The emerging specialty of Female Pelvic Medicine (urogynecology) deals with the diagnosis and treatment of pelvic floor disorders. A urogynecologist is an OB/GYN with a three-year specialty fellowship in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. In women, the pelvic floor includes the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue supporting the vagina, uterus, bowel, bladder, and rectum. Our urogynecological surgeons (specialists in Female Pelvic Medicine) have a broad range of expertise in open surgery and minimally invasive procedures, and, where appropriate, robotic surgeries utilizing the da Vinci® robotic system. Conditions that affect the female pelvic floor include:
- Pelvic organ prolapse (POP)
- Pelvic pain
- Incontinence or voiding dysfunction
- Anal incontinence
- Sexual dysfunction
- Muscle spasms (vaginismus)
- Pelvic joint laxity
- Pain during intercourse
- Interstitial cystitis
- Pain after hysterectomy
- Painful bladder syndrome
Over half of the women with pelvic floor disorders don’t seek treatment. Symptoms like incontinence, genital pain, and pelvic organ prolapse may feel too personal to talk about. Some women don’t realize that most pelvic floor problems are treatable. Or, they may tell themselves that such symptoms are a normal part of aging. And yet one in four adult women, and half of women over 50, have a pelvic issue of some type. The risk is higher in women who are obese, have had several vaginal deliveries, have experienced some kind of injury during childbirth, or have had a hysterectomy. Most pelvic issues affect quality of life but are not life-threatening. Severe prolapse, however, leads to urinary retention, which can be very dangerous.
While pelvic organ prolapse symptoms may include urinary and/or fecal incontinence, not all prolapse leads to incontinence, and not all incontinence issues are prolapse-related. Find out more about incontinence treatment.
(Click on the above video to learn more about various topics affecting Women's Health, featuring Dr. K.Jennifer Voss & Dr. Sjuatha Pathi, OB/GYN's)