Vital Pelvic Health Aims to ‘Change the Narrative’

POLAND, Ohio – Paige Genova said she had been an occupational therapist for nearly 10 years, doing pelvic floor therapy about half of those years. During her time working, Genova said she noticed pelvic floor patients were at a disadvantage.

“The traditional medical system, when I was doing pelvic floor therapy, was kind of in different settings, and I started to realize it was really failing pelvic floor patients,” she said. “The pelvic floor patients, I feel like, are at a disadvantage just by having pelvic floor problems.”

Last March, Genova finally had enough and opened her own place to better treat and educate adults on pelvic floor issues.

Vital Pelvic Health and Wellness, Poland’s multiclinician pelvic floor therapy clinic specializing in male and female pelvic floor dysfunction, opened its newly renovated location Tuesday morning.

Most providers do not properly educate patients on pelvic floor problems, Genova said. Doctors often prescribe kegels – a type of isolated contraction of the pelvis – but they don’t work on the rest of the body, Genova said.

“We know so much more now about the muscles, and there is no other muscle group in our body where we just treat all dysfunction by just doing a contraction of it,” Genova said.

Genova said this same outdated method is used to treat a variety of pelvic floor problems – bowl, bladder, sexual dysfunction, pelvic pain, orthopedic pains in the back and hips and pre- and post-natal concerns.

“We do things very differently here,” she said. “We treat people as a whole person – head to toe – and really into the root cause of their symptoms.”

Vital Pelvic Health’s services include one-on-one pelvic floor therapy for patients in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Remote consultations are also available for patients all over the world.

The business officially started last March. In that time, Genova said she has seen about 200 patients.

In addition to in-person and virtual consultations, Genova said the clinic will host free community workshops on the second Tuesday of every month.

When first obtaining the new space, Genova said there were a lot of smaller, differently spaced offices, and the main goal was to have an open space for community classes and workshops.

An exercise area at Vital Pelvic Health.

“We took [down a] wall. We redid all of the floors, repainted all of the walls, did new ceiling tiles – took it down to its bones and redid it all,” she said.

The new location includes two individualized treatment rooms and a larger gym space, Genova said.

“We also have a space that we will be renting out to have a lactation consultant here at times so, that way, we have that as a resource,” she said. “I think that is a resource that is also underutilized in this community.”

Genova said her goal is to “change the narrative” for pelvic floor dysfunction in this area and become part of a global wave of new pelvic floor therapists.

“I want people to understand this isn’t something they have to live with, and I want the standard of care for maternal health care to change and to be able to provide more access to patients and get to people before the problems happen,” she said.

One common misconception is that these issues only affect women, Genova said.

“Everybody has a pelvic floor,” she said. “You are born with one, and it is just a group of muscles that problems can arise in any stage in life. Men have pelvic floors, as well as women, and a lot of the symptoms that we just talked about.”

Genova said problems are not exclusive to women.

“There are a lot of men that suffer from these problems, but there are very few therapists who treat male patients, and very few men know they don’t have to have those symptoms or a medication to help them with these symptoms,” she said.

The medical world is often set up to only intervene after the problems have already happened, Genova said.

Paige Genova, Vital Pelvic Health founder and pelvic floor occupational therapist.

“I really want to be able to work upstream and get to people before it happens [through] preventative education and preventative treatments,” she said.

Currently, Genova is accompanied by only two other employees, but she said she plans to expand.

“The potential is unlimited to be able to help more people, and to help more people we need to expand, hire more therapists and get different locations,” she said. “I think that just from how many other people are driving from far away, there [are] always possibilities for having other locations so other people will have things closer to home.”

Genova said she now sees people from all over the U.S. and has recently dealt with a patient as far away as London. She credits a lot of her success to her social media.

“I was kind of detoxed from social media before I started my business, but the nature is you have to have it to have a business nowadays,” she said.

Starting as a vessel to educate a wider audience about pelvic issues, her Instagram account has now reached more than 70,000 followers in under a year.

Although they do not currently work with pediatrics, Genova said childhood constipation or chronic bed-wetting is also signs of bowel and bladder problems, which can be experienced at a young age.

Currently, Vital Pelvic Health treats adults age 18 and older.

“The age range is really wide, and being able to have a space I know I can grow into, have multiple therapists, provide free education to the community – just feels so good because it is the community I grew up in,” Genova said.

Jaclyn Gergano, a physical therapist at Vital Pelvic Health, joined the team as its third employee a couple of months ago. She said she has known Genova for several years from their time working together in a hospital.

“We have YSU – that is not far from here,” she said. “I like the athletic population, and they have pelvic floor issues just like everyone else.”

“I think it is amazing because not everyone has the opportunity to find a clinic close to them,” she said.

Several years ago, Gergano said she went through some pelvic floor issues herself and, at the time, the closest place for treatment was an hour and a half away in Cleveland.

“[Genova] can do virtual appointments and at least start to guide those people that don’t even have the opportunity to drive somewhere close to them,” she said. “There are people that need help that do not have those services close to them, and I was one of them. It’s great to get it out there.”

“We all have a pelvic floor, and we need to take care of it,” she said. “Just like you exercise your body and you run for your heart, it’s another group of muscles that you have to take care of.”

Vital Pelvic Health will have an open house on Feb. 25. For more information, call 330 259 8006.

Pictured at top: From left, Poland Mayor Timothy Sicafuse; Paige Genova, Vital Pelvic Health founder and pelvic floor occupational therapist; Jaclyn Gargano, physical therapist; and Kim Boccia, administrative assistant.

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