium for constipation, we have to expect that the drug may have effects outside of the ones we intended. ADDYI, although it is effective,  it comes with some potentially serious side effects.

    ADDY, in some cases, can cause a potentially serious drop in blood pressure (hypotension), which can lead to fainting and potential injury. The risk of this serious blood pressure drop is increased with the use of alcohol. If you are on ADDYI you cannot enjoy a sexy little glass of champagne before getting it on because of the risk of fainting.The risk factors associated with drinking alcohol with ADDYI are so serious that prescribers and pharmacists must take a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) before ADDYI can be dispensed to patients to ensure that their patients are indeed capable of abstaining from alcohol.

    ADDYI is also contraindicated with a number of other drugs. ADDYI cannot be used in individuals who are currently on certain antifungals such as diflucan and others, treatment for HIV-1 infection, taking certain blood pressure medicines, or people with liver problems as this can also increase your risk for fainting/ injury.

    ADDYI also causes central nervous system depression. What this means is that it can make you really sleepy. In the prescribing information released by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of ADDYI, tell the prescriber to instruct their patients to take ADDYI only before bedtime and to avoid driving or other tasks that require alertness for 6 hours following taking ADDYI.

    The next question we have to ask about ADDYI is does it actually work? A study conducted by Katz and colleagues found that ADDYI did have a significant effect on sexual desire in women. Katz and her colleagues also observed the same side effects mentioned above. These side effects lead to 9.6% of the study participants to discontinue ADDYI.

    After doing the research for this blog, I gained greater insight into this medication ADDYI is not some riskless drug that can magically make you into a lady Casanova. We have to keep in mind, with any pharmaceutical there can be enormous benefits, like the return of sexual drive, but  there are unattended side effects. Luckily, with the availability  of information out there and with the guidance of your doctor you can decide if pursuing ADDYI is right for you.

    Female sexuality and arousal is a complex subject and there may be alternatives to ADDYI if you are someone who cannot safely take it. Sex is an important part of life for women and there are many different reasons sex may be difficult, not desired, or even painful. ADDYI is not a magic bullet, but another tool (to be used judiciously) in our thankfully growing toolbox to treat female sexual dysfunction.


Highlights of Prescribing Information. Reference ID:3808140

Katz M, DeRogatis L, Ackerman R, et al. Efficacy of flibanserin in women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder: Results from the BEGONIA Trial. International Society for Sexual Mediceine. 2013

Stretching and Strengthening with Pilates

By Amy Stein, DPT

This past week we had the pleasure of having Denise Small do an educational in service on the use of Pilates mat, Pilates reformer and spring board for gentle core strengthening and alignment exercises that can be used for men, women, children and even prenatal and post-partum women. She also showed us AMAZING ways to stretch almost all of the muscles of the lower extremity and back using the assistance of the reformer and spring board. She had all of us practice the exercises so that we can easily utilize them with our patients. Below you can see Victoria and I doing an active iliopsoas stretch (hip flexor) stretch, Denise is demonstrating how to gently strengthen the core one vertebrae at a time, while the back gets a nice gentle stretch.

For more information on Pilates and the different areas that Pilates rehab addresses, check our our website. In the past, Denise has also written some Pilates blogs for us if you’d like to check out some of those here.

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