Obstetrics & Gynecology (OB-GYN)
Pelvic health disorders are common. Nearly 1 in 3 women experience some form of symptoms, including incontinence, frequency and urgency of urination; pelvic pressure or heaviness; pelvic pain; and sexual problems.
These conditions may cause women to feel socially isolated, experience sexual inhibition, or fear making social or travel plans. Careers and personal relationships are often affected.
Yet many women don't seek care because they don't know that treatment is available, or think the condition is too minor or embarrassing to pursue. Many feel they have to "live with it," buying pads or relying on medications that may have side effects.
Mayo Clinic Health System brings together professionals from Physical Therapy, Primary Care, OB-GYN, Behavioral Health, Urology, Colorectal Surgery and other specialists. Whether you have a single concern or a combination of issues, Mayo Clinic Health System's team of experts will work with you to diagnose and evaluate your problem. They will design a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms.
If surgery is recommended for conditions for conditions such as urinary and fecal incontinence, pelvic floor prolapse, urogenitary fistula, congenital anomalies, or pelvic floor dysfunction, expert care is available in La Crosse and at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. If surgical management is recommended to take place in Rochester, La Crosse providers work closely with Rochester colleagues to provide local postoperative follow up.
Although you may feel you are alone in dealing your with pelvic health conditions, the truth is 1 in 3 women suffer from such disorders. Often symptoms stem from life changes such as childbirth, aging or menopause. Although, many women suffer from pelvic floor conditions, it may still be uncomfortable to talk to your health care provider about your symptoms.
Learn more about pelvic health conditions to make talking with your provider easier:
- Bowel or fecal incontinence is the inadvertent escape of flatus or partial soiling of undergarments with liquid stool, and the involuntary excretion of feces.
- Chronic pelvic pain is pain in the lower part of your abdomen that last longer than six months.
- Constipation is defined as having less than three bowel movements per week.
- Dyspareunia is painful sexual intercourse.
- Urinary incontinence and urge urinary incontinence is an involuntary loss of urine due to lack of bladder control. Watch a video to learn more.
- Overactive bladder is the sudden urge to urinate. This condition may be due to your bladder's inability to store urine.
- Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when pelvic organs slip out of place due to weakened muscles and ligaments. It often gives the sensation or feeling of sitting on a ball, or pelvic pressure or heaviness.
- Urinary retention is the inability to effectively empty the bladder.
- Urinary stress incontinence occurs when physical activity places pressure on the bladder, resulting in the loss of urine.
Whether you have a single symptom or a combination of conditions, the OB-GYN team will work with you to diagnose and evaluate your problems, and develop a treatment plan that fits your needs.
The Pelvic Health Clinic offers a large variety of treatment options from lifestyle changes and medication to physical therapy and advanced minimally invasive surgery. Mayo Clinic Health System's providers will work with you to find the treatment option that best meets your needs and lifestyle. A combination of treatments may be needed.
You may benefit from simple lifestyle modifications and exercises that build pelvic floor muscles. Many women find these nonsurgical treatment alternatives extremely beneficial at easing their symptoms and dramatically improving their quality of life.
Select a treatment option below to learn more.
Medications can be used to treat a number of pelvic health issues, such as constipation, fecal incontinence, overactive bladder, painful intercourse (dyspareunia) and pelvic pain, based on your individual needs and medical conditions.
- Pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises strengthen pelvic floor muscles may help relieve urinary and anal incontinence.
A pessary is a device that is inserted into the vagina to support the pelvic floor muscles. It can relieve symptoms associated with pelvic organ prolapse and sometimes urinary incontinence.
- Physical therapy
Physical therapists who specialize in pelvic health evaluate pelvic floor functions to create an individualized physician therapy treatment plan when strengthening exercises are not enough.
Sometimes simple lifestyle changes, physical therapy or medications are not enough to treat pelvic floor conditions, and surgery may be required. However, many of today's surgeries are noninvasive and often can be performed as outpatient procedures. Some surgical procedures include:
- Minimally invasive surgery
For many women, surgical treatment is the right choice for a pelvic floor disorder. Today's surgical options are minimally invasive and require little to no hospital stay.
- Sacral nerve stimulation or modulation
Patients with urinary incontinence, overactive bladder and fecal incontinence who do not respond to more conservative treatments may be treated with sacral nerve stimulation or modulation, where a neurostimulation device is implanted in the body.
- Transvaginal obturator sling
Transvaginal obturator sling procedures are minimally invasive procedures used to treat urinary incontinence, or leakage of urine, with coughing, sneezing and other physical activity.
Some services are available at certain locations. Ask your health care provider to help you find the nearest location for a services or procedure not offered locally.
What to expect
Your provider will assess your symptoms and needs, answer questions, manage and recommend treatment options, refer you for other appropriate treatments, and follow up with you to ensure satisfactory results.
Before your first visit, you may receive a questionnaire and bladder diary to complete and bring with you to your first appointment. These tools will help the OB-GYN team understand symptoms, past treatment, history and expectations.
At your first visit, you can expect to discuss your concerns, symptoms and questionnaire, as well as diagnosis and treatment options. You also will receive a detailed physical exam. You and your provider will work together to find a treatment plan that is appropriate for your lifestyle.
The OB-GYN team will work with you to schedule any further diagnostic tests, lab tests or appointments that you will need for further evaluation, testing or follow-up.