As a female urologist, Dr. Lori Jones represents a rare breed. Out of approximately 9,600 urologists in the U.S., only eight to 12 percent are, in fact, women. Interestingly enough, a 2016 study reported that female urological patients actually prefer female urologists. So although they are hard to come by, they are increasingly in high demand.*
Since there’s a world of women who can benefit from her expertise, understanding and passion, below, Dr. Jones addresses some of the many concerns of women and the unique position of females in her field. She also discusses some of her cutting-edge treatments and shares how she takes care of both women and men.
Q: What made you interested in becoming a urologist?
A: I enjoy building relationships with patients over many years, but have always been drawn to the immediate solutions offered by surgery. I knew that working with my hands and using the latest technology such as robots and lasers was absolutely for me. I find that Urology offers an opportunity to treat some very personal and sometimes embarrassing problems with surgery, or medication, or often both, which really appealed to me. The opportunity not only to treat life-threatening conditions such as cancer, but to also improve patients’ quality of life by freeing them from incontinence or sexual dysfunction, is really rewarding. Plus, I found that urologists tend to have a quirky sense of humor given our area of expertise, and it really felt like the perfect fit.
Q: How has being a female urologist helped your patients?
A: Surgery is changing, but is still a male dominated field, and throughout my training I was often the only female on a surgical team. Sometimes I am the first female doctor a patient has ever had. Sometimes patients prefer to see a male doctor, which is of course understandable given the very personal nature of what they might have come to address. But sometimes both male and female patients tell me they feel more comfortable sharing with a female than they do with a male. Simply having the option to discuss awkward topics with someone that makes you feel comfortable is so important to getting the best care.
Q: What are some of the most common female-specific conditions you treat?
A: In addition to common urologic problems that affect both men and women such as kidney stones, bladder or kidney cancer, I do see a large number of patients with female-specific complaints.
Some of my most common visits are to treat patients with recurrent urinary tract infections. Also, urinary incontinence, both urgency (feeling like you always “gotta go”) as well as stress incontinence (annoying leakage of urine with cough, sneeze, laughing or exercise). Pelvic organ prolapse, or “dropped bladder”, is another common complaint.
Other issues that frequently bring patients to see me are pain or discomfort with sex, especially around or after menopause, as well as problems with orgasm, vaginal lubrication–basically all of the changes that take place “down there” when estrogen levels fall after menopause.
Q: The O-Shot is a unique service you offer to women. Can you tell us about this procedure, and why it’s so impactful for women?
A: I am so excited to talk about The O-Shot®. I have seen amazing results in patients with stress incontinence that I would have previously treated with a mesh mid-urethral sling,** and now I have a treatment option that is nonsurgical and completely pain free that I can perform in my office without general anesthesia! The O-Shot® is a nonsurgical procedure that uses the growth factors each woman has in her own body to stimulate vaginal and clitoral rejuvenation to decrease urinary stress incontinence and activate the Female Orgasm System (part of the O-Shot®).
In order to administer the O-Shot®, first I apply a very powerful numbing cream to the vagina. Blood is drawn from the arm the same way it is with any simple blood test. Then, using a high-speed Magellan centrifuge, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) containing the valuable growth factors is isolated from the red blood cells. Using a very thin needle, the PRP is injected into very specific areas of the vagina, which are important for the sexual response, aka the O-Spot®, and close to the urethra. Because these areas have been numbed with the powerful anesthetic cream, the woman feels little or no pain. Benefits are basically immediate, but continue to improve over several weeks. I often recommend combining the O-Shot® with a FemiLift laser procedure which takes about 10 minutes and is also completely painless. This combined laser-enhanced O-Shot®, or LEO, procedure is fantastic for women looking to treat stress incontinence and enhance sexual experience and/or increase vaginal lubrication. The entire office visit is about 40 minutes, and most of that time is spent relaxing while the numbing cream kicks in, during which time I centrifuge and prepare the PRP.
Q: Have you found that some female patients have neglected certain conditions until they were able to find a female physician?
A: Unfortunately, lots of women wait until things get pretty severe before seeking treatment. So I often find that women have been taking care of their kids, their partners, their coworkers, their in-laws, etc., and have neglected to take care of something that has bothered them for YEARS. I sometimes joke that if men peed in their pants a little every single day there would be a Presidential Task Force specifically assigned to eradicate the problem! We don’t have to live like that!! I can fix this! I hope that finding a female urologist makes it easier for even a few women to seek care sooner than they otherwise might.
Q: Is your patient base all female, or do you also treat men?
A: While my practice is largely focused on treating women, I love my job because I get to treat such a wide variety of medical conditions, in both men and women, from teenagers up to patients in their 90s and 100s.
**A device, which must be surgically fitted, consisting of a sling placed around the urethra which is meant to raise the urethra back to normal position, and thus to prevent or reduce urine leakage.