By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Many issues involving intimate relationships, gender and menopause overlap and also represent some of the most sensitive health concerns patients encounter.
That’s why physician Pebble Kranz founded Rochester Center for Sexual Wellness (RCSW) in 2017, which offers an array of services under one roof and in a collaborative fashion. The practice recently announced an expansion — it’s moving from a one consultation room in Brighton into a larger facility in Penfield, which includes four consultation rooms, a group room and an exam room.
“Sexual function touches all aspects of a person’s wellbeing and the treatment of sexual concerns requires knowledge and skills spanning medical, mental health and relational approaches,” Kranz said. “We felt our community needed a multidisciplinary center to help people meet their wellness goals.”
While urologists, gynecologists, mental health therapists and others can address the various pieces of these issues, Kranz believes that by developing an integrative team to address the complex facets of patients facing intimacy issues, patients can receive more comprehensive and efficient care.
“They’re wonderful providers who look at the whole person,” Kranz said, “but when there’s a sexual concern, there’s a bio-psycho-social approach that is really critical for evaluating sexual concerns. They have to do with more than the one square foot of the body, but emotions, private thoughts and oftentimes, they have to do with values and cultural beliefs. It relies on an approach to the whole person and not just the body.”
Housing a multi-disciplinary team in one building also makes it easier for patients who need a combination of treatments, such as mental health therapy and medical approaches. Instead of referring patients to providers in other locations, care providers at RCSW can send patients just down the hall.
Not all the providers at RCSW accept insurance; however, “We work with clients about payment if that’s a problem for them,” Kranz said.
She hopes to expand RCSW’s services to include related fields such as pelvic floor physical therapy, which can help with issues such as pain during intercourse, constipation, chronic lower abdominal pain and continence.
Because so few providers offer the type of care RCSW provides, Kranz said that the office serves patients from a two hours’ drive away.
“There’s a big access issue,” she said. “I don’t know of anywhere in the Northeast US, outside of New York City, that that’s providing this kind of integrated collaborative care for sexual issues. It’s pretty rare even in major metro areas, particularly a center that is addressing the needs of people of all genders.
“We hope to be a resource for people here. We want people to feel like there are resources and solutions to their concerns that are often very tender and difficult to talk about. And we also want people to know that there are a lot more kinds of solutions than they might imagine, medical solutions and therapy solutions.