HCA Virginia - May 10, 2019

What’s a Urogynecologist?

Most women see a primary care doctor or a gynecologist for their annual female checkup. A Urogynecologist, or Urogyn, however, is a specialist with additional training and experience in care for the female pelvic organs, and the muscles and connective tissue that support the organs. These specialists can help to diagnose and treat women with pelvic floor disorders, like urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, fistula, pelvic prolapse, and overactive bladder. Although other physicians, urologists and OB/GYNs may have knowledge about these problems, a Urogyn offers additional expertise, focus and insight on pelvic floor conditions and treatment options.

Who needs a Urogyn?

Approximately one in three women will experience one of the conditions treated by Urogyns in her lifetime. With a host of nonsurgical and minimally-invasive surgical options, Urogyns are able to restore pelvic function and improve quality of life. New medications, procedures, and even physical therapy have opened the door to new treatment options and customized care plans in the last 20 years.

What is the pelvic floor and why is it so important?

The pelvic floor is the system of muscles, ligaments and tissues that support the bladder, urethra, uterus, vagina, small bowel and rectum in the pelvic area. Pelvic floor disorders develop as a result of weakening support for those organs. When not properly supported, these organs drop down from the position where they should be, increasing pressure and causing issues. In severe cases, women may feel or see a bulge coming out from their vagina.

When to see a Urogyn: A symptom checklist

Symptoms of pelvic floor conditions may be readily apparent or may start more subtly and get increasingly more bothersome. They can impact women of any age, regardless of whether they have been pregnant. Never suffer in silence – see a doctor for persistent symptoms or multiple symptoms.

  • Leakage that occurs when sneezing, coughing, laughing, and exercising
  • Strong urge to go or inability to hold it long enough to get to a bathroom
  • Frequent urination during the day or night
  • Difficulty fully emptying their bladder
  • Frequent or recurring urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • Persistent urge to urinate
  • Burning while urinating
  • A feeling of pressure or fullness in the pelvic area
  • Pain during intercourse
  • A feeling that something is falling out of the vagina

It’s important to remember that urinary leakage is not normal at any age. Bladder control and absorbent product advertisements make it seem as if incontinence is something you must live with, but a Urogyn will provide you with the answers and options you need to treat this condition.

If you’re experiencing symptoms or have been diagnosed with a pelvic floor condition, the next step is to schedule a consultation with a Urogynecologist. Patients often do not need a referral to see a Urogynecologist, and many local options are available.

To assess the type of symptoms and severity of your urinary incontinence, take a free health risk assessment to identify your risk factors.

For more information about Urinary Incontinence and the Center for Urological Health at Retreat Doctors’ Hospital, contact us 804-200-1840.

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