Urogynecology Q & A
Pelvic floor disorders and prolapse can cause significant pain and other symptoms, especially as women get older. At Maiden Lane Medical, women from throughout New York, NY, can get the advanced care solutions they need, including state-of-the-art urogynecology treatments, to help them relieve symptoms and lead healthier lives.
What is a urogynecologist?
A urogynecologist is a doctor who has the expertise and the training to diagnose and treat issues affecting the pelvic floor, a network of muscles and connective tissues that support the pelvic organs, including the vagina, uterus, bladder and bowel. Normally, the pelvic floor acts as a natural “sling” to keep these organs “in place” so they can function normally. But sometimes, the pelvic floor structures can become damaged or weaken, allowing one or more organs to “drop” into the vaginal canal. This condition is called pelvic organ prolapse, and it can result in significant pain as well as organ dysfunction. Urogynecologists focus on the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders to help women enjoy healthier, more comfortable lives.
What causes pelvic organ prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse can be caused by traumatic injuries, surgery or even vaginal childbirth that causes damage to the pelvic floor structures. Age and hormonal decline can also play major roles by causing the pelvic floor muscles to become weak and less elastic, enabling the pelvic organs to descend into the vagina, and women who are very overweight are also more likely to have prolapse as a result of the additional pressure on the lower belly region. There are several types of prolapse, including:
cystocele, in which the bladder descends into the vagina
rectocele, where the rectum drops into the vagina
enterocele, which causes a portion of the intestine to drop into the vagina
uterine prolapse, where the uterus descends into the vagina
vaginal vault prolapse, in which the upper portion of the vagina drops into the lower portion
In severe cases, the prolapsed organ can push toward the end of the vagina, causing considerable and persistent pain. In addition to pain and pelvic pressure, prolapse can also result in painful intercourse, frequent urinary tract infections, urinary and fecal incontinence, and difficulty emptying the bowel and bladder.
How is pelvic organ prolapse treated?
Treatment can include physical therapy to help strengthen and tone the pelvic floor muscles, medications, pessary inserts or surgery to reconstruct the pelvic floor or to provide additional support to the pelvic organs. Laser treatments can also be effective in treating some types of pelvic floor disorders.