At NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, urogynecology is a branch of obstetrics/gynecology that emphasizes the diagnosis and treatment of women who have pelvic floor disorders. These may include:
- incontinence: loss of bladder or bowel control
- prolapse: falling of the pelvic organs (uterus, vagina, bladder, urethra, or rectum)
- difficulty urinating or moving bowels
- pelvic or bladder pain
- overactive bladder: pressure and frequent need to void
Urogynecologists specialize in the evaluation and treatment of conditions that affect the pelvic organs and the muscles and connective tissue that support these organs. They are trained in both surgical and non-surgical treatment of non-cancerous gynecological problems.
Incontinence occurs in women of all ages and it is believed that one in ten women over the age of 65 are affected. Some common causes of urinary incontinence are infections like cystitis, hormone loss after menopause, physical abnormalities, nerve disorders, and side effects of medications such as diuretics or sedatives. However, usually, incontinence is not an isolated problem; it is often interconnected with other pelvic floor disorders including prolapse (falling of the uterus, or other pelvic organs). A very common cause of all pelvic disorders is the weakening of the tissues and damage to nerves that result from childbirth.
Diagnosis of these symptoms to understand their cause is accomplished through taking a medical history, performing a clinical examination, and performing any necessary laboratory and painless urodynamic tests, which are performed in the office. Once the cause of the symptoms is clear, a range of treatment options can be considered. While surgery is sometimes indicated to repair defects of the pelvic floor, many problems can be corrected or controlled without surgery.