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A Patient Story: Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Posted on July 18, 2017

“The best care in the world.”

Carolyn Young
Carolyn and Robert Young

Living with Chronic Pelvic Pain

Carolyn Young of Harriman isn’t typically one to use a public platform for voicing opinions, but she has plenty to say about her care at Fort Sanders Women’s Specialists and her surgery at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center

“I didn’t know there were such doctors and such hospital care out there,” Carolyn says. “I didn’t know such care existed – it was wonderful!”

Carolyn suffered for nearly two years in relative silence with pain that she presumed was caused by diverticulitis. It was only when she had her annual checkup and was referred to Covenant Health gynecologist Dean Turner, MD, at the Harriman office of Fort Sanders Women’s Specialists that she learned it might be something else. After an exam, Dr. Turner told Carolyn that she was suffering the effects of a prolapsed bladder, uterus, and colon. He recommended she see Curtis Elam, MD, an expert in gynecology and pelvic prolapse, who provides care at the practice’s Fort Sanders Regional office.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Dr. Elam says prolapse happens when the structure holding internal organs in place becomes weak. “I like to give the analogy of a small rubber band,” Dr. Elam says. “As you keep playing with the rubber band and stretch it, you are increasing the degrees of prolapse.”

For Carolyn, three difficult pregnancies and a lifetime of working on her feet had caused that structure to gradually stretch and those internal organs to drop out of place. Dr. Elam explained exactly what was happening inside of Carolyn’s body, and all the options available to her. On one end of the spectrum, she could choose to do nothing. On the other, she could choose major surgery to remove her reproductive organs, and lift the bladder and bowel into the most secure position.

“He didn’t tell us what to do,” Carolyn’s husband, Robert, says. “He laid all the cards on the table and left the choice up to us.”

Road to Recovery and an Active, Pain-Free Life

Because Carolyn saw a Covenant Health doctor in her home county, the transition to care in Knoxville was easy. She opted for a hysterectomy and vaginal procedure at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in January 2017 after Dr. Elam explained it was the most permanent solution, and after Robert encouraged her to seek out the option that would give her the best long-term quality of life. Compassionate care from Dr. Elam, the nurses and the medical staff gave her a sense of peace.

“I just felt like everything was going to be okay because they were there,” she says. That level of care extended to her husband as staff made sure his needs were met, bringing in a bed so he could be at his wife’s side throughout the night. “They didn’t just care about her, they cared about us,” Robert says. “And they didn’t act like they were just doing a job, they acted like they were carrying out a calling.”

Carolyn and Robert say Dr. Elam, Fort Sanders Women’s Specialists, and Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center were a blessing. “It was the best care in the world!” Carolyn says. “They are very worthy of praise, and I’m spreading the word!”  

Relief is Just a Call Away  

If you notice symptoms of a prolapsed bladder, please call us at (865) 331-1122 to schedule an appointment. It can sometimes be associated with other prolapsed organs within the pelvis, and prompt medical care can prevent further complications.

Click here for more information, including symptoms and treatment of pelvic organ prolapse. 

About Dr. Curtis Elam

Curtis Elam, MD
Curtis Elam, MD

Curtis Elam, MD, embraces the philosophy of treating his patients in the same manner he wants his wife and daughter to be treated: with compassion. In addition to obstetrics, Dr. Elam specializes in:

  • Urinary incontinence management (with and without mesh)
  • InterStim treatment for overactive bladder, urinary urgency, and fecal incontinence
  • Robotic burch urethropexy for urinary incontinence
  • Robotic and minimally invasive gynecological surgery
  • Minimally invasive surgical correction of pelvic organ prolapse

For more information about Dr. Elam, view his full profile here. He is accepting new patients, and you can make an appointment with him by calling the office at (865) 331-1122.

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