Everything You Need to Know About the Female Pelvic Floor

What is Urogynaecology?

It is a subspecialty of gynaecology also known as “pelvic reconstructive surgery”.  There are only a few trained urogynaecologists in South Africa. This field deals with problems related to female pelvic organ prolapse, urinary problems, like incontinence, and also some bowel related problems. These problems are described by women as a sensation of fullness or pressure in the vagina, or sometimes even a “bulge” hanging outside of a woman’s vagina.

Source: John O.L. DeLancey, Graphics: Patterson Clark

Some women have involuntary loss of urine when they laugh, cough, jump, or during sexual intercourse. Development of these symptoms is often associated with vaginal childbirth, but even women who have never been pregnant, or have had a cesarean section, can develop them. Problems with constipation and difficulty emptying the bowel also occur commonly.

The impact on women’s daily functioning and quality of life can vary from minimal to debilitating. Some women are not able to function due to these kinds of problems.

Fortunately, there is good news and help is available. Many women go through life suffering in silence and that is not necessary anymore. The first step would be to find the right doctor. It is best to find a urogynaecologist who can do a proper evaluation and who has experience in the full spectrum of treatments. Many times a specially trained Women’s Health Physiotherapist can perform life-changing treatments. Surgery for prolapse may vary from a simple vaginal procedure to advanced laparoscopic procedures. For incontinence and bladder problems a relatively simple vaginal procedure may help in many cases, but sometimes a laparoscopic surgery may be necessary. Technologies and treatments in this field are developing rapidly and this spells positivity for the future of pelvic health of the women of today!

Dr. Richter is a Urogynaecologist at Fembryo in Port Elizabeth and he can help. He has been performing advanced laparoscopic surgery for some of these problems for almost 25 years and was trained as a subspecialist in urogynaecology. He currently performs high level minimally invasive (“keyhole”) surgeries to help women with prolapse. 

Written by Dr. Barry Richter

Contact him at info@fembryo.co.za, or 041 374 3974


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