A urogynecologist specializes in caring for women with pelvic floor disorders. The pelvic floor includes the muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and nerves that help support and control the pelvic organs ― the uterus, vagina, bladder and rectum.
Loss of control of urine is not a normal part of aging. It is the result of pelvic floor dysfunction. Loss of pelvic floor support leads to stress urinary incontinence and loss of pelvic floor control leads to overactive bladder, urge urinary incontinence, voiding difficulties, urinary retention, and even recurrent urinary tract infections.
For most people having a bowel movement is a seemingly automatic function. For some individuals, the process of evacuating stool may be difficult. Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include constipation and incomplete emptying. Residual stool left in the rectum may slowly seep out of the rectum leading to bowel incontinence.
The goal for the pelvic floor is to be "just right". When it is too soft, genital prolapse, uterine prolapse and vaginal prolapse result. When the pelvic floor muscles are overactive, it is too hard, and the result is often vulvodynia and interstitial cystitis. Both prolapse and pain can lead to painful intercourse and sexual dysfunction.
Not everyone with prolapse needs mesh. More often than not, our patients can have surgical repairs without mesh. The best a patient can do to avoid mesh-related complications is to avoid mesh surgery, if possible.