What is Urogynecology?

When you hear the word “urogynecology,” many people may respond, “Huh?”

But though it may sound like “medical-ease,” urogynecologists play a unique role in caring for women’s health.

What is a urogynecologist?
Simply put, a urogynecologist is an ob/gyn or urologist who specializes in caring for women’s urology and pelvic problems. Some common disorders treated by a urogynecologist include:

  • Incontinence: leaking or loss of bladder control
  • Prolapse: weakening of the pelvic muscles that causes the internal organs to drop down
  • Emptying disorders: difficulty going to the bathroom
  • Pelvic discomfort: pain or burning in the pelvis
  • Overactive bladder: urge to urinate frequently

Who should visit a urogynecologist?
Women who experience disorders of the pelvic region should consult or be referred to a urogynecologist. Urogynecology is a subspecialty, which means that doctors who are urogynecologists only see these specific disorders and may have more experience in treating them.

What should I look for in a urogynecologist?
The most important thing to look for is someone you are comfortable with. Remember that you will be discussing matters that many people feel are private, so it is important that you trust and feel comfortable fully discussing your condition with whomever you choose.

Fellowship training can be an important qualification to look for, particularly if you need surgery. Fellowship-trained urogynecologists often have superior training in minimally invasive techniques, which mean less bleeding, less pain, less risk of infection, less scarring and a faster recovery. If your physician tells you that you must have a large abdominal incision for a pelvic disorder (or even a hysterectomy), it may be a good idea to seek a second opinion from a fellowship-trained urogynecologist.

When should I seek out a urogynecologist?
If prolapse or other organ problems such as incontinence are affecting your quality of life, you don’t have to “just live with it.” These disorders are not just a normal part of aging. A urogynecologist can help women find safe, effective options to help them regain their quality of life.