Alternative Pelvic Care for Women (and Men!)
As a young adult, I relied for many years on Planned Parenthood for my pap smears and sexual health care. I am so grateful to them for providing care to millions of women around the country...life-saving care. I have and will continue to support their efforts through pushing for legislation that supports this invaluable community resource.
At the time, I was without health insurance, and they were the clearest option for me. As someone who uses allopathic (Western) medicine very sporadically and with great hesitation, I found the idea of institutionalized pelvic care unsavory...my interactions were not ones that made me likely to get all comfy in the gown/stirrup setup!
Then I discovered midwives (and in that realm, nurse practitioners and pelvic floor physical therapy). Midwives don't 'just' catch babies--they provide all sorts of holistic health care! And forget gowns and stirrups...they take office environment, patient comfort and communication to new heights...I will never look back! Not only do I get the healthcare I need, they help me explore holistic treatments to my health goals and empower me to take charge of my health. The out-of-pocket cost was an adjustment for me, but when I considered the difference in being met by both approach and environment, my perspective shifted. This is a privileged choice, I know, and not one all can make. I didn't believe I could make it...but i just went for it and don't regret it one bit.
Now, just to be clear...I am not condemning all GYN's or other practitioners who work within the system...there are some GREAT one's, and I hope you have one! They are much more likely to take insurance, which is a deal-breaker for many. The most important thing is that you feel connected and comfortable with your provider! Here is an article on some things you might ask a new gynecologist. It is important to come up with your own list based on the type of practitioner and what your needs and preferences are. Go ahead, write them down! And expect them to patiently answer EVERY QUESTION! I don't know about you, but whenever I enter a clinic environment, my mind goes blank, so it's important for me to bring a list of questions and issues I'm having to every appointment.
If you know anything about my practice, you may wonder why I am referring you all to practitioners that treat some of the same things I do! Different strokes, folks! Everyone thrives in a different environment, and I want you to get the care specific to your needs--all of them! The care you get in my office (with the Arvigo® Techniques of Maya Abdominal Massage/Therapies) addresses many of these conditions. I have had GREAT success with various menstrual/womb issues, painful intercourse, digestive issues, post-surgical mitigation, fertility challenges, pelvic pain, and more! If it feels right, I invite you to schedule a session! www.awakenednature.com.
Here is some of the (unexpected) care you can get from these skilled practitioners (not every practitioner I mention provides ALL of these services, but this is an array of options):
-Well-woman exams (pap smears, sexual health care).
-STI diagnosis and treatment.
-Yeast and bacterial vaginosis issues.
-Fertility support, including IUI (intrauterine insemination).
-Holistic HPV(cervical dysplasia) protocol (highly successful!), including those with ASCUS or CIN 1 or 2 diagnoses.
-Diaphragm and Cervical Cap fitting and instruction.
-Birth control device placement and removal.
-Natural solutions to menstrual issues and common women's health issues.
-Referrals for mammogram, bone density tests, and colonoscopy.
-Counseling on maintaining health and sexuality with aging.
-Direct care around pelvic and sexual pain and dysfunction, including:
-Postnatal pain and dysfunction issues.
-Menopausal symptom mitigation.
-Hormonal testing and balancing (including thyroid, adrenal and sex hormones).
-Trans- and queer-friendly primary care.
Here are some wonderful resources around Austin for your pelvic care exploration!
Motherbloom Midwifery: Christy Tashjian, Certified Professional Midwife/Nurse Practitioner and Jenni Huntly, Certified Professional Midwife (Southwest Austin).
Well-woman and primary care visits provided by Christy include discussion about the intention of the visit, comprehensive health history, current health issues, and alternative or allopathic remedies to aid in healing. Often lab work is indicated at these visits. Hormonal testing, including thyroid, adrenal and sex hormones, and assistance in regulating these hormones with herbal or pharmaceutical aides can be applied as appropriate, including references to Aviva Romm’s Adrenal Thyroid Revolution. Preventative care appointments can be arranged on an annual or as needed basis. We also offer fertility/preconception services to identify, treat and change any potential barriers to conception, as well as in-home or office intrauterine insemination (IUI's).
Midwifery of Austin: Dara Fields, Certified Nurse Midwife (Central Austin).
Midwifery of Austin is dedicated to providing care true to the hallmarks of traditional midwifery care. Because of this we bill health insurance as an out-of-network provider. Most clients are able to obtain reimbursement of our fees.
*Midwifery of Austin believes that all women deserve access to midwifery care. Economic circumstance is not a barrier of care. Please inquire about sliding scale fees if you are over burdened by payment and unable to access adequate care.
Primary Care and Gynecology:
Integrative well woman exam
Functional Medicine health assessment
Follow up and problem focused visits for established clients
Preconception visit (without annual physical)
Free-donation based integrative well woman exams every October!
Second Nature Women's Health Care: Mary Barnett,
Certified Nurse Midwife (North-central Austin and Blanco, Texas).
I have decades of experience working with women and extensive knowledge in most areas of women's healthcare. I have participated in the care of thousands of women in many different settings. I no longer deliver babies, but focus primarily on women's healthcare/gynecology. I am grateful for the privilege of being present for so many miracles. I continue to study about women and health, and share that information with my clients. As a Certified Nurse Midwife, my scope of care includes the Primary Health Care of Women. I have been trained in traditional gynecology and integrative women's healthcare for women of all ages. If you have an issue that is outside my scope of practice, I have trusted physicians, medical and alternative providers I can refer to.
Central Family Practice (North-central Austin).
We are Austin’s oldest integrated health care clinic. Integrated Health is where conventional medicine blends with alternative medicine to find what works best for each person. This is also called complementary medicine. We are well-respected within both the alternative and traditional medical communities. We care for entire families and believe doing so can provide a family with the very best health care. We also have an intense focus on women’s health issues.
Sullivan Physical Therapy (North West Austin).
Sullivan Physical Therapy offers physical therapists with advanced training in women's and men's health who are specialized in evaluating and treating the low back, pelvis and pelvic floor region. We have physical therapists who are certified in Women's Health Physical Therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties and who have received certificates of achievement in pelvic, pregnancy and postpartum physical therapy by the American Physical Therapy Association.
Hands On Physical Therapy (Round Rock, Texas).
All of the therapists at Hands on Physical Therapy and Advanced Massage Therapy have advanced training in specific anatomy and treatment related to the female and male pelvis. Our training includes both didactic and hands on lab technique courses aimed at in depth thorough evaluation and treatment of internal and external structures of the pelvic floor. Manual therapy techniques, primarily myofascial release, are the primary treatment tools utilized in our treatment approach. Our one on one approach allows us to easily identify postural and movement patterns which may be contributing to the problem being treated. Correction of these movement and postural patterns via specific strengthening, body mechanics and postural education is an important component to the treatment.
Finding the right practitioner(s) for you is a project, but once you do it will open up so many possibilities! I like to think about this in terms of surviving vs. thriving. The act of taking control of your health and expecting quality care is the first step, and there are some wonderful people out there that can support you! Even if you are experiencing some overwhelming and scary symptoms or diagnoses, information that resonates with you will change the game in your favor. The benefits of quality health care go far beyond your physical body, so go for it! ~Rachael Wilder, LMT
© September 2017. Rachael Wilder, LMT. Please credit me with my name and a link to this page when using this material. Thank you!