UNMC grant funds free community education sessions in Omaha on continence issues

by Vicky Cerino
September 10, 2019

Image with caption: Jennifer Cera, D.N.P.

Jennifer Cera, D.N.P.

Although seldom talked about, urinary incontinence is a common health problem, particularly for women.
Urinary incontinence and pelvic floor disorders cause minor or complete loss of control of the bladder, dramatically affecting quality of life. Common reasons for incontinence in women include childbirth, diabetes, obesity, smoking, stroke and menopause.
Between 20% to 32% of women age 20 to 40 experience urinary incontinence and in middle age and in elderly women, 20% to 50% experience it. Incontinence may limit activities, traveling, visiting relatives, exercising and engaging in other activities, because they’re afraid of accidental leakage and the embarrassment that comes with it.
When Jennifer Cera, D.N.P., sees patients, one thought enters her mind: education could have prevented or reduced the severity of what she calls the eighth most chronic condition in women.
With a one-year, $26,000 grant from the Olson Center for Women’s Health, Dr. Cera is taking an educational series into the community. The series is open to the public.
In August, she began a weekly, revolving four-part educational series on health promotion and prevention of pelvic floor disorders in community fitness facilities. Dr. Cera is teaching women how to take control of bladder health with simple lifestyle and behavior changes and one-on-one consultation. Women also can be referred for continence screening and evaluation.
"You don’t have to have bladder leakage. Women just need a little education," said Dr. Cera, an assistant professor in the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing and a nurse practitioner for the Olson Center for Women’s Health. "Self-help and behavior modification can reduce or eliminate urinary leakage. There are so many non-surgical treatments out there that women just don’t know about.
"As a medical community, we don’t do enough education and prevention. It’s our job as providers to give the best care possible to our patients, and that includes simply educating them to make decisions that are right for them," said Dr. Cera, who has 25 years of experience.
Her initial pilot study at a fitness facility in 2017 was successful and found a decrease of incontinence and an increase in quality of life.
Dr. Cera will give a talk on tips and tricks of bladder health at 9 a.m. on Sept. 13 at the Jewish Community Center in the Jewish Confederation Room, 333 St. 132nd St. In October, she will give a series of talks on pelvic organ prolapse on Oct. 3 at noon, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m., Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. and Oct. 22 at 9 a.m. These also will be held at the Jewish Community Center. A series of talks in November will focus on recurrent urinary tract infections. There is no requirement to sign up ahead of time.
For more information on these talks and future talks, contact Dr. Cera at 402 559-2717, jennifer.cera@unmc.edu.
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