Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery
Urogynecology is a subspecialty of gynecology that focuses on the urological problems of women, such as bladder control disorders. The muscles and connective tissues of the pelvic area make up a woman’s pelvic floor. The pelvic organs, such as the vagina, uterus, bladder, urethra, and rectum, are also all part of the pelvic floor. When the support tissues weaken or are injured, pelvic floor disorders may occur.
Urogynecologists at Bassett Healthcare Network provide pelvic floor therapy and reconstructive surgery for three main types of pelvic floor disorders:
- Bladder control disorders, including female urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, and genital fistulas (abnormal connections between organs)
- Bowel control disorders, such as fecal incontinence and constipation
- Pelvic organ prolapse, a condition in which an organ falls from its normal position because the supportive tissue or muscle is weak, as in the case of uterine prolapse
Causes & Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Disorders
Disorders of the pelvic floor are often associated with pregnancy and childbirth. The pelvic floor can also become weak or injured with age, or as a result of a birth defect, obesity, smoking, frequent heavy lifting, or chronic constipation or coughing. The pelvic floor can also become weak after surgery or radiation treatments.
Symptoms of pelvic floor disorders depend on the woman’s condition. These symptoms include:
- A bulge or bulging sensation near or inside the vaginal opening
- Multiple UTIs (urinary tract infections)
- Heaviness, aching, or fullness inside the vagina, possibly more intense during bowel movements
- Stool problems, including difficulty passing stool or leaking stool
- Urination problems, including leaking urine, frequent or painful urination, difficulty urinating, or inability to completely empty bladder
- Lower back pain
- Pressure or pain in the vagina or pelvis
Treating & Preventing Pelvic Floor Disorders
Bassett Healthcare Network offers both surgical and nonsurgical approaches for pelvic floor disorders. Treatment options provided by our urogynecologists, OB-GYNs, and women’s health specialists include:
- Behavioral therapy, such as biofeedback, bladder training, and timed voiding
- Lifestyle changes, including weight loss, smoking cessation, and avoidance of caffeine and alcohol
- Medications for incontinence and overactive bladder
- Pessaries, devices women use to help support the bladder, rectum, or uterus
- Pelvic floor therapy (physical therapy), including Kegel exercises, to strengthen pelvic muscles
- Female reconstructive surgery, such as repositioning prolapsed pelvic organs, fistula repair, and repair of the sphincter for fecal incontinence
Schedule a Urogynecology Examination
Pelvic floor disorders involve weak or injured muscles or tissues that support a woman’s pelvic organs. If you have symptoms of pelvic floor disorders, talk to your primary care practitioner, OB-GYN, or gynecologist about getting a urogynecology assessment, including urodynamic testing.
Bassett Healthcare Network provides treatment for pelvic floor disorders in Central New York, including Cooperstown, Oneonta, Cobleskill, Herkimer, and beyond.