Until recently, women who were dealing with urinary system problems went to a urologist, and they saw a gynecologist with problems that specifically affect women and the female reproductive organs. However, in 2011, a new sub-category of medicine incorporating the knowledge and skills of a urologist and gynecologist was born. This new field, called urogynecology, allows women to go to a single specialist to help them with problems affecting their pelvic floor muscles. Here are some of the disorders of the pelvic floor, and the ways in which urogynecologists provide solutions.
Urinary Incontinence or Overactive Bladder
Urinary incontinence is caused by tightening of bladder muscles, which then push urine through the urethra and out of the body. An overactive bladder is a form of urinary incontinence. Although uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing, both are treatable.
The first recommendation your physician will likely make if you have this problem is Kegel exercises. This exercise helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles in a natural, non-invasive manner.
Another remedy is medication that helps strengthen the bladder muscles and eliminate spontaneous leakage or relax the pelvis to ensure all urine is emptied. These medications sometimes work, but other times reconstructive surgery is necessary to fix the problem.
One method of reconstructive surgery is to inject an implant into the urethra; this serves as a bulking agent that will help resist the flow of urine. Another surgical solution is to move the bladder up and hold it in place with a sling.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
When the pelvic floor muscles and tissue become torn, stretched, or in some way damaged, they can no longer support the pelvic organs. These organs include the cervix, uterus, bladder, vagina, and rectum. Over time the damaged muscles may lead to prolapsed organs. Harvard Health states that the first line of treatment is “pelvic floor physical therapy” which involves Kegel exercises.
Surgery is recommended if the muscles are not strengthened in time. Surgery aims to reconstruct the pelvic floor so that organs are positioned properly once again. Damaged tissue surrounding the vagina is surgically repaired, either vaginally or through the abdomen, depending on the severity of the situation. However, the pelvic mesh sling has serious risks that have led to several class action lawsuits. Women should consult their physician to discuss the risks and benefits for their individual case.
When dealing with the painful and difficult pelvic floor disorders, combat further deterioration by beginning Kegel exercises. Strengthening these essential pelvic floor muscles may help eliminate the need for medical treatment. As you gain strength, you will discover relief and healing.