This sub-specialty of gynecology focuses on problems of the pelvic floor and urinary incontinence in female patients. Pelvic floor generally refers to a group of muscles and ligaments that supports the organs in the pelvis.
Pelvic floor problems can affect the bladder, bowel and reproductive organs. When the pelvic floor weakens, these organs can drop down (prolapse) and protrude into the vagina or cause leaking of urine. More than half of patients in menopause have pelvic floor disorders.
A urogynecologist is specially trained to evaluate, diagnose and treat these problems. Typical problems a urogynecologist can address include:
- Stress urinary incontinence
- Urge incontinence (overactive bladder)
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Fecal incontinence
- Urinary and rectal fistulas
Treatment can range from conservative (medications, behavioral modifications, physical therapy and pessaries) to advanced therapies with bladder stimulators and injections, and to surgical reconstruction.