Behind the Scenes of Pelvic Pearls

We are living in a very challenging time, one that has impacted every aspect of our lives and families, with much unknown still ahead. Many important services have been curtailed due to social distancing, including the work I do as a pelvic floor physical therapist. My daily schedule and ability to work with patients has changed significantly since March, yet I have tried to find the silver lining of this situation and utilize the extra time that I have been granted in a productive manner. While it is extremely tempting to binge watch Netflix, it is much more meaningful to spend time on professional projects that I have dreamed about but never had the opportunity to explore.

One of those projects is creating informational videos to educate the public about pelvic floor physical therapy. As a passionate pelvic floor physical therapist, I am grateful for the opportunity to share valuable knowledge and spread awareness of this extremely important specialty, especially considering that many people are needlessly suffering in silence. I enjoy giving lectures, blogging, and even answering questions that arise conversationally from curious friends. Knowledge is powerful, and the more that people know about their pelvic health, the better equipped they will be to address any issues that arise. That is why educating my patients about their conditions and instructing them on self care skills is one of my favorite parts of my job. I enjoy helping people understand the biology and physiology underlying their experiences, and I have found that it empowers them to take a more active role in their healing process.

Considering my thirst for both learning and dispensing knowledge, I have decided to shift gears and use the extra time to educate a larger audience. It is with great excitement and humility that I announce the recent launch of Pelvic Pearls. Pelvic Pearls is a YouTube channel which offers pearls of wisdom about pelvic floor physical therapy in short videos. Topics addressed include bladder dysfunction, bowel dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, pelvic pain, and prenatal and postpartum issues. This series is intended to educate and offer practical tips to listeners as well as explain how pelvic floor physical therapy can help address these conditions.

I am very grateful to my friend and colleague, Dr. Ivy Branin, for patiently teaching me how to create these videos, and I would also like to thank my roommates for allowing me to turn our apartment into a recording studio. I am also grateful to them for tolerating the constant sounds of “pastel slide short” introductory music that has been echoing through the rooms of our apartment incessantly. (One of them jokingly suggested that instead of a swear jar, our apartment should have a Pelvic Pearl music jar. Anyone who accidentally plays the song out loud owes money to the jar to be used by the other roommates as they please. #guilty)

Please subscribe today to access each and every Pelvic Pearl as they are posted. If there is a topic that interests you which has not been covered, please contact us and inform us what you would like us to address. We are here to help you in any way that we can during these trying times. Until we have the opportunity to meet and share knowledge in person, we look forward to continuing to do so with you virtually via Pelvic Pearls.

The Incredible, Reimbursable Egg

Someone extremely powerful must have read my recent article, Why Being a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist Inspired Me to Freeze My Eggs…And to Tell You All About It (link to article), because I have an exciting update about fertility treatment. I know, I know…I’m not that vain…I definitely know this law’s not about me. My blog alone can’t take credit for the Department of Financial Services of New York State’s decision, but a girl can dream.

I am happy that many important conversations ensued, both publicly on Facebook and privately, and I am grateful to the many women who shared their personal experiences. The more we discuss and share, the more we can support each other and normalize this process. I am thrilled to report that our voices are being heard and incredible changes are underway.

As of January 1, 2020, the New York State’s budget mandates that large group insurance plans (a group consisting of more than 100 employees) cover up to three cycles of in vitro fertilization for patients with a medical diagnosis of infertility. The definition of “infertility”, according to the Department of Financial Services is “a disease or condition characterized by the incapacity to impregnate another person or to conceive, due to the failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse or therapeutic donor insemination, or after six months of regular unprotected sexual intercourse or therapeutic donor insemination for a female 35 years of age or older.  Earlier evaluation and treatment may be warranted based on an individual’s medical history or physical findings.” The new phrase included this year is “therapeutic donor insemination,” which finally provides coverage to same-sex female couples and to single women, two demographics that were excluded in years past.

The new law also mandates coverage for “medically necessary” egg or sperm freezing procedures. These fertility preservation procedures are deemed “medically necessary” for patients at risk of iatrogenic infertility, or infertility resulting from an unrelated medical procedure (ex. chemotherapy, radiation, endometriosis surgery, or sexual reassignment surgery). The fertility preservation coverage under these circumstances applies to even small group and individual plans.

Insurance companies can require prior authorization, so if you are considering exploring this option, please contact your insurance company to inquire into their specific requirements.

True, certain groups won’t be covered under these laws (ex. women who elect to freeze their eggs without medical necessity and IVF treatment for individuals who do not have a large group employer). So yes, we still have more work to do. But overall, this is massive progress. The new, more inclusive laws are a giant leap for womankind. I look forward to the opportunity to share more positive updates on women’s sexual health and reproductive rights as they develop, hopefully sooner rather than later.