If you’re experiencing overactive bladder, uterine prolapse, urinary incontinence, bowel incontinence or other uncomfortable and frustrating pelvic problems, relief is possible — there’s a medical subspecialty just for you. Urogynecologists are experts in the female pelvic organs and the pelvic floor: the muscles, ligaments, connective tissue, and nerves that help support and control the functioning of your bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum.
What symptoms should I look for that might indicate I need to visit a Urogynecologist?
Dr. Kow explained that your primary care physician or OB/GYN may have knowledge about pelvic floor problems, but a urogynecologist can offer additional expertise.
“You should be evaluated or referred to a urogynecologist when you have problems of pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence unresponsive to medications, problems with emptying the bladder or rectum, or the need for special expertise in surgical options to treat these conditions,” he said.
What are the main differences between a gynecologist and a urogynecologist?
“A urogynecologist is a subspecialist who has completed medical school, a four-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology, and a three-year fellowship in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery,” says Dr. Kow.
The additional training that urogynecologists undergo focuses on the surgical and non-surgical treatment of non-cancerous gynecologic problems such as pelvic floor disorders.
Ultimately, urogynecologists are the physicians with the most in-depth knowledge and experience in this specialty.
Who might experience a pelvic floor disorder?
Many things can affect your pelvic floor, but common causes of damage include childbirth, repeated heavy lifting, straining for bowel movements, some chronic diseases, and surgery.
“One in three women after menopause is affected by these conditions,” says Dr. Kow. “With the aging of the baby boomer generation, many of these conditions are anticipated to increase by 50 percent by the year 2050.”
What if I’m embarrassed or anxious about seeing a specialist?
Dr. Kow understands that many times it is difficult or embarrassing to discuss these issues with your physician. Often these health concerns are very personal and many times women may not know there are options available to them. Equally important is that these conditions are common.
“If you have one of these disorders, you are not alone,” says Dr. Kow. “Until recently, many physicians would have told you that urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse are a part of the aging process that women have to live with. You do not have to live with these conditions! Once a problem is recognized, the next step is to seek an evaluation from a urogynecologist, who will be able to discuss and work with you on dramatically improving your quality of life.”
If you suspect you have a pelvic issue, don’t suffer in silence any longer. AdventHealth for Women is here to help. To request an appointment or learn more about our treatments and services, please call Call407-303-4HER or visit AdventHealthforWomen.