A urogynecologist is gynecologic surgeon who has completed a four-year OB/GYN residency followed by additional years of formalized sub-specialized training, called a fellowship, in Female Pelvic Medicine/Reconstructive Surgery. The training consists of providing expertise in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions that affect the muscles and connective tissue of the female pelvic organs.
Common conditions treated by a urogynecologist:
- Incontinence: loss of bladder or bowel control, leakage of urine or feces.
- Prolapse: descent of pelvic organs; a bulge and/or pressure; ‘dropped uterus, bladder, vagina or rectum.
- Emptying disorders: difficulty urinating or moving bowels.
- Overactive bladder: frequent need to void, bladder pressure, urgency, urge incontinence (difficulty holding back urine when having the urge to urinate)
- Fistulas: abnormal hole between the vagina and rectum (rectovaginal), vagina and urethra (urethrovaginal), or vagina and the bladder (vesicovaginal)
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Problems with vaginal mesh
- Post-surgical complications
And while some obstetrician-gynecologists or urologists may dabble in urogynecology and call themselves urogynecologists, they do not possess the additional years of formalized subspecialty training and as such may be inadequately prepared and/or skilled to provide appropriate care for women suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction.