Empowering Pelvic Health
Story by Ann E. Butenas
Urogynecology offers comprehensive solutions for women facing pelvic floor disorders, bridging the gap between urology and gynecology.
Urogynecology: An Insight into Women’s Health
Urogynecology, a sub-specialty within obstetrics and gynecology, bridges the gap between urology and gynecology, addressing issues related to the female pelvic floor. This burgeoning field emphasizes a comprehensive understanding of the complex problems many women face as they age, undergo childbirth, or experience other life-altering conditions.
What Is Urogynecology?
Urogynecology specifically addresses the dysfunction of the pelvic floor and bladder. The pelvic floor is a combination of muscles, ligaments, connective tissues, and nerves that support the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum. When these structures are weakened or damaged, it can lead to conditions such as urinary or fecal incontinence, bladder pain, pelvic organ prolapse, and other storage and emptying disorders of the bladder and rectum.
University Health Women’s Care: Comprehensive Pelvic Floor Disorder Care
At University Health Women’s Care, our dedicated urogynecologists recognize the profound effects pelvic floor disorders can have on an individual’s quality of life. With a compassionate and attentive approach, they meticulously consider each patient’s described symptoms. Relying on the latest research and clinical standards, they formulate a personalized treatment strategy tailored to address the unique needs and symptoms of each patient. Our broad spectrum of treatments encompasses medical, behavioral, and surgical solutions to address a range of conditions.
Why Would One Need a Urogynecologist?
There are several reasons a woman might be referred to, or seek the expertise of, a urogynecologist:
Childbirth: Vaginal births can place significant stress on the pelvic muscles and tissues. Some women might experience pelvic floor disorders shortly after childbirth, while others might see symptoms many years later.
Age: With age, the elasticity and strength of the pelvic muscles can reduce, leading to conditions like pelvic organ prolapse where organs, such as the uterus or bladder, drop into the vagina.
Menopause: Declining estrogen levels can affect the health of the pelvic muscles and tissues.
Chronic Conditions: Conditions like chronic coughing (often due to asthma or chronic bronchitis) or constipation can increase pressure on the pelvic muscles, leading to their weakening over time.
Surgery or Trauma: Past surgeries or trauma to the pelvic region can lead to pelvic floor disorders.
How Urogynecology Helps Patients
Urogynecologists undergo specialized training, enabling them to diagnose, evaluate, and treat pelvic floor disorders effectively.
Comprehensive Evaluation: Urogynecologists utilize advanced diagnostic techniques like urodynamic testing, cystoscopy, and imaging studies to get a thorough understanding of the underlying issue.
Personalized Treatment Plans: Based on the diagnosis, urogynecologists can recommend a range of treatments from conservative methods like physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and medications to more invasive measures like surgery.
Surgical Interventions: For cases where surgery is deemed necessary, urogynecologists can perform procedures such as sling surgeries for stress incontinence or reconstructive pelvic surgery for pelvic organ prolapse.
Improving Quality of Life: Many women suffer in silence, feeling embarrassed or thinking that pelvic floor disorders are a normal part of aging. Urogynecologists offer solutions that can significantly improve the quality of life. Whether it’s regaining bladder control, resolving pelvic pain, or repairing a prolapse, these specialists provide life-changing treatments.
At University Health, patients have the advantage of accessing three Urogynecologists who are either Board Certified or Board Eligible, available full-time across two of its Women’s Clinic locations.
Dr. Nia Jenkins, one of the hospital’s esteemed physicians, remarked, “I am a female physician who creates a safe space for many patients with complaints and concerns that can be stigmatized. Patients are often reluctant to seek care for pelvic floor disorders, and it is important to create an environment that welcomes them and provides a sense of confidence that effective treatment is possible.”
Urogynecology stands at the crossroads of urology and gynecology, offering women a specialized approach to conditions that were once deemed inevitable or too taboo to discuss. With advancements in this field, more women can now hope for effective solutions, restoring not just their pelvic health but their confidence and quality of life. If you or someone you know is facing issues related to the pelvic floor, reaching out to a urogynecologist could be the first step towards a healthier future.
For more information on University Health and its urogynecology department, go online at https://www.universityhealthkc.org/services/womens-care/pelvic-floor-disorders/ to learn more about these services and providers, or locations available.