The field of urogynecology is a subspecialty within urology dedicated to
the study and treatment of pelvic floor disorders in women.
Urogynecologists have completed medical school and residency in obstetrics
and gynecology or urology. These doctors become specialists with many
years of additional training and experience in conditions that affect
the female pelvic organs and the muscles and connective tissue that support
the organs. As is always the case, you should feel very comfortable asking
about the training and expertise of any doctor caring for you.
What is the pelvic floor? The pelvic floor is a term we use to describe the muscles, ligaments and
connective tissue that provide support for a woman’s pelvic organs.
These include the bladder, uterus, vagina and rectum. Not only does the
pelvic floor prevent these organs from falling down or out, but it also
plays a very important role in making the organs function properly. The
brain controls the muscles of the pelvic floor by way of nerves. Any medical
conditions or injuries that impact the health of nerves (such as diabetes,
Parkinson’s disease, stroke, back surgery, spinal stenosis, or childbirth
trauma) can result in weakness of the pelvic floor muscles.
What are pelvic floor disorders? Women with weakness of the pelvic muscles or tears in the connective tissue
may begin to have problems controlling the bladder and bowels. They often
describe urine leakage (urinary incontinence), bowel gas or stool leakage
(anal incontinence), difficulty emptying their bladder (voiding dysfunction),
overactive bladder, or having a bowel movement (constipation). Some women
also feel or see tissue coming out of the opening of their vagina. This
can be a prolapsing cervix and uterus or the walls of the vagina.
It is possible to experience one or several of these signs and symptoms
of pelvic floor disorders. Urogynecologists are specially trained to diagnose
and treat these problems. We encourage you to speak with one of our urogynecologists
and learn how he or she can help improve your quality of life by treating
your incontinence or prolapse issues.