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Urogynecology FAQ

Why visit our urogynecologists?

UC Irvine Health urogynecologists — specially trained gynecologic, urologic and colorectal conditions — evaluate and treat non-cancerous conditions that affect female pelvic organs and their supporting muscles and tissues.

Rather than making appointments with multiple specialists for gynecologic urinary and gastrointestinal problems, you can see one of our urogynecologists who will evaluate, counsel and develop a treatment plan in one single visit.

Our urogynecology specialists work  with two specially trained pelvic floor physical therapists who work in the same office. This collaboration allows for optimal care and greater patient benefit.

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is made up of muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and nerves that help support and control the uterus, vagina, bladder and rectum. The pelvic floor can be injured during childbirth, with repeated heavy lifting or other strenuous activities as well as with chronic diseases or surgery.

What is pelvic floor dysfunction?

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a broad category of conditions including:

  • Incontinence. Symptoms of incontinence include uncontrollable leakage of urine or feces, or loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Prolapse. Prolapse symptoms include pelvic organs losing support and "falling" out of place. Some describe it as a sensation of a bulge or pressure in the vagina. Other terms commonly used to describe prolapse are dropped uterus, bladder, vagina or rectum.
  • Emptying disorders. When you have trouble urinating or moving your bowels, it is known as an emptying disorder. Other terms commonly used are urinary retention and constipation.
  • Pelvic or bladder pain. Pelvic or bladder pain can feel like discomfort, burning or other uncomfortable sensations, including bladder, urethral or pelvic pain. This can include painful intercourse and other types of intimate activities.
  • Overactive bladder. Symptoms of overactive bladder include a frequent need to urinate (more than seven times per day), having to urinate more than once per nigh, inability to postpone the urge to urinate, or uncontrolled urine leakage associated with a strong urge to urinate.

Who makes up the urogynecology team?

The urogynecology team at UC Irvine Health provides a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction.

Our team includes urogynecologists, physical therapists and specially trained urogynecology nurses and technicians.

We also have a close working relationship with specialists in colorectal surgery, urology, gastroenterology and radiology.

Together, we provide comprehensive care, using the latest technology to cure or relieve the symptoms of prolapse, urinary or fecal incontinence and other pelvic floor dysfunction syndromes.

What treatments for pelvic floor dysfunction are available?

There are a number of treatment options available for pelvic floor dysfunction. The primary goal of the urogynecology team is to have a thorough understanding of your condition and work with you to design a treatment plan that meets your individual needs and suits your lifestyle and personal preferences.

Options for treatment include surgical and nonsurgical treatment, as well as minimally invasive surgical interventions, such as laparoscopic and robotic procedures. Some of these options include:

  • Pelvic floor physical therapy. Pelvic floor rehabilitation can improve urinary leakage, overactive bladder, fecal incontinence, pain with intercourse and pelvic or bladder pain.
  • Biofeedback. With biofeedback, you are connected to sensors that help you receive and measure information about your body. Biofeedback teaches you how to make subtle changes in your body.
  • Pessary or vaginal support device. A pessary is a soft, silicone device — similar to a diaphragm — that is placed in the vagina to reduce prolapse or treat incontinence without surgery.
  • Prolapse surgery. Our surgeons are skilled in reconstructing the pelvic floor through surgical repair. Surgery options include vaginal, laparoscopic and robot-assisted procedures. Robot and laparoscopic-assisted procedures are less invasive, as they do not require large incisions.
  • Sling procedure or urethral bulking. Your physician will place a sling underneath the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder). The sling supports the urethra and keeps it closed to prevent leakage, especially when you cough or sneeze. Urethral bulking is an office-based, nonsurgical procedure for stress incontinence, which involves injecting material into the urethra.
  • InterStim® therapy. InterStim therapy is a proven, minimally invasive therapy that targets communication problems between the brain and the nerves that control the bladder and bowel. It involves implanting an electronic bladder stimulator. Our program was the first in Orange County to offer InterStim.
  • Bladder Botox®. Injections of Botox are done in the office to relieve the sense of urgency by preventing the nerves that control the bladder from communicating with the bladder muscle.
  • Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS). PTNS involves the insertion of a very thing, acupuncture-like needle in the ankle to treat overactive bladder and urgency incontinence.
  • Solesta®. Solesta is an office-based injection to treat fecal incontinence.

We also perform:

  • Ambulatory urodynamic testing
  • Office-based medical therapy
  • Office cystoscopy
  • State-of-the-art clinical trials

Make an Appointment

714-456-2911