Women affected by pelvic floor disorders—such as stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse—are often referred to urogynecologists, who have received highly specialized training in treatment of pelvic floor disorders. These specialists can also help women who are in need of specialized care for complications stemming from vaginal mesh.
Pelvic floor disorders occur when the pelvic floor is weakened because of childbirth, obesity, surgery, disease or even repetitive heavy lifting. Many women experience incontinence and pelvic pain due to pelvic floor disorders. Women may also experience difficulty emptying the bladder or bowels and pelvic organ —the dropping of pelvic organs from their normal position.
Depending upon the severity of symptoms, non-surgical therapies are usually the first approach used in the treatment of pelvic floor disorders. These include medications, pelvic muscle exercise, lifestyle and diet changes, vaginal support devices, and electric stimulation of pelvic floor muscles. If these methods don’t improve symptoms, surgical options are explored.
While many primary care physicians and gynecologists are knowledgeable about pelvic floor disorders, a urogynecologist holds an additional level of expertise in the treatment of these issues. Their special expertise in vaginal surgery can minimize the risk of complications. Women may need to see a urogynecologist when they experience incontinence, pelvic pain and sexual dysfunction.
Transvaginal mesh implants to repair pelvic floor disorders have been widely used over the past decade. However, these surgically-placed, synthetic mesh implants have created unintended consequences for many women who experience bleeding, infection, urinary problems, and even organ perforation.
For many women suffering these complications, a urogynecologist needs to remove the transvaginal mesh implant to restore health and quality of life. Mesh is intended to be a permanent surgical implant and can be very difficult to remove. The skill of a urogynecologist can increase the chances of successful revision surgery and decrease the risk of multiple procedures being necessary to repair the damage done by the mesh.
Information based on The American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS) – http://www.augs.org/. Accessed 11/2/2015.
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