Urogynecology & Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery

A urogynecologist is a physician who specializes in taking care of women who have pelvic floor disorders. Pelvic floor disorders include problems with bladder and bowel control as well as a loss of support of the vagina, bladder and/or rectum which may cause an uncomfortable vaginal bulge (prolapse) as well as difficulty with urination or bowel function.

Physicians in the Section of Gynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery provide a full range of services for women with pelvic floor disorders. Treatments include a wide array of office-based procedures, medications, vaginal pessaries, and many minimally invasive surgeries. Our physicians have a special interest in complex pelvic reconstructive surgery and together have more than 30 years of experience in taking care of women with pelvic floor disorders such as pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence.

Our experts are key team members in the University of Chicago Medicine Center for Pelvic Health, a multidisciplinary program focused on comprehensive care for the physical, emotional and social issues for patients who have pelvic floor disorders.

Urinary Incontinence

If you have trouble with bladder control, you are not alone. Thirty to 40 percent of American women admit to having problems with urinary leakage. Many of these women delay getting help for their problem for years due to feeling embarrassed about their condition.

Doctors at the University of Chicago Medicine have helped thousands of women find relief from this distressing condition. Our dedicated physicians and nursing staff put patients at ease and help them find the best treatment option for their problem. Our urogynecology specialists regularly care for women with stress incontinence, urge incontinence, overactive bladder and other urinary incontinence conditions. » Frequently asked questions about urinary incontinence

Surgery

Surgery can be an option for treating some types of urinary incontinence. This may include a variety of minimally invasive options, including the following:

  • Urethral bulking, a procedure that involves the use of injections to build up the thickness of the urethra to prevent leakage
  • Suburethral slings, which are small mesh slings placed under the urethra to help prevent urinary leaks
  • Sacral nerve modulation, also called sacral nerve stimulation, is a treatment that uses a small, implanted device that sends electrical pulses to the sacral nerves, which affect bladder and urinary muscle function. These electrical pulses help to reduce urinary incontinence.
  • Botox therapy, which involves injections of Botox to help block the unwanted contractions of an overactive bladder, while leaving surrounding muscles able to function properly

Pessaries

In cases where bladder control is affected due to vaginal prolapse, vaginal pessaries can be used to elevate the vagina and provide support to the bladder without the need for surgery. A pessary is a small, removable silicone or plastic device that is inserted through the vagina to help hold pelvic organs in place. Many different types of pessaries are available that can be fitted comfortably to provide vaginal support.

Medications

There are many effective medications available to treat urinary incontinence. The choice of medication prescribed depends on the type of problem causing the incontinence and if there are any other medical conditions that can be affected by the medication.

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Many women with bladder control problems can find relief through pelvic floor physical therapy. Our physicians can provide you with information and a list of qualified women’s health physical therapists close to your home who can teach you how to get better strength and use of your pelvic floor muscles to help with better bladder control.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)

The loss of support of the vagina, bladder, and uterus is a common problem. Women with POP will experience a sensation of pressure or a bulge from the vagina that may cause associated bladder or bowel problems.

Treatment options include vaginal supportive pessaries, and minimally invasive, vaginal, or abdominal surgeries to restore support of the vagina and pelvic organs. Our physicians will help patients with POP find a treatment that best suits their needs and lifestyle. » Frequently asked questions about pelvic organ prolapse