Though COVID-19 temporarily shut down their respective practices, Andrew Croak, DO, MS, FACOOG, of the Northwest Ohio Center for Urogynecology and Women’s Health, and Karen Liberi, MS, MPT, WCS, of the Northwest Ohio Center for Pelvic Rehabilitation and Wellness are once again operating at full capacity and combining their extensive expertise to promote women’s health in our region.
“Back in March, we had to close down due to the pandemic and were limited to seeing patients for emergencies only, but our office and surgical schedules are now ‘full speed ahead’ with excellent safety protocols in place. We’re confident we’re doing everything right to provide a clean, safe facility for our patients,” Dr. Croak says.
“We’ve also introduced the option of telemedicine visits, so patients can be seen in the comfort of their own home rather than in person if they prefer. In addition, we’ve created an online boutique at nwourogyn.com, offering a variety of products and supplements for women, so they can purchase the items they need without having to travel to the office,” he adds.
Dr. Croak is a board-certified, fellowship-trained urogynecologist who completed his training and received a master’s in Biomedical Science from the renowned Mayo Clinic. He was the third urogynecologist in the country, MD or DO, to be boarded and to be accepted into the prestigious Society of Gynecologic Surgeons. He has taught over 60 OB/GYN residents in his career, enough to be inducted into the Ohio Osteopathic Mentor Hall of Fame. He was nominated in the past as a Toledo Hometown Healthcare Hero and recently received the Distinguished Fellow award from the American College of Osteopathic OBGYNs.
On the surgical front, Dr. Croak recently reached a significant milestone, having completed his 1,000th successful robotic case at St. Luke’s Hospital. Research shows that high-volume surgeons such as Dr. Croak produce better, safer outcomes, helping to reassure patients that they’re in capable hands.
Dr. Croak’s practice has also had great success using various state-of-the-art technologies, such as the Mona Lisa Touch fractional laser, which is used to treat genitourinary syndrome of menopause, or GSM. This condition can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms for women, including vaginal itching, irritation, and dryness; urinary urgency; dysuria; and increased nighttime voiding.
“Peri and post-menopausal women, especially breast cancer survivors, suffer because of irritation, painful relations, urinary urgency, or repeated infections,” Dr. Croak says. “This treatment is life-changing for patients. Over 500 patients in my practice have had 90% long-lasting improvement without any risk.”
Dr. Croak emphasizes that Mona Lisa Touch should not be confused with “vaginal rejuvenation,” a series of poorly tested procedures claiming to tighten the vagina or cure stress urinary incontinence. These “rejuvenations” are often marketed by entities with no pelvic-health training whatsoever, and patients can get hurt as a result, he cautions. Mona Lisa Touch has scientifically validated data, is treating a set of real conditions that affect millions of women, has been endorsed by major medical institutions, and is performed by Dr. Croak exclusively.
Currently, Dr. Croak’s practice is offering Mona Lisa Touch at a significant discount through the end of the year due to COVID-19 so individuals on a tight budget can still benefit from this advanced technology.
Now in her 25th year as a physical therapist with highly specialized training in pelvic floor therapy, Karen Liberi can help patients of all ages with pelvic floor disorders, which she defines as “anything that goes wrong ‘down there,’ whether it’s related to the bladder, the bowel, or sexual function.”
Among the pelvic floor issues Ms. Liberi commonly treats are urinary or fecal incontinence, prolapse, constipation, and pelvic pain. “Another patient population I frequently treat are prenatal and postpartum moms, many of whom need rehab for those muscles that recently had trauma to them,” she adds. In fact, Ms. Liberi actively advocates for the prenatal/postpartum community by offering “4th trimester care,” which promotes physical recovery from birth and is particularly useful for women who are struggling to return to exercise due to bladder incontinence, experiencing post-partum pelvic prolapse pressure, or having difficulty returning to intercourse due to painful scars.
Ms. Liberi has always been on the forefront of her profession as a board-certified pelvic floor therapist. She was part of the first inaugural class of Women’s Health Certified Specialists (WCS) in 2009 through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties and is one of the first nationally recertified therapists of her kind. Currently she is one of only 380 physical therapists in the US with the designation of WCS. She’s also a practitioner for Maven, an online digital healthcare clinic for women and avid educator for the community and medical professionals.
Interestingly, many people aren’t even aware that pelvic floor rehab exists—or they assume it involves nothing more than Kegel exercises. “Some patients come in and tell me, ‘I’ve already tried Kegels,’ but pelvic floor rehab involves much more than that. Also, it’s important to understand how, when, and why you’re doing Kegels—and sometimes you shouldn’t be doing them at all. For example, if you have pelvic pain with a very tight pelvic floor, you don’t necessarily want to tighten those muscles even further at the onset of therapy,” Ms. Liberi explains.
Pelvic floor rehabilitation has many nuances, and Ms. Liberi is connected with many disciplines including urogynecologists, Ob-Gyns, urologists, GI doctors, counselors, sex therapists, nutritionists, and naturopathic doctors to help form a well-rounded team for her patients.
Both Dr. Croak and Ms. Liberi are committed to the community they’ve served for 16 and 25 years respectively, and both are dedicated to providing vital education on issues affecting women’s health. For example, on Wednesday, October 21 at 6:00 p.m., Dr. Croak will be hosting a free webinar on urinary incontinence, an issue that affects one out of every four women. To register and to access the webinar, visit http://bit.ly/CroakWebinar.
In November, Dr. Croak will be discussing pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence on a national podcast called the Happy Vagina Summit hosted by urogynecologist Dr. Betsy Greenleaf—more information to come.
Contact information for the practices of Dr. Andrew Croak and Karen Liberi is as follows:
Andrew Croak, DO, MS, FACOOG
Northwest Ohio Center for
Urogynecology and Women’s
28442 East River Road, Suite #111
Perrysburg, OH 43551
Karen Liberi, MS, MPT, WCS
Northwest Ohio Center for Pelvic Rehabilitation and Wellness
28442 East River Road, Suite #103
Perrysburg, OH 43551
419-893-7134, option #5