Urogynecology is a sub-specialty of Gynecology, and in some countries is also known as Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. A urogynecologist manages clinical problems associated with dysfunction of the pelvic floor and bladder. Pelvic floor disorders affect the bladder, reproductive organs, and bowels.
lthough your primary care physician, OB/GYN, or urologist may have knowledge about these problems, a urogyn offers additional expertise. Talk with your doctor about a referral to a urogyn if you have problems of prolapse, and/or troublesome urinary or fecal incontinence. Or, if you have problems with emptying the bladder or rectum, pelvic pain or bladder pain, fistulas.
Urogyns dedicate themselves to the study and treatment of PFDs in women. They are experts in all the various ways that PFDs can present. They also, if need be, offer a special expertise in vaginal surgery.
What is a Urogynecologist?
Urogynecologists complete medical school and a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology or Urology. These doctors are specialists with additional training and experience in the evaluation and treatment of conditions that affect the female pelvic organs, and the muscles and connective tissue that support the organs. Many, though not all, complete formal fellowships (additional training after residency) that focus on the surgical and non-surgical treatment of non-cancerous gynecologic problems. Some of the common problems treated by a urogynecologist include urinary incontinence or leakage, pelvic organ prolapse (dropping of the vagina, uterus, cystocele, rectocele), and overactive bladder.
What is Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery?
The American Board of Medical Specialties approved Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, also known as urogynecology, as a certified subspecialty in 2011, and the first doctors were board-certified in 2013. Urogynecologists are physicians who complete medical school and a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology or Urology. These physicians are specialists with additional years of fellowship training and certification in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. The training provides expertise in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions that affect the muscles and connective tissue of the female pelvic organs. Pelvic floor conditions that urogynecologists commonly treat include urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, and pelvic organ prolapse. These physicians are also knowledgeable on the latest research in the field pertaining to these conditions.
What is a Board Certified Urogynecologist or Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgeon?
Board certification in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery means that the physician has passed an exam from the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ABOG) and American Board of Urology (ABU) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and American Osteopathic Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AOBOG) attesting that a physician has exceptional expertise in this particular specialty. The first ABOG/ABU board certification exam was in 2013. For physicians completing training after 2012, they must have participated in an accredited fellowship in order to be eligible for board certification. The first AOA/AOBOG board certification exam was in 2012. For physicians completing training after 2016, they must have participated in an accredited fellowship in order to be eligible for board certification.
As is always the case, feel free to ask about the training and expertise of any doctor caring for you.