Havre, Montana – In 2012 the American Board of Medical Specialties approved the recognition of a subspecialty of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. Gynecologists who practice this sub-specialty are called urogynecologists. These physicians become specialists with additional training and experience in the evaluation and treatment of conditions that affect the female pelvic organs, and the muscle and connective tissues that support the organs.
Urogynecology involves the diagnosis and treatment of urinary incontinence and female pelvic floor disorders. These problems plaque women quite frequently, particularly older women, but the majority of women with these ailments are reluctant to seek help because of the stigma attached to these conditions.
Dr. Margo Muniz, OB/GYN at Northern Montana Health Care states, “Pelvic floor conditions are more common than hypertension, depression, or diabetes. One in three adult women have hypertension; one in twenty adult women have depression; one in ten adult women have diabetes; and, more than one in two adult women suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction.”
Millions of women experience the inconvenience, discomfort, and embarrassment of urinary incontinence, and other types of voiding dysfunction. Urogynecologists focus on the evaluation and treatment of these conditions. Their advanced training and experience allow them to perform the advanced treatment options and surgeries needed for these conditions.
The pelvic floor is a network of muscles, ligaments and tissues that act like a hammock to support the organs of the pelvis: the uterus, vagina, bladder, urethra, and rectum. If the muscles become weak or the ligaments are stretched or damaged, the pelvic organs or small intestines may drop down. This may be caused by multiple pregnancies, childbirth, obesity, chronic coughing or heavy lifting. And as women age, the supporting structure in the pelvis may weaken, making these pelvic floor disorders more likely to happen.
Although there are surgical options to these conditions, non-surgical treatments are also possible. These options could include patient education, physical therapy and medications. With early intervention, most pelvic floor disorders can be successfully treated.
“In the past, most women just suffered through these conditions without seeking help. But it’s important that women know that there are many options, both surgical and non-surgical to address these issues.” explains Dr. Muniz. Dr. Muniz practices at Northern Montana Medical Group West.