Urogynaecology

Index:

  1. What is urogynaecology?
  2. What are pelvic floor disorders?
  3. What causes pelvic floor disorders?
  4. What are symptoms related to issues with the pelvic floor?
  5. When should you visit a urogynaecologist?

What is urogynaecology?

Urogynaecology is a subspeciality of gynaecology that assesses, investigates and treats a woman’s pelvic floor issues as one. A urogynaecologist is a gynaecologist who has specialised in urology.

What are pelvic floor disorders? 

A urogynaecologist treats pelvic floor issues. The pelvic floor is a band of muscles, that both men and women have, that supports the bladder, the rectum and other pelvic organs. If this band of muscles becomes weak, the organs that ‘lie’ on the muscles (bladder, bowel and uterus in women) are not correctly supported and pelvic floor issues may arise. These issues may be:

Stress and urge urinary incontinence

Pelvic organ prolapses, like vaginal prolapse

Genitourinary Fistula (abnormal passage between the urinary and genital structures)

Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Bladder pain

Pelvic floor injury after childbirth 

Faecal incontinence

Obstetric and Sphincter injuries (OASIS)

What causes pelvic floor disorders?

Common causes of weakened pelvic floor muscles include:

Childbirth

Obesity

Pelvic surgery or radiation

Aging

Heavy lifting

Genes

What are the symptoms related to issues with the pelvic floor?

Symptoms that can be signs of pelvic floor issues include:

An overactive bladder

Loss of control over the bladder

Leaking urine when coughing, sneezing and exercising

Urinary incontinence

Constant feeling of needing to relieve the bladder 

Recurring or chronic UTIs (urinary tract infection)

Chronic constipation

Bowel problems

Pelvic pain

Pelvic pressure

A full, heavy, pricking or pulling sensation in the vagina that worsens over the course of the day

Pain during sexual intercourse

Decreased sexual desire

When should you visit a urogynaecologist?

For the most part these are not life threatening, medical emergencies. They do, however, greatly impact a person’s quality of life. Many women are embarrassed by these symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should first visit your GP. GPs will refer you to a urogynaecologist if there is a complex issue that needs specialist treating.

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