What is urogynecology?
Why should I see a urogynecologist?
What causes urinary incontinence?
How common is urinary incontinence?
How long does surgery for incontinence last?
When should I go for evaluation and treatment for urinary incontinence?
Is incontinence genetic?
How can I prevent incontinence?
I have been doing my Kegel exercises for incontinence but they aren’t helping. What should I do?
What causes prolapse?
Will the prolapse get worse if I do nothing?
What are the treatment options for prolapse?
Will a pessary cause infections?
Can I have sex with a pessary?
I have heard prolapse surgery doesn’t last very long. What is the success rate?
If I feel well after prolapse surgery why do I have to limit my activity?
Will I have to go home with a catheter after prolapse surgery?
Urogynecology focuses on the care of women with pelvic floor dysfunction, which includes but is not limited to, urinary incontinence, urogenital prolapse, pelvic or bladder pain, overactive bladder and sexual dysfunction. The pelvic floor is comprised of muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and nerves that help support and control the rectum, uterus, vagina and bladder. Childbirth is the most common cause of damage to the pelvic floor; however, repeated heavy lifting, surgery and chronic cough/disease may also contribute.
Urogynecologists have completed medical school and a four-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology. These doctors become specialists with additional training and experience in the evaluation and treatment of conditions that affect the female pelvic organs and the muscles and connective tissue that support those organs. The additional training focuses on the surgical and non-surgical treatment of non-cancerous gynecologic problems. Although your primary care physician or Ob/Gyn may have knowledge about these problems, a urogynecologist can offer additional, crucial expertise.
Incontinence is not an inevitable result of aging, but is particularly common in older people. It is often caused by specific changes in body function that may result from diseases, use of medications and/or the onset of an illness. Sometimes it is the first and only symptom of a urinary tract infection. Women are most likely to develop incontinence either during pregnancy and childbirth, or after the hormonal changes of menopause, because of weakened pelvic muscles.
More than 13 million people in the United States experience incontinence and 85 percent are women.
No surgery for incontinence has a 100 percent cure rate but many types should permanently cure 80-85 percent of women with stress incontinence.
Consult your physician immediately. There are many treatments available that will help you return to your normal lifestyle. Also, the symptoms of urinary incontinence may resemble other conditions or medical problems and it is best to speak to a physician right away.
Recent studies indicate that women are more likely to develop urinary incontinence if their mother or older sisters are incontinent.
Kegel exercises help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor that surround and support the vagina, bladder and rectum. They can prove very effective for preventing incontinence.
Understanding and performing these exercises correctly is essential. Many women need assistance in accomplishing this task and we can provide you with information and techniques.
Many factors can contribute to prolapse, including genetics, vaginal childbirth, severe obesity, pelvic tumors, chronic constipation and repetitive heavy lifting.
If left untreated, prolapse will usually get worse. Severe prolapse can cause urinary retention that progresses to kidney damage or infection.
A non-surgical option is the placement of a pessary. A pessary is a plastic device that is inserted into the vagina to support the uterus, vagina, bladder and rectum. There are many different kinds of pessaries. Surgical treatment includes sacral colpopexy, vaginal pelvic floor reconstruction and vaginal mesh procedures. Your doctor will help you decide what treatment is right for you.
Pessary-related infections are rare. Proper hygiene and cleaning are important. Some pessaries can and should be removed daily or weekly and cleaned to reduce vaginal discharge and/or discomfort.
Usually the pessary should be removed prior to intercourse.
No surgery for prolapse has a 100 percent cure rate but many types should permanently cure 80-95 percent of women with prolapse.
For proper healing to occur and to maximize your chances of the surgery being successful, it is essential that you follow your doctor's orders after surgery. For 12 weeks after surgery you should not lift anything that weighs more than 10 pounds, not engage in sexual intercourse and not exercise other than walking.
In some cases patients will go home with a catheter after prolapse surgery. It will be removed several days after you are released from the hospital.