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Female Urology Treatment Information
We treat a variety of urologic conditions specific to women. Three of the most common are urinary incontinence, pelvic prolapse and vaginal mesh complications.
- Urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence may have a variety of causes, so the same treatment does not work in all cases. We often use diagnostic tests and imaging to determine why the bladder and associated muscles are not controlling the flow of urine. Causes may be problems in the muscles or in the nerves that control them. Certain types of prior surgery that interfere with the urethra (the tube that allows urine to pass out of the body) may also result in incontinence. Treatments for urinary incontinence include:
- Strengthening pelvic muscles. Exercises can strengthen the muscles around the urethra that hold urine back. You can also develop a schedule for going to the bathroom, gradually extending this as you regain urinary control.
- Medicines. Bladder spasms may result in a frequent urge to go to the bathroom. Your physician may prescribe medicine to relax your bladder and give you more control over when you urinate.
- Surgery. Childbirth and other stresses on the pelvic area may push the bladder out of its normal position. With surgery, we reposition the bladder, providing support and restoring control over the sphincter muscles, which hold back urine. Some techniques use your own tissue to provide support and muscle control. The use of synthetic or animal-based material is another option. We resolve some problems, such as urge incontinence, using minimally invasive tools such as a cystoscope or transurethral probe. Cystoscopes are small, flexible tubes containing cameras and sometimes other tools. They allow us to view and treat the urethra and bladder without an incision. Using the cystoscope, we can inject medicine to relax the bladder (Botox®). Transurethral probes may be used for imaging procedures, such as ultrasounds, or to deliver radiofrequency energy that stimulates the bladder.
- Pelvic prolapse. Childbirth, obesity and other stresses can weaken muscles and ligaments of the pelvis. Without adequate support, the uterus, and sometimes the bladder, may drop into the vagina. Symptoms of this condition include feeling pressure or heaviness in the pelvis, low backache and bladder infections. Treatments vary depending on the degree of the prolapse and its cause. Possible treatments include:
- Behavioral changes. Losing weight may reduce stress on pelvic muscles. You can also avoid physically demanding activities. These changes may provide enough relief that you do not need any further treatment.
- Nonsurgical treatment. We insert a device called a pessary into the vagina to support the uterus, bladder or rectum. The type and size of the pessary is fitted to meet your individual needs and body structure.
- Surgery. Using your own pelvic tissue, we build support for the uterus and return it to its natural position. We may also use animal-based or synthetic mesh for this procedure. One advantage of synthetic mesh is that it does not weaken over time, so the repair is very durable.
- Vaginal mesh complications. Synthetic mesh is a valuable tool for supporting pelvic organs that intrude into the vagina. It is strong and durable and provides a long-term solution for:
- Pelvic prolapse
- Vaginal bulge (the bladder or rectum bulging into the vagina)
- Cystocele (the bladder dropping down along the vagina)
- Other female urologic conditions
Female Urology Locations & Physicians
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Female Urology Support Services
Female urologic conditions can be complex. These websites may provide answers to your questions and help you make informed decisions with your doctor.
A Sampling of Female Urology Support Services
Urology Care Foundation
This website provides in-depth information on a variety of female urologic conditions.
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
As a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, this website features extensive information about female urinary incontinence.
This national government website includes information about uterine prolapse, its diagnosis and treatments available.