Women seek obstetrical and gynecological health care at many different stages of their lives for many different reasons, and look for a combination of both highly skilled and compassionate health care qualities in providers and their settings. Women who experience leakage from their bladders or have the “got to go” feeling (urgency) at inconvenient times are not alone. The problem, though embarrassing for some, is more common and treatable than many women realize.
Your pelvic floor provides strength and protection to your abdominal organs including your intestines, bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum. The pelvic floor is made up of connective tissue, muscles and ligaments that provide a sling for your organs and help them function properly.
The pelvic floor is the band of muscles, ligaments, nerves, and tissues located underneath the pelvis, which provides support to pelvic organs, such as the vagina and anus, and assists in the control of their functions. When your pelvic floor muscles become weak or don’t work properly, issues such as incontinence and pelvic prolapse are common conditions that can arise. This often causes women to suffer and may cause them to feel embarrassed by bladder leakage, and to work harder on hiding the degree of their discomfort.
Disorders that affect the pelvic floor can be caused by vaginal birth, aging, hormonal change during menopause, abdominal surgeries like hysterectomy, or other conditions like diabetes. Urinary or fecal incontinence or leakage, pelvic organ prolapse, fistula, bladder pain, and trouble emptying the bladder or bowel are all considered pelvic floor disorders.
Many women find it difficult to seek treatment for pelvic floor disorders, and that’s where the field of urogynecology comes in.
What is Urogynecology?
Urogynecology refers to the branch of medicine that deals specifically with the female urinary and reproductive systems, which means at University OBGYN Associates we can treat problems or disorders of either or both systems.
People see urogynecologists to treat conditions such as:
- Lower abdominal pain
- Sphincter issues
- Bladder problems
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Stress urinary incontinence
- Transvaginal mesh complications
Urogynecology is a fairly new subspecialty of gynecology, but it’s growing fast. Increasing rates of pelvic floor disorders have raised the demand for specialized services. The American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Board of Urology established the Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery certification. An FPMRS certification is the highest level of accreditation for urogynecologists.
OB-GYNs can still provide routine care for women with simple pelvic floor issues, but they often refer women to urogynecologists for the assessment and treatment of complex pelvic floor problems. In the 1970s and 1980s, most gynecologists would treat pelvic floor disorders. As gynecologists began to see more women for primary needs, they received less specialized training on pelvic floor issues.
If you may think you are suffering from a pelvic floor disorder such as incontinence or transvaginal mesh, call University OBGYN Associates at (315) 464-5162 to request an appointment, or request one online.