This summer marks the second anniversary of our Women's Health Center in Dedham. Our fabulous urogynecologist, Dr. Angel Marie Johnson, is the director. For two years now, she's helped women of all ages improve their quality of life.
Dr. Johnson has contributed a wide variety of articles to our blog:
- Understanding Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder in Women
- Chronic Pelvic Pain Caused by Myofascial Pelvic Pain Syndrome
- Cranberry for Recurrent UTIs & Other FAQs
- InterStim Therapy® for Bladder Control and Bowel Control
- Fecal Incontinence: Symptoms and Treatment Options
- Stress Urinary Incontinence in Women: Symptoms & Treatment Options
- Overactive Bladder in Women: Symptoms & Treatment Options
- Is Vaginal Estrogen Safe?
- What to Expect During a Pelvic Exam (Vaginal Exam)
In honor of her second anniversary, we sat down with Dr. Johnson to catch up on her urogynecology background as well as her thoughts on the last two years—and her hopes for the Women's Health Center moving forward.
What made you decide to pursue urogynecology?DR. JOHNSON: I entered medicine thinking I would become a pediatrician. Growing up, I babysat a young child and volunteered with various youth activities. But in medical school, I realized that I preferred the operating room to the office. I entered my OB/GYN residency thinking I would sub-specialize in high-risk obstetrics.
Early in my intern year, however, my career goals changed. I met a patient with severe urinary dysfunction. She was crying and she said she wasn't living the life she envisioned. She didn't visit her grandchildren, for example, because she was afraid to get on a plane and have "an accident." She was miserable.
Through my encounter with her, I learned that urogynecology was the place for me. I love that I get the chance to improve a patient's quality of life, day in and day out. I help patients live the life they want. I jokingly refer to myself as a "bladder cheerleader."
Perfect segue! When someone asks you what urogynecology is, what do you say?
DR. JOHNSON: Urogynecology is the marriage between urology and gynecology. I specialize in female pelvic floor disorders, which include—but are not limited to—overactive bladder, organ prolapse, stress urinary incontinence, and fecal incontinence. [Editor's note: learn more about urogynecology.]
Tell us about your practice at GBU. How has it grown and evolved over the last two years?DR. JOHNSON: The Women's Health Center at GBU has grown leaps and bounds from its inception two years ago. In a short time, we've begun offering the full gamut of urogynecology services both in the operating room and in the office.
Regarding the office. . . I regularly perform office-based procedures that can drastically improve a women's quality of life and keep costs low—and all while providing efficient, effective world-class care.
Tell us a little bit about your roster of patients.DR. JOHNSON: My patient panel ranges in age from 13-103. The average age patient is not as meaningful, though, since I have two predominant age ranges (20-35 and 65+).
Common conditions I treat include bladder and bowel dysfunction, pelvic organ prolapse, bladder pain, chronic pelvic pain, and vaginal atrophy.
The procedures I particularly enjoy are therapies used to treat challenging bladder problems, such as bladder Botox and InterStim. I perform both procedures in the office for many patients and this allows better scheduling flexibility and increased patient convenience.
Another procedure I commonly perform is Mona Lisa Touch, which involves the use of a C02 laser that helps treat the vaginal walls and serves as an alternative to vaginal estrogen use.
What are you most proud of from the last two years?
DR. JOHNSON: I'm so proud of our Women's Health Center because it's truly thriving! I'm also incredibly proud of the fact we now offer pelvic floor physical therapy to our patients—and not just women, but men as well. In just six months of operation, we're now looking to expand the service to include two pelvic floor physical therapists and make the services available to patients outside of GBU.
What are some of your goals for the next two years at GBU?DR. JOHNSON: In addition to expanding pelvic floor physical therapy, I want to continue to increase patient volume in our Women's Health Center. But I also want to expand our urogynecology services outside of Dedham and hire two urogynecologists for our new Care Centers in Hyannis and Worcester. [Editor's note: both Centers to open in later 2019.]
Longer-term goals: add robotic surgery, facilitate patient support groups, and increase public outreach.
And, always, my biggest goal with the practice is to continue advocating for all women, especially those who are underserved and underrepresented.
Thanks, Dr. Johnson! Click here to make an appointment with Dr. Johnson.